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Summary:

Even though Tesla’s second electric vehicle the Model S is still about two years away, Tesla CEO Elon Musk laid out the company’s road map for two more new electric cars at an event in Palm Springs: the Model X SUV and a $30,000 EV.

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Palm Springs, California — Even though Tesla’s second electric vehicle the Model S is still about two years away from the market, Tesla CEO Elon Musk laid out the company’s road map for two more new electric cars at the Cleantech Investor Summit in Palm Springs, California on Wednesday. Tesla will unveil the Model X SUV, which will be “cooler” than any SUV or minivan on the market, later this year, said Musk, and in about four years will have developed a truly “mainstream” car that will cost $30,000.

Musk has talked about both cars before. Back in 2008, he was even hoping the mainstream electric car could go for as low as $20,000. And Musk spoke about the Model X SUV at a recent tour of Tesla’s recently acquired NUMMI plant. But as the company gets closer to launching the Model S, it’ll get that much closer to Musk’s original vision of making electric vehicles truly mainstream.

As far as how fast EVs will become mainstream Musk had some pretty aggressive predictions going. By 2020 it’ll be dirt cheap to have a long range vehicle battery, said Musk. By 2030, the only cars sold in America will be electric cars, and by midcentury the vast majority of cars on the road will be electric, said Musk. Those are tall orders, and mere decades away. All transportation is going electric, except — ironically — rockets, said Musk (Musk is the founder of rocket company SpaceX).

But first in line, the Model S. Coming in late 2012 or 2013 (if it’s on time), the Model S is being designed so that people would buy it even if wasn’t electric. “It’s arguably the most advanced car in the world.” The battery pack can even be swamped out in under a minute, said Musk — which I’m sure got the attention of the Better Place folks.

Several questions from the audience at the conference asked Musk for advice on running companies and competing in the marketplace. Musk advised entrepreneurs to build a useful prototype as soon as possible for their ideas, for the least amount of money. That’s the first thing we did with Tesla, said Musk, because only so many things can be explained by power point.

In addition, Musk said, allow for a certain amount of chaos in an organization — allow for failure. Google is pretty good at this, said Musk, and we plan to eventually implement time for SpaceX and Tesla employees to work on their own projects. Finally, let employees have some irreverence, said Musk. For example, for a SpaceX rocket launch SpaceX employees hid a secret wheel of cheese inside the vessel.

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  1. Does this kind of BS actually pump the stock price? Just asking!

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  2. New product announcements probably help keep the stock up. My list here: http://gigaom.com/cleantech/pr-watch-how-tesla-will-try-to-keep-its-stock-up/

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  3. “The battery pack can even be >swamped< out in under a minute, said Musk — which I’m sure got the attention of the Better Place folks."

    So the first market is clearly Florida then.

    Seriously, though, typos aside, the battery will be in no way at all compatible with Better Place designs.

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  4. Musk is being very optimistic with his statements – which is a good thing in an industry that has to swim upstream just to be heard. Electric cars are always competing against gas cars, which have a huge market share and the general public is more familiar with them. As well, his projection for a cheaper car is great. Currently cost is the main issue stopping some consumers from buying an electric car.

    However, the origin of the electricity still needs to be fixed. If the electricity still comes from a fossil fuel power plant, we haven’t made too much progress.

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    1. Sounds like hype, but maybe not if his prediction is true:

      By 2020 it’ll be dirt cheap to have a long range vehicle battery, said Musk.

      He is in a position to know more than I about this…wonder if he really does. I am on list to get Leaf, but Nissan does not yet have a long term warranty on their battery…a show stopper for me. If they believe Musk, they could put out a cheap extended warranty…beyond the present 8 year one.

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  5. Ken Fabenruker Monday, January 24, 2011

    in 4 years… tesla will be irrelevant. there are simply too many ev/hybrids being released by players with real manufacturing capabilities and capital. tesla has done their job… to get the industry pumped with the pr machine!

    “By 2030, the only cars sold in America will be electric cars”…. wow that’s pretty aggressive considering the us energy information administration says in 2030 only 25% of new cars sold will be hybrid/ev. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_02/b4210048460045.htm

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  6. Tesla CEO: Model X SUV to Be Unveiled in 2011, $30K Car in 4 Years http://t.co/gr2YBDH6

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  7. RT @mktgchelsea Tesla CEO: Model X SUV to Be Unveiled in 2011, $30K Car in 4 Years http://t.co/CP1b86Dg

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  8. @carolineheldman Tesla cars will soon be mainstream: http://t.co/hwqHgkmW

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  9. RT @TeslaEV: RT @mktgchelsea Tesla CEO: Model X SUV to Be Unveiled in 2011, $30K Car in 4 Years http://t.co/CP1b86Dg

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  10. RT @TeslaEV: RT @mktgchelsea Tesla CEO: Model X SUV to Be Unveiled in 2011, $30K Car in 4 Years http://t.co/CP1b86Dg

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