Elon Musk confirms £25k Tesla within 3 years and plans for R&D centre in the UK
Elon Musk, the founder of the Tesla Motor Company and other companies like Space X, has told Pocket-lint and other journalists at the UK launch of the Model S, that a cheaper model will be coming within the next 3 years.
Admitting the cheaper model - due in 2017 - would cost around "around $35,000, or £25,000," Musk said that the car is expected to be cheaper still once you factor in running costs making it akin to a "£15,000-20,000" petrol or diesel car.
The car, which has previously been referred to as the Model E, won't be called that however, after Ford sued Tesla over the name earlier this year. A new name has been decided, but the company isn't mentioning it yet over fears of complicating the trademark process.
Meanwhile, the Model X crossover, a SUV-come-minivan model with gull wing doors, will see its first deliveries in 2015.
The CEO, sometimes referred to as a real life Tony Stark (aka Ironman) has also confirmed that the company will be building a Tesla R&D centre in the UK and possibly even a vehicle assembly plant if demand is high enough.
"We'll have an R&D centre here before a factory," Musk said. "We'll have our first European factory in continental Europe, perhaps the Netherlands, but it makes sense to have one in the UK once we're producing more than 500,000 units. But the factory needs to be running at full capacity [to be viable]."
The PayPal founder went on to say: "I'd say Model S is more European than American in design and handling. Most of the set-up work was done by British guys!"
Musk believes the UK could be one of the company's biggest markets:
"At the moment, Norway is our biggest [non-US] market, but we'd expect the UK to overtake that, given the larger population."
That comment is already starting to prove itself with Musk saying there is already a 4 month waiting list for the new Model S and other staff at Tesla telling Pocket-lint it's already more like 5 months.
In related news, the company has also confirmed the UK will get four Supercharging stations by the end of the year. The Crystal site at London’s Royal Victoria Docks represents the beginning of a route to Paris and then the rest of Europe, which will enable Model S drivers to travel long distances in the UK and on the continent for free.
"Superchargers enable long distance travel but also, in a city where off street parking is rare and expensive, Model S customers will be able to access a network of Superchargers across London to charge, quickly and for free, at their convenience,” said Elon Musk. “We are looking at locations across the capital to place our first set of inner city Superchargers. Our plan for routes to other cities in the UK is still on target for the end of the year, but we are also announcing this new initiative in order to best serve our London-based customers. We expect customers to be able to travel the length of the UK for free using our Superchargers within the next 18 months”
The company states that it turning on stations at the rate of close to one per weekday.