Beyond the Roadster
In 2012, Tesla introduced a slightly more practical vehicle: the Model S. The five-door luxury lift-back sold initially for $95,000. Rather than being a stripped-down speedster, it has all the comforts drivers expect from an expensive sedan. Nevertheless, it still has the zoom. 5.5 seconds from zero to 60 with a 265 mile range. It won 2013 World Green Car of the Year, Motor Trend Car of the Year and many other awards.
Also in 2012, Tesla discontinued the Roadster. It had built 2600 on the Lotus frames and wanted to design the new version upon a frame of their own design. The blueprint lays within the Model S. Rather than transform an existing gas car into an electric one; it is built from the beginning to house the batteries and motors.
The Model S and future Teslas are built in a “skateboard" fashion. The battery pack, which is a series of thousands of individual cells, is sandwiched between the layers of the car's floor. The center of mass, therefore, is lower than an internal combustion car and more centrally balanced. When stripped down to its bones, a modern Tesla is simply a rectangular floor with a wheel, a motor and a suspension at each corner.
Next up for Tesla is the Model X: a full-size crossover utility vehicle based on the Model S frame. It will seat seven, have all-wheel drive and a slick set of vertically folding “falcon doors." The big SUV-driving family will finally have an electric car, too. Tesla expects to release the Model X near the end of 2015.
After blowing minds for several years, Tesla finally plans to offer a car most can afford. The Model 3 should sell for not much more than $30,000. Including hefty federal and state tax refunds for electric vehicles, the final cost will be in the twenties. The Model 3 will be a scaled down version of the Model S. It will be a mid-sized car with a range of around 200 miles.