Tesla Motors' Affordable Electric Car Is Only A Year Away

Tesla Motors has what might just be the world's best car in the Model S, and a more versatile version of that chassis in the Model X, but it doesn't have a car for the masses. That particular vehicle might be closer than we first thought, with an early 2015 unveiling apparently possible.

According to the LA Times, Tesla's third-generation passenger car -- after the Tesla Roadster, and the platform-sharing Model S and Model X -- is on track for a 2016-17 launch window. That's slightly sooner than we were expecting, with a possible debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show meaning the car might even go on sale, in North America at least, by the end of that year. Australian availability will almost certainly be delayed, of course, but we'd put a dollar on the car making its way Down Under by the end of 2016.

Tesla's future electric car, unofficially called the Model E after Tesla filed for a trade mark on the title, should have a battery capable of around 320km of travel on a single charge, and should be 20 per cent smaller than the Model S -- but all of these stats are largely conjecture cobbled together from various executive and engineering interviews with company staff.

Similar conjecture has pegged the price around US$30,000, so given Tesla's price parity policy and the usual import tariffs, we're expecting a locally landed price starting at around $50,000 -- not cheap, but affordable, and much more so than the $100,000-plus Model S luxury sedan. [LA Times]

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