Musk: Exciting Announcements Coming

4 years ago by Lyle Dennis 8

Tesla Motors has indeed come a long way.  They were the first to kindle the fire of the EV revolution with the handmade low volume Roadster first built in 2006.  Those efforts inspired all the automakers to build EVs.

Under the leadership of serial entrepreneur, PayPal and Space-X founder Elon Musk the company was brought public, given hundreds of millions in government subsidies, established a partnership with Toyota and opened its very own mass production plant in California.

Earlier this month we learned that the company is losing money during its ramp up phase, but Musk told investors he is confident that 2500-3000 Model S’s will be delivered in the fourth quarter as the assembly rate increases to 400 units per week by December.  He also said Tesla would be able to deliver more than 20,000 Model S’2 in 2013.  So far about 1000 units of the sleek flagship have been delivered.

Tesla’s Toyota partnership has birthed the production of the RAV-4 EV and the company has announced an upcoming model X crossover.  But are there future plans as well?

In Musk’s recent investment call he made the following statement:

There are a few other variants of the Model S that we’ll come out with next year that I think are going to be pretty exciting, in addition to, of course, really getting into the Model X and starting the initial design work of the 3rd generation mass market vehicle.

The third generation mass market vehicle will be crucial for the company to thrive and grow as at $49,900 the Model S is out of reach for most households.

But what of these Model S variants?  Could we see a convertible, a coupe, or a range extender?

I certainly wouldn’t expect a range extender.  This is among what Musk told me when I asked him about the idea:

We looked closely at a range extender architecture for Model S. It ends up costing about the same in vehicle unit cost, a lot more in R&D and a lot more in servicing. Also, although performance is ok when both battery and engine are active at the same time, it turns really bad when the battery runs out and an undersized engine is carrying all the dead weight of the pack. Essentially, a REV is neither fish nor fowl and ends up being worse (in our opinion) than either a gasoline or pure electric vehicle…

So I asked Musk what the Model S variants be.  These days his answers are a little shorter, since the SEC and investors are watching:

“We will have some exciting announcements next year,” he said.  “But nothing to talk about now.”

 

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8 responses to "Musk: Exciting Announcements Coming"

  1. Stuart22 says:

    Does he understand with EREV the battery won’t ‘run out’ with the ICE then ‘carrying all the dead weight’?

    That interview was in 2009, I wonder if Musk’s opinion has been updated yet. I would hope so, because I greatly respect him for his doggedness in finding creative ways to make dreams become realities.

    My biggest issue with EREV is that the ICE engines used now are not nearly as efficient as they should be. I’m waiting for somebody like Musk to adapt one of these new, highly efficient engine designs (such as the OPOC) to running the CS generator. These engines need to be designed and built for this purpose rather than being powerplants taken off standard engine assembly lines.

  2. James says:

    Very interesting stuff!

    If people actually get 47mpg COMBINED from a plug-in Ford Energi in CS mode
    I would have to counter that a balance is achievable with two propulsion systems.
    Problem is, he is right in that to achieve 40mpg CS in a Volt or 50 in a PIPrius is
    not easy nor intuitive for the average driver. In that sense, those are just numbers
    few work to achieve. Psychologically, when I drive my hybrid I get great mpg
    when I concentrate on hypermiling, but when wife and kids are in the car I
    definately put my driving more on autopilot with old habits on hills and coasting.
    This results in noticeably worse mileage numbers.

    Development of a full BEV is cheaper, yes, but the cost of batteries is not coming
    down all too fast. Energy density is improving, but still, many claims need to be
    verified. Surely the building of hybrids is necessary to meet the pricepoint the
    masses will embrace. Elon must know the mass-market model will be his most
    important achievement.

    It was genius for Elon to lead with the Roadster. He tapped into the human carguy
    mentality. Other companies are still in the 20th century – putting hybrid drivetrains
    in another version of an existing model. Those models tend to be compacts or
    subcompacts that don’t excite the mind. It’s fantastic for Elon to muse in the
    press, because it keeps that excitement rolling and Tesla in the minds of investors.
    It’s even more important to drive the market towards an affordable BEV
    that can go 300 miles.

    1. Spin says:

      Elon was not the genius that decided to lead with the roadster. It was Martin Eberhard

    2. Mark H says:

      Tesla will be a leader in perfecting the long range BEV, while PHEVs like the Volt continue forward for a least a decade. All good, no down side to either. Love your new avatar!

  3. Kitty Adams says:

    Do you think Tesla will name their popularly priced EV the Model T?

    1. azm- says:

      That would be a great name

  4. David Murray says:

    Yeah, I’m going to have to disagree on the statement about EREVs. While I’m not sure I can consider my Volt better than some high-end EVs, I’d definitely say it is better than any gasoline vehicle on the road. In fact, even if I could NEVER charge up my Volt and had to run it on gasoline all of the time, It would still be one of the best cars on the road.

  5. Frank Carter says:

    I agree with David M. My wife and I argue about who gets to drive!