Some of the first news we heard coming out of the Detroit Auto Show, which kicked off on Sunday, is that Silicon Valley electric car maker Tesla will be offering a high-performance “Roadster Sport” which will cost about $20,000 more than its currently available luxury Roadster. In light of the fact that Tesla has basically put its cheaper Model S on the back burner (with Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently hedging on whether or not the Model S factory was assured), we don’t think going even more luxury is a good direction for Tesla. And it’s another indication that Tesla is being forced to move away from its previous plans to become a more mainstream electric car maker.
Musk has long maintained that he envisioned Tesla as one day offering a mainstream, even $20,000 or $30,000 electric vehicle, to the masses, and only started building the high-end $109,000-priced electric Roadster as a way to move into a more mainstream electric vehicle technology. Like cell phones or other new technology, he insisted that the way into the electric vehicle market was through a luxury car and that over time the price of building the cars would naturally come down.
But in the face of difficult economic times and an apparent underestimation of the capital involved in becoming a mainstream car maker, Tesla has been forced to hunker down and focus on getting out the long-promised Roadster to customers. And now at one of the biggest auto shows of the year the company is actually moving more in the luxury direction, offering its current Roadster customers the ability to upgrade to the Roadster Sport. Tesla seems like it’s finally waking up from its dream of being an electric car maker for the masses.