Musk Vows That Tesla Will Stay Independent At Least Until Affordable Electric BMW 3-Series Fighter Arrives

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 23

Tesla CEO Musk Says Automaker Will Stay Independent For At Least a 4 to 5 More Years

Tesla CEO Musk Says Automaker Will Stay Independent For At Least a 4 to 5 More Years

When Tesla CEO Elon Musk talks, the world now seems to listen.

Tesla Model S and Neither of These Are Affordable, But Tesla's Future EV Will Be

Tesla Model S and Neither of These Are Affordable, But Tesla’s Future EV Will Be

There’s no denying that Tesla Motors is on a roll these days, but with all the positives, there’s still some out there that say Tesla will either soon fail or be bought out by some other automaker.

Not true, says Elon Musk.

Tesla’s goal right now is to get the Model S into hand of European buyers.  After that, the automaker will focus on getting the Model X to market.  But the game-changer, that affordable electric Tesla, is truly Musk’s personal goal and the CEO says Tesla is going nowhere until that $40,000 electric with a Tesla badge has arrived.

Quoting Musk:

“With the Model S, you have a compelling car that’s too expensive for most people.  And you have the Leaf, which is cheap, but it’s not great. What the world really needs is a great, affordable electric car. I’m not going to let anything go, no matter what people offer, until I complete that mission.”

So, let’s put to rest those rumors that Tesla will soon be bought out by Ford or Apple or anyone else for that matter, as it’s not happening anytime soon.

No Buyouts Until At Least Affordable EV Arrives

No Buyouts Until At Least Affordable EV Arrives

The affordable Tesla, the one that’s claimed to rival a BMW 3-Series in cost and performance, is at least 4 years away from production.  Musk says it’ll boast a range of 200 miles and a price tag under $40,000.  If those marks are both met, then it’ll certainly be a game changer, no doubt about that.

Though an acquisition of Tesla is “one of the possible outcomes, I suppose,” says Musk, it won’t happen at least until Tesla wheels out that “compelling, affordable car.”  Even then, it’s only a possibility and Musk says a buyer would most like “come from outside the auto industry.”  It’ll be someone with a “very large cash position,” says Musk.

We personally don’t see a buyout in Tesla’s future, but anything is possible.  At least we now know that an affordable EV will come before Tesla even thinks of entertaining some sort of offer.

Source: Detroit News

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23 responses to "Musk Vows That Tesla Will Stay Independent At Least Until Affordable Electric BMW 3-Series Fighter Arrives"

  1. David Murray says:

    As long as Musk has the cash to pull this off within 4 years, I think it is a good strategy. There might be certain companies out there that would like to buy Tesla with the goal of killing off such a product before it has a chance to destroy their own business. We know there are plenty of folks who would like to see Tesla fail. I, for one, look forward to the day I can park a car in my garage that has the Tesla logo and won’t cause me to go into bankruptcy to own it.

    1. Taser54 says:

      I don’t buy into the conspiracy theory to kill Tesla by buying it. I see a major automaker, particularly, Daimler, using the purchase of Tesla to “catch up” to Ford, Nissan, GM, and BMW. Those 4 manufacturers already have the electric motor designs, the software controls, the battery pack testing done , and the related accessory systems designed. The only thing these manufacturers have to decide on is the packaging of those systems. GM has already done the legwork on both the t-shaped battery pack and the skateboard design (see the EV1 and Volt and the 2002 Autonomy/ Hywire concepts).

      I will say this: in 2015 the floodgates for EV and EREVs will open. It’ll be non-stop awesome.

  2. taser54 says:

    4 years is too long. By that time the major players will be in their game with their dedicated EV platforms and production capacity. Tesla will not be able to go it alone at that point. I foresee an acquisition by Daimler.

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Which automakers have committed to developing dedicated EVs? Tesla is already working on the affordable EV…It’s 4 years away from production…It typically takes 5 to 7 years to develop a vehicle, so if an automaker isn’t already quite a bit into the development stage, then its unlikely Tesla will be beat.

      For example, if Chrysler announced today that it’s working on a dedicated EV, we wouldn’t expect to see it enter production until 2018 or later.

      1. evnow says:

        Eric, just because some auto majors haven’t announced they are developing a dedicated EV doesn’t mean they aren’t.

        Ofcourse, Nissan & BMW already a dedicated EV platform that they will keep enhancing.

  3. JP says:

    I have to agree that 4 years is a bit too long. We all love Tesla but we have to remember he wants NOT a Camry or Accord competitor; but a Beamer competitor. How many of us that dream of a Tesla drive, can afford, or would consider purchasing a Beamer? Tesla will remain a luxury brand. He can’t say “BMW 3 series competitor AND affordable car” in the same sentence.

    GM will start selling the Spark EV for $19,995 (after incentives, etc) next month. Sure, the range will be 80 miles; but we would certainly expect battery prices to be lower in 4 years.

    Maybe that’s what he is waiting for; the drop in battery prices. The “people’s car” can be, just like the 3 series is a smaller copy of the bigger beamers, a smaller copy of the successful model S. Replace the humongous 19″ screen (can I call it tacky?) and replace it with a 7 or 9″ screen; use cloth seats, etc. And the car is done. There is no justification to wait 4 more years; OTHER than he needs one more model (the X suv coming out soon) with a huge markup before going to a less profitable offering.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      When is the X SUV coming out.??

      Yeh your right on the price. Seems like I looked at the price of the X SUV with AWD and the big battery and it was just as much a the S.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Hey George,

        There has been a little slippage over time on the Model X. According to a recent 10-K filed by the company their “plan (is) to begin production in late 2014.” So using my InsideEVs decoder ring, I’d say you will see some trickle out in Q1 of 2015, and maybe serious volume in Q2/summer of 2015.

        That being said, the delays in the Model X plans, as well as the Bluestar were a reality of having very little cash and a big commitment to pay down government debt…nothing really to do with technical/production issues (imo)

        Investors have now afforded Tesla this monsterous market cap, and Tesla is taking advantage of the opportunity to get liquid….so for once, these production plans may (and likely will) be accelerated.

  4. Nelson says:

    If GM puts out a Volt sized 200+ mile 5 seater EV with full option MSRP of $37K the game will definitely change for Tesla as well as BMW.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671

    1. Schmeltz says:

      A vehicle like you just described would change the game for everyone. I would imagine that scenario is the thing that would keep people at Tesla awake at night. Personally, I don’t think any major automaker has that vehicle coming out in the next 4 years. They all seem fine with their current platforms, (i.e. the Volt, Plug-in Prius, Fusion Energi, etc.). The other manufacturers seem fine also to let Tesla be the ground breaker too. So most likely, Tesla has the right to be a little paranoid, but they don’t have to sweat it for the short term.

  5. IDK says:

    Tesla first announced the consumer car (Blue Star) in 2006….so who knows it may creep into production slightly ahead of the 2017 date. Another thing to remember is when the the Model X hits production…just maybe the Model S will see it’s first discount.

  6. Schmeltz says:

    I still think Toyota would be the most likely candidate to potentially buy Tesla. It would be a cheap and easy way for Toyota to get into EV’s, and sell them in their nationwide network of Lexus dealerships. Not that I hope that happens, but I wouldn’t be quick to rule out a scenario like that.

  7. Richard Noe says:

    Nobody wants to wait 4-5 more years for the Blue Star, including Elon Musk. However, for a 3 series Beemer fighter with 200 mile range, Supercharger capability, etc, “under $40,000” is probably going to be $39,995, and even that may be with the tax credit applied.
    Speaking of which, by that time, as it stands now, Tesla will have gone through at least half of their 200,000 car allotment for customer tax credits, which means they may only last for the 1st year of Gen III production.
    “May we live in interesting times.” :/

    I wish I were 10 years younger.

  8. Brian says:

    I, for one, hope that Tesla remains independent indefinitely. I look forward to the day I can have one in my garage. I have already started saving for the Blue Star.

    As for the tax credit, I think there’s a good chance that in 2017, our next president will try to eliminate it for all auto makers. Romney certainly would have tried if he had won… Tesla is well aware that the credit is temporary, and I have faith they are considering that in their long-term plans.

    1. Cindy says:

      Absolutely, I am with you Brian.

  9. Tim in Miami says:

    Apple would be the perfect partner Tesla – they have cash to burn, a demonstrated excellence in producing technology products at an affordable price, and their marketing brilliance is incomparable. Elon Musk and Tim Cook would create an EV synergy that no two other companies in the world could match. Apple has demonstrated for decades that they are willing to put technology excellence ahead of immediate return for investors – this is exactly what the newly-birthed EV industry needs.

    1. KenZ says:

      Well, if Apple bought them, that would end any chance of battery swapping….

  10. qwerty says:

    Is it just me or does anyone remember the price of the less expensive sedan was going to be “$30k”?

    1. JP says:

      I thought the same thing!! Even the Tesla employees in their Bellevue (Seattle) store keep on telling me about the $30K sedan coming up.

  11. jzj says:

    The discussion of EVs always begins and ends with batteries. Will there be higher-performing, greater-energy batteries in 2017 to support a nice long-range and not terribly expensive car? Very very likely.

    I believe that the 265-mile Model S uses 3400mah 18650 Panasonic batteries. These batteries mark a steady increase in performance for the 18650 battery, which just in the past few years have gone from 1800 to 2400 to 2900 to 3100 to 3400mah. These improvements have been achieved through the use of different materials. The changes that have taken place have resulted in incremental improvement.

    Yet, there is hope not merely for continued incremental improvement, but perhaps also in significant leaps in improvement, based primarily upon laboratory advances in the use of graphene and silicon.

    Will the big leap in improvement come to mass-manufactured batteries by 2017? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t bet against it. Moreover I wouldn’t bet against Musk’s superior knowledge in these regards.

  12. Bennyd says:

    The BMW i3 is the most recent game changer. I see leasing an i3 by the end of the year and will wait to see if Tesla matches it when the lease is up. Until then, I’ll at least own Tesla stock!

  13. Priusmaniac says:

    There is no need for 200 miles of range if a micro range extender is available in the car. In that scenario of a Rex equipped BMW i3 or A1 e-tron type vehicle, a 100 mile range is more than enough.
    That means a much cheaper battery. In a sense for a low cost Tesla, it is Fisker that had it right. The problem is that Fisker started for the same reason a Tesla with the high level range car and in that case the Tesla full battery option was better, but for the lower cost it is not.
    By the way, the fact that Audi is NOT putting the A1 e-tron on the market is exactly proving that they perfectly now that would be the effective global market EV solution and they just don’t want to put all of their other cars on an instant obsolescence list that would cause them trouble. Both in organization level and in huge remolding challenges.
    Tesla off course wouldn’t have those troubles but they don’t yet get the full interest of a Rex equipped 100 mile EV.
    BMW is starting to understand it with the i3 but like Audi they are afraid of the consequences on their other line up so they only propose a small quiet special car, not a general market BMW 3 or BMW 5 sized vehicle.

  14. John Scibelli says:

    In my opinion, this car company is probably about Mr. Musk getting rich. He has all the makings of a snake oil salesman. He builds up a company with personal guarantees and makes it appealing for some sucker to buy. After all the dust settles, and people figure out it takes 75 Minutes to charge up their battery (Only at a super charging station), they get frustrated, stop buying Tesla’s, and the rest is history….Maybe a lifetime movie at the end of this story.

    There is a reason why electric powered vehicles were replaced by the internal combustion motor. That reason is pure economics…