The three new models—including a convertible, minivan, and an SUV—are expected to be based on the Model S platform. As Tesla explains, the chassis and powertrain is common, with the vehicles differentiated by the body. The company revealed these additional models as part of its road show to drum up investment interest.
The Model S is an electric midsized luxury model that will compete with the Audi A6 and the BMW 5 Series. It has a well-concealed hatchback design and claims a seven-passenger capacity. The Model S is due to reach the market in 2012.
Beyond the three new models, Tesla has said it plans to develop a new smaller platform for an entry-level luxury car by 2015.
The company also announced that the lithium-ion battery packs in the Model S will be liquid-cooled, a significant advance from the air-cooled batteries in the Tesla Roadster. In addition, the Tesla S has the capability of hot swapping (quickly replacing) its battery pack as envisioned by the Better Place startup.
The Model S, its derivatives, and the expected smaller model will be produced at a factory Tesla recently acquired from Toyota in Fremont, Calif. That plant was a joint venture between Toyota and GM and produced the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Tacoma.Related:
Toyota partners with Tesla Motors on EV development, production
Driving the Tesla Roadster: Soothing your conscience
Tesla Model S sees daylight in New York