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Will the success of Tesla’s Model S speed along a $35k model with a 200-mile range?

Things are looking pretty darn good for Tesla Motors. The Model S is arguable the most exciting car on the market right now, although the all-electric 2014 BMW i3 is certainly jockeying for a place on people’s lips. How will Elon Musk and company respond?

We’re hoping Tesla’s recent critical and financial success bodes well for the long-rumored, $35,000 Model – let’s call it the Model A  for “affordable” – so much so that it’ll be seeing the light of day soon. And before we forget, that $35,000 price tag is said to be before state and federal incentives, which at this time can knock ten grand or so off the price in some states once tax credits and rebates are tallied up.

Just how well is Tesla doing? The electric vehicle manufacturer recently announced to investors that it sold 5,150 Model S electric vehicles in North America last quarter, placing the award-winning EV’s sales numbers among the best in the electric vehicle segment, right alongside the plug-in Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf.

Those figures might not sound like much, but it’s a considerable accomplishment for Tesla once you factor in the substantial price gap between the Model S and the “competition.”

Even in its cheapest guise, the Model S will set you back a cool $70,000, an amount that can easily skyrocket north of $100,000, bringing it more in line with full size luxury sedans from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.

In fact, recent reports show that Tesla has managed to snare eight percent of the U.S. luxury market, outpacing industry powerhouses like the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, and the Mercedes S Class.

Nevertheless, the EV market remains in a state of infancy and the prospect of a mass-market car is far more exciting than Tesla outdoing its luxury rivals. A cheaper model with substantial range could very well serve as a catalyst for rapid and continued EV growth, especially when 200 miles on a single charge is the figure being touted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

At this point, any talk of an affordable Tesla model is just that – talk. Tesla nor the typically chatty Elon Musk have provided any concrete information regarding the car. Of course, that doesn’t deter us from speculating all the same and while we’re happy with rumored range and price of the Model A, we hope we won’t see too much of a drop off when it comes to cabin tech and overall style. Heck, even a smaller sporty hatchback would be awesome in our book.

Of course we can speculate all we want, but it might be some time before anything actually happens, as Tesla’s resources are being utilized on a number of different fronts.

Model S deliveries recently began in Europe, with the first lucky countries being Switzerland,  Norway, and the Netherlands, where demand is predicted to equal that of the U.S., according to Musk.

Tesla is also focusing heavily on Asian markets, with both a right-hand drive Japanese and Chinese model in the works. While this is great news for investors and Tesla’s financial health, company resources are being allocated heavily here. In China, for example, the Model S’ rear cabin is being tweaked and upgraded in order to accommodate for Chinese  owners who are often driven around.

And let’s not forget the Model X crossover. Production for Tesla’s brand-new model is slated to kick into full gear at the end of the year, with deliveries projected to take place by the end of 2014. A new Roadster sports car featuring a clean-sheet design along the lines of the Model S wheels + battery design may also be in the wings, but that is also more rumor than educated guess. And then there’s talk of an AWD version of the Model S. But an “economy” model has been kicking around the rumor mill for some time now. We hope it’s not called the “Vapor.”

EV enthusiasts will no doubt continue to look on with envy at Model S owners, but if things continue to go well for Tesla, and despite its numerous distractions, those of us priced out of the automaker’s high end EV can take solace in the fact knowing that our time will eventually come.

Lots of speculation here, so feel free to join in. What do you want to see come next from Tesla? Let us know in comments.

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