Tesla Motors will be launching a smaller electric sedan in late 2016, chief executive Elon Musk has revealed during an annual meeting of shareholders. According to Tesla’s top honcho, the smaller sedan, dubbed as “Gen III,” will have a range of 200 miles and will have a starting price that is around half of the flagship Model S.
Since the current Model S starts at $62,400, the Gen III car would have a base price similar to the Nissan Leaf SV and would have three times the real-world range. According to Musk, the Gen III will have a "family resemblance" in design to the current lineup.
He indicated that Gen III may feature "some autopilot or self-driving elements," but said those technology might not be ready when the first unit is rolled out to the public. Musk remarked that a significant improvement in technology is needed to have a compelling affordable electric car, which should have a useful range of 200 miles.
Tesla’s CEO said the carmaker is collaborating with Panasonic on new battery-cell electrochemistry optimized for use in vehicles. He expressed optimism that advances in energy storage and energy density technology can be made "without any miracles happening." Musk disclosed the demand of the Model S in the United States is steady at 15,000 units annually through the second quarter of 2013.
The carmaker will commence shipping vehicles to Europe in late June and to Asia in the fourth quarter of 2013. Musk said that altogether, demand is around 40,000 annualized vehicles. Although a slide presented at the meeting showed that demand was around 30,000 units, Musk corrected the figures to 40,000. Tesla’s CEO said that the carmaker will physically deliver around 21,000 units this year.