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Tesla wants to release a quality, yet affordable EV (unlike the Nissan Leaf)

Now that Tesla Motors has freed itself of federal debt, many are wondering, "What's next for the automaker?" According to its CEO, creating a quality electric vehicle that is also affordable is the main goal. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that his company's Model S is a great EV, but it's a luxury car that is out of the price range of many consumers. He compared it to the Nissan Leaf, which is an affordable EV, but lacks quality (in Musk's opinion).

“With the Model S, you have a compelling car that’s too expensive for most people,” said Musk. “And you have the Leaf, which is cheap, but it’s not great." 

Musk said the ideal affordable Tesla EV would be available in about three to four years, and would be sold for under $40,000 USD. It would also have a range of about 200 miles per charge. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

With Tesla paying off its $465 million federal loan from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) an entire nine years earlier than expected last week, some suspected that Tesla's next move would be an acquisition by larger companies like Daimler AG and Toyota Motor Corp. Daimler AG has 4.87 million Tesla shares valued at $425 million and Toyota has 2.94 million shares valued at $257 million.

While Musk recognizes that an acquisition is possible in the future, he doesn't see his company being sold to another automaker.

“Tesla just seems very expensive [to other automakers],” said Musk. "I’d guess it would come from outside the auto industry. It would be a buyer with a very large cash position."

Musk said Apple is a large company that could qualify as a suitable buyer for Tesla at some point.

However, Musk isn't selling anytime soon. He wants to stick around to continue selling Tesla's popular Model S sedan (the company sold 4,900 in the first quarter), seeing profits soar (Tesla's profit came in at 12 cents a share for Q1, which was a boost from a loss of 76 cents a share in Q1 2012) and developing the affordable Tesla EV.

"What the world really needs is a great, affordable electric car," said Musk. "I’m not going to let anything go, no matter what people offer, until I complete that mission.”

Source: The Detroit News

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RE: Buy Tesla
By Treckin on 5/27/2013 2:39:37 PM , Rating: 1
Yes COST is the problem.

That's why space exploration is the answer. Its cheaper then making cars...

Did you read your post once before clicking submit?

Pretty sure we are only at the oh-so-early beginning of the capitalization of space travel...

Cars, on the other hand, have crowned countless elites through the economic position of capital in industry.

Space industry, not so much. Mostly a sideshow spawned in the wake of the military industrial machine.

RE: Buy Tesla
By Scrogneugneu on 5/27/2013 7:27:40 PM , Rating: 3
Think for a moment.

The guy has founded SpaceX, which makes space vehicles. He is also CEO at Tesla, which makes electric vehicles. And he also happens to be chairman for SolarCity, which produces solar panels.

He's working with Tesla to produce electric cars (thus refining the battery and electric efficiency technologies) and working with SolarCity to produce solar panels (thus improving the efficiency of that energy source).

What would be the best, most efficient and cheapest way to power a ship in space, in the solar system ?

The space industry isn't something big yet, mainly because of the entry cost versus the potential benefits. But this guy has interests everywhere he needs to in order to be the first one in line when the entry cost drops low enough for it to be profitable (and is seemingly working to make this happen during his own lifetime).

At the very least, the suggestion of space is not that far-fetched.

RE: Buy Tesla
By Doken44 on 5/27/2013 11:43:59 PM , Rating: 2
I see your point, but propulsion is the largest energy need for a space ship. Are you suggesting that there is an electric propulsion method that is feasible for something of the size of a manned space ship?

RE: Buy Tesla
By Shadowself on 5/28/2013 8:51:48 AM , Rating: 2
Electric propulsion exists and has been utilized in space for many years. The problem with it is not its efficiency (it's as much as a factor of 1,000x more efficient than any chemical rocket motor). It's that the thrust is so low. Electric thrusters do not have enough thrust to get something off the ground -- and may not for a few decades.

As far as manned? Once in space you could gang enough of the electric thrusters together to get the thrust you need for movement in space. (Even breaking orbit or entering orbit is a small fraction of that needed to get off the ground.)

RE: Buy Tesla
By BRB29 on 5/28/2013 9:19:47 AM , Rating: 2
Ion engines have their places in long distance travel because they have plenty of time to accelerate. I don't think it will ever be able to launch something into orbit from earth.

I think the laser launching platform and orbital elevator are both pretty cool ideas.

We've already figured out how to negate gravity. The problem is the device takes up the space of a large room and massive amount electricity. It makes an antigravity field of less than 1 cubic foot lol.

RE: Buy Tesla
By SPOOFE on 5/28/2013 3:25:41 AM , Rating: 2
What would be the best, most efficient and cheapest way to power a ship in space, in the solar system ?

Nuclear power, and at that point, solar panels might not be worth the weight.

But it's a great option for satellites or Musk's upcoming Moobase I.

RE: Buy Tesla
By Shadowself on 5/28/2013 9:05:10 AM , Rating: 2
True, the only way to get the megawatts needed to do significant thrust today is with nuclear. Solar may get there eventually, but not today. (Note that space qualified solar cells are less efficient that those we talk about with regard to a terrestrial basis. Add to this the fact that solar cells degrade in space at a rate of 1% - 3% a year and things start to look not so great for space solar.)

Additionally, once you get beyond Mars, solar quickly becomes a non viable option. Once past Saturn, solar is almost useless for anything. (While total solar radiation is about 1,360 W/m^2 at the Earth's orbit; at Mars' orbit its about 585 W/m^2; and then it's only about 15 W/m^ at Saturn's orbit.) Knock these down by a factor of four for space solar cell efficiencies, and you start to see how bad solar is much beyond Mars.

RE: Buy Tesla
By m51 on 5/28/2013 11:53:59 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately Nuclear is not cheap at all. Nuclear thermal rockets are well developed and tested, but never flown. They are high thrust/high efficiency engines.

Nuclear Electric propulsion however has a considerably lower power to weight ratio than Solar electric propulsion (inside Mars orbit). Further from the sun and some type of nuclear power is the only viable option. Although there is a solar powered satellite orbiting jupiter, the solar array is huge and the power is constrained.

Current space grade solar cells degrade at less than 1% per year. They are also quite efficient, with current space grade panels operating above 30% efficiency.

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