We can never go long without having Tesla in the news. Whether it’s car fires or amazing technical achievements, Tesla and its Bond villain CEO Elon Musk seem to attract the spotlight. This time that spotlight is well deserved, as Musk announced that Tesla’s mass-market $35,000 car is going into production in three years.
The announcement came in an interview Musk held with CNN Money. In it, Musk stated that a car with a mass market appeal and a mass market price is “the car we have always wanted to make.” But apparently getting a car like that to Tesla’s dealers is going to take some time.
That’s unsurprising when you consider the difficulty that more established automakers like Nissan and Chevy have had selling their own mass market EVs: the LEAF and the Volt.
Unfortunately, Tesla has had its own share of problems recently. The interview came in the wake of Tesla’s recall of 29,000 potentially overheating chargers. One Tesla home charging station was linked to a fire that occurred in a California customer’s garage.
When the fire occurred Tesla reported that it did not believe that the charging station was responsible, instead blaming the garage wiring. The local fire department disagreed, blaming the charger. Since then, Tesla released a software update for its chargers that is supposed to compensate for problems with wiring.
Tesla still denies that its charging station caused the fire. But as Musk explained “I call it a belt and suspenders approach, so even though we feel very confident about the software update, the adapter is something that provides additional surety. We just want people to have absolute peace of mind”
It might not just be Tesla customers whose ‘peace of mind’ Musk is worried about. After the NHTSA announced that it would be investigating the Tesla fires, investors in the company pulled back. For a company whose market cap exceeds its earnings by more than one hundred times, that is no small matter.
Still, despite the hiccups, Tesla is moving forward. Along with the $35,000 mass market sedan, Tesla is releasing the Model X SUV by the end of this year, and has discussed producing a pickup truck to compete with the Ford F-150 within five years.
If Tesla’s mission is to become an established automaker capable of competing with the big boys and girls, then maybe it should just view this recall as a rite of passage in becoming the real deal.