Tesla is planning to build an electric hatchback for the European market.
CEO Elon Musk, speaking at a European battery conference, said Tesla plans to bring longer-range electric cars to market in the coming years. He also mentioned those plans include a new hatchback, designed specifically for countries in Europe.
Tesla is building a factory near Berlin, which will make cars tailored for European buyers. These include smaller models that can easily park in dense urban environments. Musk had hinted earlier this year that Tesla might engineer a hatchback from its German facility. Now he’s confirmed it.
“In Europe, it would make sense to do a compact car, a hatchback,” Musk said during the event hosted by the European Union Council. “I’m sure there will be others as well.”
Tesla will debut improved versions of existing models too. They will reportedly approach 700 km (435 miles) of range. The company also has vehicles under development that could reach 1,000 km, Musk said. Tesla currently sells four models (not including the Roadster or Cybertruck), including its midsize Model 3 sedan and medium-sized Model Y and Model X SUVs.
Musk joked that he was having a problem parking his 16.4-foot long Model X in Berlin. “I was driving a Model X around Berlin and we had quite a bit of trouble finding a parking space where we could fit,” he said.
At Tesla’s own “Battery Day” in September, Musk laid out a plan to build a $25,000 (21,000 euro) car. He also aims to cut battery costs in half over the next three years. However, making a truly mass-market EV (at a profit) will require greater numbers of cheaper batteries than currently available.
The European Union said on Tuesday that the region could produce enough batteries by 2025 to power its fast-growing fleet of EVs without relying on imported cells.
Tesla is building a new factory near Berlin that will be Tesla’s first in Europe. It’s slated to start production in the middle of 2021. It could eventually assemble as many as 500,000 cars annually. The project is an important expansion, since it positions Tesla in the backyard of German auto giants Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler — who are all ramping up their own EV products.
Tesla is working on cheaper, longer-range, and more environmentally friendly batteries that will be made at the company’s German plant.