Tesla’s next new model will be a luxury sedan with a price tag of around $60,000. The new sedan, codenamed the Model S (previously known as Whitestar), has a targeted range of 240 miles and is expected to enter production in late 2010. Earlier this month Tesla announced that a new factory will be built in San Jose, California, to accommodate the Model S. The Roadster, meanwhile, will continue to be built by Group Lotus in Hethel, UK.
However, Tesla is also working on a third model, codenamed the Bluestar, which the company hopes will have a price tag of about $30,000. Tesla’s vice-president Mike Harrigan has previously mentioned that the new sedan will mount the electric motor and batteries in the front of the vehicle and feature a rear-wheel drive layout. He also revealed that a team of engineers have been recruited at the company’s Rochester Hills technical center in Michigan to start work on the new project.
Speaking at the recent EmTech 2008 conference in California, Tesla's chief technology officer JB Straubel said the platform developed for the Bluestar will eventually lead to a range of vehicles including a minivan, coupe, and a light pickup truck, CNET reports.
"It could use the same or similar architecture from the Model S, and we may partner with an existing OEM to leverage their scale," Straubel said. He also said that China and other fast-growing economies could be good markets for the car but the key to its success overseas is a low price tag. "With Bluestar, we're looking at cost and lowering the overall expense to the user. If it's not cost-competitive (with oil), you are going to have a hard time scaling to a high level," he explained.