Tesla Motors Designer: Pickup Truck Ideal for Development

By Jacob Brown | July 16, 2012
That little electric car maker Tesla Motors wants to build a big ol' pickup truck. At least someday. Tesla's chief designer Franz von Holzhausen, known for his work on the Volkswagen New Beetle, Pontiac Solstice, and various Mazdas before heading to his current employer, says "There will be a time and a place for us to develop something around a pickup. That's a market for which the torque of an electric motor would be ideally suited." Because electric motors can generate all of their torque—or pulling force—right off idle, it seems that an electric motor would benefit a pickup truck model. That's why diesel engines, which are generally down on power compared to their gas contemporaries, are popular in pickups: because they generate gobs of torque from low engine revs. Von Holzhausen says the Tesla platform utilized in the Model S sedan that just debuted, and the 2014 Model X crossover previewed several months back can accommodate all sorts of designs because of the relatively small 10-centimeter battery stack in the car that sits under the passengers. He also says that now Tesla has created a new car and looks to have a few more on the way, Tesla will adopt a more radical design for future products. "Our cars need to have some personality," he said. Among those new cars will undoubtedly be a more compact sedan that Tesla wants to compete with the BMW 3 Series and Fisker Atlantic, pending the latter reaches production. "The third model (behind the Model S and Model X) will continue to drive down the price point as fast as possible," von Holzhausen added, indicating a target price of around $30,000 to Autocar. Currently the cheapest electric car is the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which starts at just under $30,000. The Nissan Leaf comes in under $40,000, but is limited by an EPA-estimated 76-mile range. With the Model S having between 140 and 265 miles of electric driving range, Tesla looks to be trying to take electric cars mainstream. Battery packs are the most expensive part of a car's drivetrain, but they're coming down in price. With the modularity and scale Tesla hopes to achieve, the automaker might just accomplish its goals sooner rather than later. Source: Autocar