Elon Musk gave new details on the upcoming Tesla Model E, which will be 20% smaller than the Model S and have a 48 kWh battery good for 200 miles. But can Elon really make a mass-market, 200-mile electric car that costs just $35,000?
That’s the hard part, though Musk has remained confident that he can deliver an affordable electric car with a 200-mile driving range. These new details suggest that the Tesla Model E will be all the way around 20% smaller than the Model S, backing up my assertion that a recent study claiming the Model E will be close to $50,000 is flawed. The Tesla Model S is a big car all the way around, and lopping off 20% of it results in some sizable savings, primarily in terms of weight.
The 60 kWh Model S weighs in at a formidable 4,464 lbs, while the 85 kWh Model S comes in at an even heftier 4,647 pounds, a difference of about 200 pounds. Figure another 200 or so pounds of weight loss dropping the battery down to just 48 kWh, and you’ve already got a nice chunk of weight savings off of a battery estimated to weigh between 1,300 and 1,500 pounds.
That said, the Model E is likely to still come in at or close to 4,000 pounds, even if it really is 20% smaller than the Model S. That figure probably has more to do with the size, rather than the weight of the Model E, with a smaller cabin, front, and rear-end. It also stands to reason that the Model E could even be a front-driver, which help make it even smaller. Following up one of the best cars ever built, electric or otherwise, won’t be easy though.
As far as the battery pack is concerned, a 48 kWh pack should theoretically be good for at least 150 miles of driving with today’s technology. Give Tesla another few years (and the proposed billion-dollar Gigafactory), and battery prices should go down even as the technology continues to improve, just in time for the Tesla Model E to make its long-awaited debut.