The Tesla Model 3 was announced only one month ago, and deliveries of the $35,000 electric sedan won’t even begin until sometime next year. But that hasn’t stopped Elon Musk from looking even farther into the luxury automaker's future (oh yeah and to Mars).
At the recent Future Transport Solutions conference in Norway, Musk suggested an even less expensive Tesla might be coming next. Musk said, “It’s been a very difficult journey, but I’m super excited about being able to produce a car that most people can afford. And there will be future cars that are even more affordable down the road.
“With something like the Model 3, it’s designed such that roughly half the people will be able to afford the car. Then, with fourth generation and smaller cars, we’ll ultimately be in the position where everyone will be able to afford the car.”
Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Norway’s Minister of Transport and Communications and Musk’s interviewer for the day, immediately asked whether Tesla would be able to divorce itself from government subsidiaries for low or zero emission cars. There isn’t a quick answer, Musk said, because of subsidies also offered for oil and gas companies.
The key, Musk said, is economies of scale. Musk explained that Tesla first needed to do well enough to build its enormous Gigafactory in Nevada, which will produce a projected 500,000 vehicles per year as well as the lithium-ion batteries that run them. Only then could prices be brought down enough to allow the company to go from luxury vehicles like the Model S to the relatively affordable Model 3.
The complete interview covers Musk’s views on “future transport,” including an as-yet-unrealized idea to rival Uber.
“Something which is not exactly a bus, but would solve the density problem in intercity situations, " said Musk. "I think we need to rethink the whole concept of public transport.”
Tesla also recently demonstrated the Model S Bioweapon Defense Mode by submerging the car in a poisoinous bubble.