Tesla in 2020

The focus of this thread is the Tesla's model range to be expected in 2020, taking rather market than technology aspects into consideration.

What I expect in 2020 is:

  • Model S: 85kWh (85k€), 135kWh (105k€) + luxury package: 5k€
  • Model X: 85kWh (85k€), 135kWh (105k€) + luxury package: 5k€
  • Model G3: 60kWh (45k€), 85kWh (55k€) + luxury package: 5k€
  • G3:

    • will be a down-sized S (optimized 60kWh battery, sub-S performance, focus on price)
    • 85kWh is the S-battery
    • Model S:

    • no longer a 60kWh version
    • lower production cost, improvement in battery, overall "evolutionary" improvement
    • 135kWh: new battery generation (that's why 20k€ is assumed)
    • Model X:

    • same (overall) performance as Model S
      • Market prediction:

          Tesla will NOT address the ICE-market, but the EV-market
          Tesla will stay at an all-electric car company (no hybrids)
          Tesla will position itself as "far superior" than other EVs (in its category) and reaching a "low-limit ICE-range): it will not really "compete" with an ICE in the same category, but provide an "acceptable" performance
          Tesla will not enter the city-car market (Mitsubishi, eSmart, eVW etc.)

        Given that, Tesla will "set the standards" in EVs - and that will be its USP.

    I think Tesla can and should develop an 70-85 kWh for Gen3. That should be practical with some minor updates/tweaks to the MS battery. They can probably fit such a battery in the reduced footprint of Gen3. The result would increase its range and match performance compared to the current MS.

    Of course, an upgraded MS battery with at least 100 kWh based on the same battery updates/tweaks should be offered for the MS, fitting in all of the MS and MX cars.

    Hopefully, such battery upgrades will stretch the range to 300 miles at freeway speeds under good conditions.

    Better Than the Best of the Worst...

    Let's make a distinction between the terms 'battery pack' and 'battery cells', shall we? Currently, a battery pack that delivers 85 kWh of energy storage contains ~7000 battery cells. By 2016, it may only take 60% as many battery cells to store the same amount of energy. That would be around ~4200 battery cells.

    • Simply by reducing the quantity of the cells, your price point has dropped by 40%, as has the weight.
    • The price point can drop an additional 30% per battery cell once they are supplied from the Gigafactory.
    • That effectively means that by 2017, the ~4200 battery cells used in an 85 kWh battery pack would cost the same as ~2940 battery cells cost today.

    Using this set of calculations, an 85 kWh battery pack would be reduced by 58% in cost by 2017, and reduced in weight by 40%. Those numbers exceed both the 50% reduction in cost, and the 20% reduction in weight that is presumed to be necessary for mass market adoption of electric vehicles to begin. They will only improve as the years go by.

    When it comes to Battery Electric Vehicle range... There will be a certain point that is considered 'enough'. It will be different for people based upon their driving needs, and driving styles. There will never be a point that is considered 'way too [DELTA] much'.

    There will definitely come a point where the range and economy of the very best ICE example will pale in comparison to the lowliest BEV offering. No one will care how long it takes to 'fill up', because 25% or less of BEV range will eclipse 100% of ICE range. That will probably not happen by 2020. But I assure you that 'enough' will come well before that year arrives.

    I just did an amazing calculation. The question is how many superchargers are required to cover the US? I thought it was thousands.

    Lets say the country is 3000 miles by 1500 miles, just for argument. If there is a SC every 150 miles, that is 20 x 10, if you put them on a grid, every 150 miles. Now of course you would put them on the main roads, but its amazing that 200 SC's would pretty much cover the US. We are half way there already.

    This is quite do-able. Elon will do it. Brilliant!

    Sin Gas

    I understood the math, however, I want to come back to the market: I think no customer cares about the "number of cells" etc. - that's a matter of technology.

    I think that Tesla M3 will focus on price, while MS will focus on performance. It both can be achieved with the same battery, fine - if not, the focus on M3 will be on cost/price reduction, while the focus on MS will be on performance improvement. The price of the MS is already fixed at 80k€ (so, more "value" is needed) while the price of the M3 is still open (the cheaper the better)…

    "enough" - you are, of course, completely right, there is no exact figure for that - but, again, there is a market: not many people (I suppose) are driving longer the a 700km trip), however, there are some that drive Germany-Spain (2000km "non-stop" (only short refills) - but that's not a real market. The question, maybe, is rather: what's "enough" for the market segment to be addressed?

    nice math, but just imagine: in Germany, there are 14.000 gas stations (with 5-10min refill time) - so it's not always just a questions of math but also of "convenience" (what is a soft factor, I agree)

    @Sin_Gas | JULY 17, 2014:

    "... its amazing that 200 SC's would pretty much cover the US. We are half way there already."

    Yes. That's about right for phase 1.
    After phase 1, Tesla will need to deploy far more SCs to satisfy a growing 'demand' for Tesla drivers charging at SCs. The following table gives my preliminary estimate of the numbers of SCs (with 8 stalls each) for the next few years:

    Year # SCs
    2015 261
    2016 511
    2017 928
    2018 1761
    2019 2803
    2020 4053

    These are very preliminary numbers based on estimated usage per Tesla car for all Tesla markets combined. The numbers could be reduced by selectively deploying some SCs with more than 8 stalls. These numbers are estimated to yield average waiting times of 3.3 minutes for an available stall with 78% chance of a user not needing to wait during peak holiday periods.

    I'd be surprised if these estimates prove to be accurate. However, I believe they depict the scale of growth in the SC system that will be needed after the initial deployment effectively supports most users' road trips.

    Ron :)

    My analysis indicates that Tesla should be able to pay for such numbers of SCs as long as their aggressive growth in sales is achieved.


    14,000 gas stations in Germany, got me thinking about USA. Googled it and we have 121,446 gas stations in the US. Using the same math as above, this is one station every 6 miles. Of course, on some street corners here you see 3 gas stations and on the 4th corner is either a MacDonalds, BurgerKing, Dunkin Donuts or Taco Bell.

    If I do similar math on Germany, its 138,000 square miles, so like 371 miles on a side. With 14,000 stations, that works out to a gas station every 3 miles. Of course this is stations, and does not count pumps.

    @ Grinnin' I completely agree. The Demand/Growth will push the number of SC stations higher. If we have 500,000 Teslas on the road, 200 SC's is not going to do it.

    The important thing, and I am an Astronomer, and we kid that if you have the decimal in the right place, that's pretty good, these numbers are tractable.


    As has been mentioned in another thread: To bring costs down to the target 35000 or preferably even lower, Tesla needs to oull all stops: smaller car, less expensive cells, smaller battery and higher energy density to achieve elons range goals. Therfore i do not believe that the mentioned 200 mile real word max or epa minimum is realistic. thus tesla 3 will have as the standard configuration at most a 60 kwh battery but maybe lower.

    Sry i meant to say i do believe elons 200 mile range number is no understatement. Either real or epa but no understatement of generation 3 range.

    German_Tesla_Fan wrote, "I understood the math, however, I want to come back to the market: I think no customer cares about the 'number of cells' etc. - that's a matter of technology."

    Again? Seriously? Why is it that you refuse to allow me to prove my position?

    The single biggest strike against electric vehicles has always been their price. What could possibly be of more concern to potential Customers? I'm attempting to mitigate those concerns by showing how prices will be reduced, while offering better BEVs at a certain price point for the market to consider.

    People all over the internet are allowed every single day to state they don't 'believe' electric cars are viable. They have said for decades that it 'can't be done'. They repeatedly claim that they 'just can't see' how Tesla Motors can make an affordable mass market vehicle.

    NONE if the Naysayers is ever required to prove it can't happen. All they ever do is point at the past failures if companies that are larger than Tesla as evidence. Nothing more.

    Well, Buddy... I DO SEE how this can be done, and I KNOW that electric cars are viable.

    The price of the batteries will come down. I explained why above. Yes, that requires mathematics, because prices are formed by numbers that refer to quantities.

    What would you prefer, if I can't use math? What shall I use as evidence, if past progress is not an indicator of future advances? Harsh language, perhaps?

    hoops, sorry, I did not want to disturb you. My point was: the thread here should be more about market than about technology. I just want to avoid that we go into a technology debate again (and I'm not an expert in physics).

    So, to come back to your arguments: you expect a battery (whether cells or pack) can be reduced by a factor of 2 in weight and a factor of 2 in price. I just want to mention, that this is a factor of 2x2=4. I usually assume that an improvement in one dimension may lead to a compromise in another one. So, improvement in weight (leading to a lighter car) has eventually be compensated by a more expensive "battery technology" (or higher production cost (more difficult to produce (in mass)))

    You assume/predict advances in both, weight AND price. Fine (no matter what technology you use, that may be a discussion between physicists :-)). For me, 2 points are of interest: will this, in your opinion, only reduce the cost of M3 or improve it's performance or both?

    I'm still curious about how reach the magic factor of 2: an M3 for 40k€. Given the "production cost" of today's MS, where do you see the main reduction potential? Given the battery reduction of 2, by what factor does this reduce the car's price?


    From a "naysayer": no, YOU have to prove. "experience" shows, the an engineering/production advancement of factor 2 is hard to realize in 5 years. If there will be a break-through in technology, fine…


    Coming back to my main arguments:
    1) progress in M3 will go towards cheaper production (so, a better battery will be a cheaper one, but still providing the same capacity (e.g. 60kWh)) while performance will be below today's MS

    2) progress in MS will go towards higher performance (a better battery will have higher performance (e.g. 135kWh)

    I did not want to compare gas-stations in the US and in Germany, but only SC with gas stations - and I did not had the US-numbers at hand:

    my statement was: the gas-station market in Germany is saturated (the number of stations is almost constant in the last 5 years)

    given 100k gas-stations in the US (and also assumed that the market is saturated), so: one station every 10miles is "convenient"). In your post, you did a calculation of 150miles per SC (a factor of 15) - I doubt whether this is "convenient"…: half the number of stations would still be "enough" to cover the whole country, twice the number would still be "technological feasible" but, obviously, 15miles delivers the "optimal convenience)

    That's one kind of math/convenience. The other problem is: 150 miles (given a 300miles range), that the battery is 50%full - that means that you need every station - if you miss one, you are in real trouble.

    There are about 1.000 "natural gasoline" stations in Germany and that, still is perceived as "in-convenient" (given your "ideal grid", it is around 12km distance per station - not so bad…)
    . And, refill takes also 3-5min (only filling, not the whole station-stop), means: comparable to diesel/super.

    @german tesla fan.

    Just to be clear: a 50% to 60% reduction means that drastic range improvements on top of that will not be possible. Instead a smaller battery for a smaller car will translate into a similar range or less. Thats why the stated goal is 200 miles and not 300 miles.

    50-60% reduction in price i mean

    It all really goes to what I have said before. This is not a change in physics. Each individual battery cell used today will weigh the same as they would have ten years ago, fifteen years ago, twenty years ago. However, the cells store more energy today than they used to. The cells will store more energy in the future as well.

    I do not actually understand your term, 'The Market'. Please explain that, so that I may participate in this conversation. It seems that another set of 'rules' has been instituted while I wasn't looking...

    What now, are the current 'Rules of Engagement'...? Shall we all simply surrender, and presume that you are correct on all points? Is there no hope to present a counter-argument that would satisfy your parameters? Or is the entire exercise futile?

    I don't mind losing a competition, I do mind being told I am not allowed to win.

    Tesla News:

    latest Tesla News:


    • 20% smaller than MS
    • challenging BMW3, Audi4
    • price: 35k €
    • range: 200miles, performance "below" MS

    Other interesting news:

    • battery upgrade: doubling the range to 600miles

    thanks, exactly what I tried to say - no free lunch…

    "Using this set of calculations, an 85 kWh battery pack would be reduced by 58% in cost by 2017, and reduced in weight by 40%. Those numbers exceed both the 50% reduction in cost, and the 20% reduction in weight that is presumed to be necessary for mass market adoption of electric vehicles to begin" red sage

    So you presume that by 2017 the technology will be superior to gasoline vehicles? Thanks for the giggles. And no with such absurd statments you cant "win".

    So you are saying that the price point will be achieved (58 percent reduction in cost) AND that energy density increases almost twofold (reduction in weight by 40 percent is an 80 percent improvement in energy density)

    So price would easily be 35000 dollars.
    Range would be 490 -520 epa rated miles (less air resistance, reduced weight same battery pack)
    And all of that in three years.

    Meanwhile elon says the goal is at least 200 miles. I think elons nu,ber is more accurate. Sry red sage you lost.


    1. physics: obviously, you understand a lot more about battery technology than I do. So I can (and will) not disagree here

    2. "Market": what I mean is "what are consumers are willing to pay for (and, herewith, to buy a car": I believe that for consumers, the "overall performance" (no only speed!) is important, not the technology: IF M3 delivers 250miles range at a price of 35k€ - it's fine, no matter whether the price comes from battery or production cost and wherever the range comes from. So I do not disagree at all, I just want come back to the focus of the OP: the question is: what will be the "overall impact" of your predicted new battery technology? Will it reduce the overall price to 40k€, will it allow to produce a car with a BMW-like handling (the actual MS is 2,2tons), how much would it, at the end, influence the range,…

    At the end: imagine I go to a Tesla shop in 2020: I (personally) would not be interested in knowing the M3 has 4000 battery cells (whereas this may be impressive) - as a customer, I'm primarily interested in price, range, performance,… (so, in the "what", and not in the "how")

    The only point I fully agree is there is currently no "PS"-debate in EVs: of course it is always a good argument: "my BMW has 320PS and your Audi has only 315PS" and, on that basis, maybe the EV-junkies in 2020 discuss: my Tesla has 4000 cells and your BMWi has 4100, but I leave this open for the future :-))

    50-60 % percent cost reduction will be after you took advantage of gigafactory cost reductions and energy density gains as well as the reduction of the size of the car built with cheaper materials.

    I think your energy density are a tad optimistic. 80 percent improvement by 2016 is that going to happen???

    In your scenario smaller car ,40 percent lighter battery and less air resistance= very significant improvement in range

    Plus cost improvement per battery cell and fewer off them (40 percent reduction in weight)= 35000 car easy....

    So we can expect by 2017 a car with a range of 400 real world miles minimum at 35000 dollars

    Dont you think that somewhere your assumptions are too optmistic

    If elon is aiming for a 200 something mile car....

    Maybe its the energy density gain.....

    I need a bit more information on 'the rules' here...

    1) Is this Market to be viewed from the buyers' perspective, or the manufacturer's point of view?

    2) Who is to participate within this Market?

    3) Are we speaking only of EVs, or instead, their relative growth/importance to the entire automotive marketplace?

    4) Please give a full example of the 'what' you predict will be available in 2020, so that I may agree, or offer a properly formed alternative suggestion.

    "So you presume that by 2017 the technology will be superior to gasoline vehicles?"

    BEV tech has been superior to ICE age vehicles for couple of years already. HTH.

    BEV tech has been superior to ICE age vehicles for couple of years already. HTH.

    Apparently the vast majority of buyers disagrees.

    @German_Tesla_Fan, @Sin_Gas

    How many electrical outlets there are in Germany? How many in the US?

    You cannot fill gasoline at home, therefore the need for a large number of gas stations.

    You can charge a Tesla (or any EV) at home. Or at the parking lot. Or on the curbside parking. Even for city dwellers, it is very easy to install charging equipment at the buildings.

    .ipod, vast majority of buyers agree, problem is that they can't get Tesla yet.

    The trouble with a supercharger network density based on 100 miles, could be illustrated by a city dweller with no garage or driveway, and no place to home charge, 50 miles from the nearest SC. They will have to drive 100 miles to go, get charged and back home. So a 200 mile range gets cut in half, not to mention the 2 1/2 hours to get a fill up.

    On the highways, they need to be spaced so on every highway, every X miles is a supercharger. I chose around 60 miles and calculated about 600 superchargers. Calculating a good charger density based on sqr miles won't yield a reality based user convenient density.

    You can't calculate it as the crow flies. Drivers use highways, and the chargers need to be on the highway you are driving on, so you can choose a route depending on where you want to go, not according to where is the charger. On a highway, if you have a fixed route, you can loose time and range going off course just to fuel up. So the density of the highways is what should drive the charging point density.

    So to my mind, the number of chargers needed on the highway systems is the number of miles of serviced highways divided by the desired distance between chargers. I'd vote for every 50 miles. What the heck, we need more jobs anyway.

    Just saying.


    1) Is this Market to be viewed from the buyers' perspective, or the manufacturer's point of view?

    Surprised about that: market is, in my understanding, "the balance between supply and demand" - that's also why market is a bit uncertain - who is demanding what?

    2) Who is to participate within this Market?

    as above, both the providers as well as the customers (of course). If the suppliers are happy with the profit AND the customers are happy with the offers, everything is fine. In this thread, I have specifically Tesla in mind: if Tesla is fine with 10.000 cars/year, so I'm I, if Tesla wants to sell 100.000 cars/year, also fine for me. I (and that's my personal, individual opinion), would by a M3 for 40k€, 500km (realistic) range, and a top speed of 200km/h. However, if 100.000 people buy a Tesla for completely different conditions, I also don't bother…

    3) Are we speaking only of EVs, or instead, their relative growth/importance to the entire automotive marketplace?

    good point, that comes back to the OP: I personally see Tesla as an or better "THE" EV-company and, therefore, I think Tesla should focus on the EV-market (one of my statements in the OP). However, if you want to broader this to the whole car-market, feel free. The only fear I have is, that this broadens this thread again (as it did with others…) too many fans, too many naysayers

    4) Please give a full example of the 'what' you predict will be available in 2020, so that I may agree, or offer a properly formed alternative suggestion.

    I have listed the "whats" in the OP (hopefully detailed enough). Just to repeat it quickly:

    • a M3 with half the price of the MS-60 (40k€) and a bit lower performance (>= 200miles). A expect a second 85kWh package for 10k€
    • MS-60 will disappear and MS-135 will come (20k€+). Performance will be higher, with focus on range
    • same for MX

    All these expectations are within the magic 2 or 1.4 (sqrt(2)) range. And there is nothing said about technology (it's just a prediction WHAT Tesla will offer and not HOW the will reach it).

    My conclusion is: I believe that if Tesla can offer this performance figures, it still will be the leader in EV-cars (and, if people change to EVs, they will buy Tesla).

    So it's both: a prediction of what can be delivered (from a "provider" point of view and a conclusion, what Tesla 2020 will be (from a "customer" point of view)

    I am "primarily" interested in "practical" estimations, that's what I call "market". E.g. do you expect M3 will have superior performance that today's MS or the focus will be on price only? If you can prove your numbers by theory, of course that's very welcome…

    I don't see the model 3 being a "performance" vehicle. I am sure it will have more performance than ICEV's in its class, but affordability and range are sure to be the critical hallmarks for it's adoption success. I do see Tesla as the leader in the EV market and the competition as the ICE.

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