Tesla has confirmed that it’s working with several major carmakers to develop a new range of affordable all-electric vehicles that are set to go on sale early next decade, but execs have also revealed that Tesla is planning to expand its own lineup with a new sedan and possibly a SUV and coupe-like sedan.
Already confirmed for a production start in 2010 is the new plug-in hybrid ‘Model S’ sedan, which Tesla will build at a new plant in California. However, several other models that could use the same underpinnings as the Model S are under consideration. If given the green light, the new models will likely join the Roadster (pictured) and the Model S by 2015, giving Tesla just seven years to develop a more efficient battery system.
The Model S, meanwhile, will play a key role in establishing Tesla as a mainstream electric car brand, and not just a niche sports car manufacturer. With expected annual sales of 20,000 units, the Model S will be significantly cheaper than the Roadster thanks to its conventional steel construction (the Roadster employs extensive use of aluminum and carbon-fiber).
There has been no mention of which mainstream carmakers Tesla is currently working with, but the plan is for Tesla to license its electric-powertrain technology for vehicles that do not directly compete with its own models. Some of the companies rumored to be working with Tesla include Daimler and Chrysler.