The competition for the Volkswagen ID.3 electric could be heating up already. A report from Autocar says that Tesla is looking at adding volume by making a hatchback version of its Model 3, also aimed at Europe, and built in Germany at the automaker’s plant there still under construction.
“We will not succeed in our mission if we don’t make cars affordable,” Autocar reports Elon Musk as saying on an investor call, adding: “The thing that bugs me the most about where we are right now is that our cars aren’t affordable enough. We need to fix that.”
While he’s not ready to spill the electric beans just yet, Musk said “it would be reasonable to assume that we would make a compact vehicle of some kind and probably a higher-capacity vehicle of some kind”.
Already in the Telsa pipeline, though, are the Semi truck, Roadster, and a pickup truck, which would likely need to come before a 3 hatch.
On the other hand, with the ID.3’s sales having already started, the pressure could be on Tesla to respond quickly to the compact hatch. In which case simply adding a modified version of the Model 3 with a hatch and a lower price when German production starts next year could be an appealing and much more simple venture.
The new plant is expected to hold a new massive aluminum casting machine, a first for mass-production, that simplifies (and cheapens) assembling a unibody and would make production changes like this easier. A single, less powerful motor and a bit less battery and you’re still easily competing with the 123 hp and 205-mile range of lower-spec ID.3s.
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