Tesla has been building reasonably mainstream electric vehicles for almost a decade, and in volume for maybe three years. It’s a little bit of an understatement to say that the company has been making ambitious moves in all that time, and the car world is probably better for it. The Model 3 is the one that the company bet its future on, and it seems to have paid off, but if it really wants to make waves, this sub-3 compact is going to be its real magnum opus.
To get an electric car to a competitive price with an internal combustion engine car is the thing that companies have been attempting to do for years. The Leaf is close, but it’s still over $30,000 without incentives. For Tesla to say it can release a $25,000 model in three years with its new proprietary battery chemistry is another ambitious move. Unfortunately this company has a track record of biting off way more than it can chew.
The Model 3 was teased as a $35,000 EV and it took several years after that promise to bring such a thing to fruition. The Tesla Semi was first unveiled almost three years ago and not a single example has been delivered to customers. The Cybertruck is still little more than a prototype and a punchline. I’m old enough to remember when it was called the 2020 Tesla Roadster.
I won’t be holding my breath waiting for the compact Tesla with a 25 grand tag on the windshield, but I know that if/when it arrives I’ll be an extremely interested customer. I don’t give a shit about the “robotaxi” tagline that has been attributed to this compact, because I don’t believe in Tesla Autopilot, and wouldn’t order it anyway. Remember when Musk said that by mid-2020 there would be over a million autonomous Tesla taxis on American roadways capable of traversing the country without a driver? Yeah, that hasn’t happened either, thank fuck.
My larger point is that a small EV with a reasonable price will certainly entice normal folks out of their older or worse ICE-powered cars. I’m really looking forward to this new car, even if it takes five years. Of course, by then, probably everyone else would have caught up and offered their own. Renault does sell the all-electric Zoe in Europe for under 27,00 euros already, don’t forget.