Tesla is giving us an idea of how it intends to campaign its electric cars in the next six years to become a mainstream automaker. Currently, Tesla's sole offering is a very exclusive electric roadster that is priced at more than $100,000.
Using $465 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Energy, it will fund its expansion from exotic sports car manufacturing to affordable family vehicles.
It still wants to maintain its electric vehicle niche though. In 2011, Tesla will start production of its Model S electric sedan, a six-seater upmarket sedan that has a sub-6 second 0-62 mph time and a total driving range of up to 300 mi.
Tesla says that it plans to enter the Model S into the market at $57,500 without any discounts. By 2016, the company plans to launch a more affordable mass-market model that will sell for less than $30,000.
While production numbers for the current Roadster are limited to around the 1,000 unit mark, and the Model S tipped to number around 20,000, the new sub-$30,000 Tesla should see volumes increase far beyond these levels, possibly cracking the 100,000 unit mark.
Meanwhile, key rival Fisker Automotive, maker of the upcoming Karma plug-in hybrid luxury sedan, plans to eventually launch a more practical and family-oriented version of the Karma as well as low-cost model. While Tesla's models will feature all-electric powertrains, Fisker is more focused on plug-in hybrids.