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Tesla planning 3-Series rival for 2015

Tesla is planning a BMW 3-Series competitor according to the EV maker's chief designer.

Tesla is planning a BMW 3-Series rival according to its chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen.

Speaking to UK's Autocar, von Holzhausen said that Telsa is planning to have its 3-Series rival on the road as soon as 2015. The new EV would be more adventurously styled with the company targeting a $30,000 price to keep it competitive.

"The third model will continue to drive down the price point as fast as possible," said von Holzhausen. "We will become more experimental as we develop as a brand," he added. "Our cars need to have some personality."

The company also plans a successor to the Roadster with both the 3-series challenger and the next Roadster to be built on a shorter platform. Whether the shortened chassis will be an all-new design or a shorter version of the Model S platform is unknown at this time. If Tesla does proceed with a shorter chassis for the sedan has led to speculation that this could result in a shortened driving range as there would be less space to accommodate a large battery.

However, with a smaller battery, the potential trade-off in mileage could well be a sharper sticker price. In April, we reported that EV battery prices are set to slide with the average price of lithium ion batteries falling in price by 14 percent in 2011 thanks to the increased EV manufacturing activity in the past two years. By the end of next year, the price carmakers pay for EV batteries is set to fall again.

This is good news for EV makers like Tesla, and for consumers who are prepared to switch to alternative powertrains. With the Model S beginning deliveries to customers last month, Tesla is gearing up for its next vehicle, the Model S-based Model X SUV. von Holzhausen also indicated that a pick-up could be a possibility thanks to the flexibility of the Model S platform.

"There are lots of ways in which we can exploit the platform," said Von Holzhausen. "There will be a time and place for us to develop something around a pick-up. That's a market for which the torque of an electric motor would be ideally suited."