A $25,000 Tesla Could Be Awfully Convincing

Illustration for article titled A $25,000 Tesla Could Be Awfully Convincing
Photo: Getty Images (Getty Images)

Ever since CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla would have a $25,000 compact within three years I haven’t allowed myself to think of it as a realistic possibility. That’s not because I don’t think it will exist; on the contrary, I assume it’ll very much be a thing, but only for China and Europe. Except, according to a new report, I might be wrong.


That report is from Teslarati, which says that Tesla’s China president has been talking up the compact:

During a recent interview with Chinese state media outlet Xinhua Net, Tesla China President Tom Zhu discussed several aspects of the electric car maker’s operations and plans in the country. Among the most notable topics he discussed was the highly-anticipated $25,000 compact electric car, which will be designed in a dedicated R&D center in Gigafactory Shanghai and sold worldwide.


“We will provide very good conditions to facilitate our R&D Engineers working towards our ultimate goal. The ultimate goal has been mentioned on many public occasions. In the future, we want to design, develop and produce an original model in China, manufactured here and sold to the whole world. This R&D center is the starting point of the goal,” the Tesla China President remarked.

Now, a few things: It hasn’t been confirmed that the original model from China is the $25,000 Tesla, but that is the expectation, and (2) “sold to the whole world” could be a poor translation, or maybe Zhu really just means “Europe,” which would be a shame.

But for now, I’m going to allow myself to believe that he also means “America,” the world’s second-biggest car market. Because that’s where I and many other people live, and a $25,000 Tesla sure would make a compelling case for mass EV adoption.

At that price, the gas savings would mean more, proportional to the car’s value; at that price, too, you wouldn’t be sinking luxury-car money into a vehicle that might come with some issues. At that price, you’re in regular car money territory; at that price, the buyer’s remorse will only be a little irritating, as opposed to dear-god-what-have-I-done.

At that price, too, I’m assuming Tesla will deliver a fairly bare-bones car, by their standards. No Full Self-Driving, obviously, that will be an extra $10,000. Probably some other software disabled until you pay up. And the range might be ass, so much so that the $25,000 Tesla becomes, like the $35,000 Model 3 before it, a bit of a joke.


None of that would be surprising given the history of this company! But a $25,000 Tesla with enough features enabled to make me feel like I’m not being cheated and a range of at least 200 miles — count me in, maybe. Now time to take a big sip of coffee and see what New York City’s EV charging network situation is.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.



I would definitely want a $25,000 EV.

But I don’t want to be a Tesla owner. I don’t want to be part of the group that sees a recall that means every Tesla made before a certain date is running on borrowed time and says “well sure but otherwise it’s way more reliable than an ICE car!” I don’t want to buy a car from Elon Musk, who is like a 10 year old Blofeld. I don’t want whatever the hell they’re trying to do with their steering wheels, which just looks egregiously unsafe.

I’ll keep an eye on what Hyundai’s doing for now. The Ioniq 5 might not be $25,000, but it’s intriguing.