Tesla Motors, Palo Alto, CaliforniaEnlarge Photo
The Tesla Model E rumor mill keeps on turning.
In an interview with Germany's Auto Bild (via Car and Driver) Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] design chief Franz von Holzhausen said the new entry-level electric car would debut in just over a year at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.
Or will it? A Tesla communications spokesperson subsequently told AutoblogGreen that the company hasn't confirmed that the Model E will appear at the 2015 Detroit show, and that the car's "consumer rollout" timeline was unchanged. Previous reports suggested a 2016 on-sale date.
The Model E will be Tesla's third-generation electric car, and will compete against the BMW 3 Series in the lucrative compact luxury sedan segment. However, unlike the 3 Series--and most other small luxury sedans--the Model E won't be styled to look like a smaller version of the car that came before it. Instead, von Holzhausen said it will be visually distinguished from the Model S."
"We do not want a unit face like Audi," he said.
In an interview earlier this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Model E (or whatever its actual name is) would cost less than $40,000, and would have 200 miles of range per charge. The lower price point comes not only from the car's smaller size, but from lower anticipated production costs.
Tesla may use the third-generation platform for a small crossover, and possibly a sports car to succeed the Roadster. Those vehicles won't arrive until well after the Model E goes on sale, though.
In the meantime, Tesla is expected to launch the larger Model X crossover next year. It will ride on a version of the current Model S platform.