Now that Elon Musk has paid off Tesla Automotive’s $451.8-million Department of Energy loan, it can do whatever it so pleases, essentially.
What does Musk, one of the world’s boldest billionaires, have in store for his all-electric car company? “A compelling, affordable car,” Musk said last week in a Bloomberg interview.
“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,” Musk added.
This is exciting news indeed. The Tesla Model S has done with the electric car what Apple did with the iPhone: make a great looking, great operating unit that works the way its competitors’ offerings should have from the get-go.
Speaking of Apple, rumors have recently suggested that Apple has shown interest in purchasing Tesla. Disappointingly, aside from iPhone integration, Tesla hasn’t had any such buyout discussions with Apple.
What might this LEAF-level Tesla cost and when might you be able to get your hands on one? Musk wants to price it below $40,000 and have it hit Tesla showrooms within the next “three to four years.” Even better still, while the LEAF is limited to a sub-100-mile range, the Tesla economy EV would be capable of around 200-miles on a single charge.
So what will it look like? We’re hoping for a scaled-down version of the Model X, complete with gullwing doors and a hatchback.
By Nick Jaynes