Tesla has provided its first detailed public explanation regarding its upcoming next-generation car, which is expected to have a starting price between $25,000 and $30,000. The new car’s affordability has significant implications for both the auto market and potential buyers.
From the headlines, car buyers might think the most important force driving down the cost of electric vehicles is the $7,500 tax credit that was expanded last summer, followed by Tesla’s recent aggressive cost-cutting to gain more market share.
Look closer, and the work auto companies are doing themselves to refine EV technology — and, crucially, new manufacturing processes — loom as an even bigger deal. And that’s resulting in a series of newly-announced and coming-soon models that will make EVs much cheaper, and more mainstream, highlighted by Tesla’s first detailed public explanation of how its next-generation car due next year will come at a lower price tag, expected to start between $25,000 and $30,000.
The rise of the mass-market EV will be a milestone — environmentally, economically, financially and even politically. And as the Biden administration pushes changes that seek to aggressively remake the car market in favor of EVs more quickly than previously anticipated.
Hitting price points well below the $48,763 U.S. average new-vehicle price, which Kelley Blue Book says has risen 30% in the last three years, will make obsolete the shibboleth that EVs are an elite affectation of rich people. If the new models catch on, they will cement electric transportation as a mainstream consumer good, while also making Tesla, a refocused Ford and General Motors — and a still-to-be-winnowed out collection of EV startups — fully mainstream carmakers.
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“For Tesla to go mass-market, they have to have a cheaper car,” said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, who thinks Tesla’s version will be a compact luxury vehicle akin to an Audi A3 gas-powered car, whose base model starts at $35,400. “And mass market is the holy grail.”
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