The world's coolest electric car company's move into mainstream motoring is just one year away. Visitors to the 2014 North American International Auto Show will have to make do with the debut of the company's first SUV instead.
The company hopes to launch its electric SUV in 2014, followed by its first mass-market car in 2015. Photo:AFP
Called the Model X, the all-electric SUV has been displayed in concept and pre-production form at a number of motoring events over the past year or so but, according to the company's head of design, Franz von Holzhausen, it is now ready getting ready for the road.
In an interview with German publication AutoBild, von Holzhausen also confirmed that Tesla's car for the masses will be called the Model E and will not simply be a smaller version of the current Model S.
Although the two cars will share some design language, they will look different. Holzhausen doesn't want Tesla to follow the design approach of companies like Audi, where all of the cars seem to look the same from the front and rear, with just the length differing.
In the interview, he is also asked what he thinks of BMW's i3 electric car and the answer is, not much, from a design perspective anyway. He compares it to a piece of IKEA furniture although he praises the car's underlying technology and the materials used in construction.
The Tesla Model S currently retails for $60,000 in the US, pushing it into the same category as the Mercedes E Class, BMW 5 Series and Audi A5. The Model E is expected to cost around $30,000 when it launches, meaning that it will be competing with most Ford and GM mass market vehicles.