Tesla compact sedan on horizon

by Cornelius Nunev

Tesla Motors seems to have saved its bacon, as it recently began delivering the Unit S, the business's electric full-size sedan. Though the Unit X SUV is next on the agenda, it's been announced that a Tesla compact sedan is in the works, as Tesla wants to handle the 3 series.

Plans for Tesla electric sedan

Among luxury sport compact sedans, the BMW 3 series is considered the standard. BMW has been making and selling a ton of the 3 series since the 1970s for good reason. The car is known as the near-perfect balance of sportiness and practicality, with powerful engines and wonderful driving dynamics, room for five and lots of available amenities. Base models generally are not terribly expensive, for those on a spending budget.

AutoGuide spoke with Franz Von Holzhausen, the chief designer at Tesla, who said than the Tesla Unit X is a compact sedan that will be competing with the 3 series in price. Tesla just recently announced its intentions of stealing as much business from BMW as possible.

Very affordable for Tesla

The base price of the brand new model is only $30,000. The Model S starts at $57,400, and the first car, the Roadster, cost over $100,000. Tesla is a perfect example of how prices drop on technology over time.

The vehicles at Tesla need more personality, designer Von Holzhausen stated, according to AutoCar. That is why the company is experimenting a little bit more with design after the release of the Model X SUV. Green Car Reports that Tesla will release the compact sedan by 2015, and after that, a compact crossover is expected to follow.

Field full of cars

Assuming that Tesla does get it into production by 2015, it's going to be entering a crowded field. Audi's next-generation A4 is going to have an "eTron" variant, according to AutoBlog, Audi's modular alternative power train architecture, which can produce hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully electric variants. The systems' potential was demonstrated this year when Audi's R18 eTron Quattro prototype racer won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. BMW is currently leasing the ActiveE, a fully electric 1 series, in a series of field tests and by the time Tesla's 3 series contender rolls off the line, an ActiveE 3 series could be right behind it.

The price may not be what you think it is either. The Model S is a great example of this. After the $7,500 tax credit, you have to pay $69,900 to get the 85-kWh pack with a 300 mile range. The base Unit S only has a 40 kWh battery pack and only goes 160 miles for $57,400 before the tax credit. You will probably never be able to go on a road trip in the car. According to the Detroit News, the cost of the Model S can be up to $97,700 with all the choices available for it.

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