Tesla Is Planning A Big 2017
Tesla is certainly not close to becoming a major force in the American car market in the near future. Even though Tesla’s sales reached an all-time high in 2015, more than 17 million vehicles were sold in the United States last year and only 50,000 of them were Teslas.]
It’s not surprising that Elon Musk’s company owns only a small market segment. Price tags on the trendy electric vehicles start at $70,000, gas prices have been at their lowest levels in years, and current tax breaks for electric cars may soon be phased out.
That hasn’t stopped Musk from making big plans for Tesla over the next 18 months. Here’s what to expect during 2017.
The Tesla Model 3
In March, Musk unveiled the eagerly-anticipated, lower-priced Model 3 sedan, currently predicted to begin delivery in late 2017. The prototype looks shorter than Tesla’s flagship Model S with no front grille, huge rims and a somewhat stubbier design, but just a quick look leaves no doubt about the car’s manufacturer. The company says the Model 3 will have a range of at least 215 miles and go from zero to 60 in six seconds, with an anticipated base price of $35,000.
Online pre-ordering for the Tesla Model 3 was opened right after the prototype was shown publicly, and after just three days, nearly 300,000 people had signed up and paid their $1,000 deposit. Musk admits that the enormous demand has the company scrambling to figure out how to turn out so many cars with its current infrastructure, and he warns that wait times for the cars is growing rapidly.However, he’s sticking with his goal of delivering Model 3s in 2017 – at least for now.
Increased Range for the Model S
One of the biggest problems for Tesla and other electric automakers is their vehicles’ range. They’re lauded by owners and experts for their energy efficiency and convenience on short trips but with few recharging stations available, the cars aren’t really suited to longer journeys.
Musk has told Danish television that one of Tesla’s major goals is dramatically increasing the range of the Model S from its current 200-230 miles. And he predicts that his company will be able to offer a Model S with a reliable range of about 600 miles by the end of 2017.
Looking further down the road, Musk is expecting the car’s range to hit nearly 750 miles by the year 2020, which is also when he thinks the “self-driving” Tesla will be ready for market.
That’s not all that Musk has on his to-do list for the coming year. He’s just released Tesla’s “second master plan,” and it includes an expansion of the company’s product line to include heavy-duty trucks. Musk says a “Tesla Semi” could be ready for delivery in 2017, and he predicts it will shake up the cargo world by vastly reducing shippers’ fuel costs while boosting safety in the industry. He’s also dropped some hints about a future Tesla pickup truck, which would complement the Model X SUV rolled out earlier this year.
The overall goal in the master plan, according to Musk, is to broaden the appeal of the Tesla brand. He believes that will not only increase market penetration for the company, but work toward a complete transformation of the auto industry – ending the reign of gas-powered vehicles.