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Tesla planning car to take on Nissan LEAF – and maybe sell out to Apple

Tue, 28 May 2013 00:00:00 -0700

Elon Musk is buoyed by the success of the Tesla S and the seemingly inexorable rise in Tesla’s stock which has allowed Tesla to repay its government loans way ahead of schedule.

Now Musk has been getting adventurous in an interview with Bloomberg where he’s stated that the next plan for Tesla is to build a smaller, more affordable electric car that can take on the Nissan LEAF.

Musk plans to stay in control of Tesla until plans for a news small EV are complete, and said:

With the Model S, you have a compelling car that’s too expensive for most people. and you have the Leaf, which is cheap, but it’s not great.

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

The plan seems to be to build a smaller Tesla with a range of around 200 miles and costing less than $40k (which is almost twice what the Nissan LEAF costs). But at least it will be more affordable than the Model S.

Musk also went on to add that when the time does come for Tesla to sell out to a bigger company with much deeper pockets, he couldn’t envisage it being to a car company. He said:

[To a large, established automaker] Tesla just seems very expensive. How many cars do we make? What’s our market cap? It seems nutty to them.

[Rather than an auto company] I’d guess it would come from outside the auto industry. It would be a buyer with a very large cash position.

The interview then led to speculation about the deep pockets of Apple, and although Musk refused to be drawn he did concede Apple had very deep pockets (hardly a revelation).

Which doesn’t mean Musk wants to sell Tesla to Apple, but it does give an insight in to where Musk sees Tesla heading, and that direction is as a technology company that makes cars, not a car maker per se.

So maybe the Apple iCar is a distinct possibility?


By Cars UK