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Tesla Going For Mainstream Market With Sub-$30,000 Model

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Tesla Model S Sedan

Tesla Model S Sedan

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Tesla’s sole model offering is a highly exclusive electric roadster that sells for more than $100,000 but the company has ambitious plans to eventually become a mainstream automaker. With a detailed plan spanning the next six years, Tesla intends to use $465 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund its expansion from exotic sports car manufacturing to affordable family vehicles--all while maintaining its electric vehicle niche.

In 2011 Tesla will start production of its Model S electric sedan, which is set to enter the market at around $57,500 without any discounts. The Model S will be an upmarket sedan with seating for up to six and promises a sub-6 second 0-62 mph time and a total driving range of up to 300 mi.

By 2016, the company plans to launch a more affordable mass-market model that will sell for less than $30,000 and bring the company into a much more mainstream segment.

While production numbers for the current Roadster are limited to around the 1,000 unit mark, and the Model S tipped to number around 20,000, the new sub-$30,000 Tesla should see volumes increase far beyond these levels, possibly cracking the 100,000 unit mark.

Tesla, however, isn’t the only electric car company with such ambitious plans. Key rival Fisker Automotive, maker of the upcoming Karma plug-in hybrid luxury sedan, plans to eventually launch a more practical and family-oriented version of the Karma as well as low-cost model. However, while Tesla’s models will feature all-electric powertrains, Fisker has chosen to go down the plug-in hybrid route.

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