While I've long been an outspoken supporter of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), as well as a huge fan of both Elon Musk and the Model S, it is the company's smaller version of the Model S that gets me most excited.
The bottom line is that cost will be the determining factor for most Americans considering electric cars. After all, you'd be hard-pressed to find many folks who wouldn't love to own a Model S. But at around $75,000, few can afford it.
Of course, the vision of Tesla is not one based solely around supplying high-end vehicles to high-net worth individuals. Although the Roadster, Model S and Model X are out-of-reach for most, it could be Tesla's smaller, yet more affordable electric sedan that will bring in the masses. Not just to look and crave, but to buy.
An Affordable Tesla
According to Tesla VP of engineering Chris Porritt, Tesla's new, smaller sedan will be “realistically” priced against the likes of Audi A4 and BMW 3-series. So we're talking about $35,000 on the low-end.
$35,000 is still a lot of scratch to pony up for a vehicle, but over the course of seven years (the average length of car ownership for a single vehicle in the U.S.), customers could end up saving about $15,000 on “fuel” costs (based on data from the Michigan Transportation Research Insitute), as home-grown electricity will always be cheaper than 87 octane. Of course, those savings will vary from state to state.
But even if customers only saved $10,000 on fuel costs over the course of seven years, that's a pretty significant savings that ultimately deducts one-third off the cost of the vehicle. A smaller, Tesla Model S for $25,000? Yes please!