Tesla is aiming to build sleeker, more affordable cars that can travel further on a single charge thanks to a breakthrough in new battery technology, CEO Elon Musk has said.
The development in the battery tech will arrive within the next three years, Musk said at a highly anticipated event.
However, the announcement on Tuesday (Sept 22) did not impress investors with shares slumping by six per cent in the wake of the news
Musk posted a series of tweets on Monday warning that Tesla’s new battery technology might not be ready for high-volume production until 2022.
He reiterated that timetable during Tuesday’s showcase and then added it might take up to three years before the battery technology translates into a new Tesla model.
The new battery tech could see the entry price for a Tesla model dropping to $25,000 (£19,750) – a marked decrease from the $35,000 (£27,650) Tesla currently charges for its Model 3.
‘We don’t have a truly affordable car and that is something we want in the future,’ said Musk.
Apart from lowering the price, the battery breakthrough would allow Tesla to build smaller, sleeker models and extend their range by 56 per cent.
That projection implies the Tesla cars using the new batteries will be able to travel 500 miles or more on a single charge.
Musk took the stage before a mostly online audience, although there was a small group of shareholders who won a lottery for the right to sit in Tesla vehicles parked in a lot near the company’s California factory.
‘It is a little hard to read the room with everyone in cars,’ Musk joked as he began his presentation for the battery announcement and speaking about the company’s trading performance .
But the shareholders in attendance frequently beeped their horns to provide a different form of applause as Musk rattled off Tesla’s accomplishments since the company held its last annual meeting 15 months ago.
Since then, Tesla has posted four consecutive quarters of profits to reverse a long history of losses, and has opened opening or begun work on three more factories in Shanghai, Berlin and Austin, Texas.
All that progress has caused Tesla’s stock price to soar by five-fold so far this year and boost the company’s market value to nearly $400bn (£316bn).