Tesla could make a mass-market electric car costing $US25,000 within three years, says its boss Elon Musk.

Mr Musk made the comments in an interview with popular YouTube personality Marques Brownlee published over the weekend (see below).

Mr Musk was asked if there was room at Tesla for an even less expensive, quality electric car experience.

“Yeah, absolutely,” he answered.

“I think in order for us to get up to … a $25,000 car, that’s something we can do,” he said. “If we work really hard, I think maybe we can do that in three years.”

Any expansion of the electric car market would be good news for ASX-listed producers of metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite and copper which are needed for electric car components, batteries and infrastructure.

Design and technology improvements were key to making electric cars cheaper — but scale of production played an important role as well.

Mr Musk compared cars to the development of mobile phones, noting that “no amount of money, no amount of scale could have made” early mobiles affordable without technology improvements, but with each successive model the phones became “better and cheaper”.

Tesla’s smaller production scale made it difficult to compete with rivals, such as General Motors and Ford, Mr Musk said.

‘More affordable’

“We’re really focused on trying to make the cars more affordable, which is really tough,” he said.

“In order to make the cars affordable you really need high volume. So you need economies of scale.

“And because the other car companies make a lot more cars than we do, they have got way better economies of scale.

“So as we’re gradually able to build up and do more cars, higher volume, then we can … make the cars available to a wide range of people.”

‘Super competitive’

Musk at one point paused and conceded the difficulty of working in the auto industry.

“The car industry is super competitive,” he said. “It’s like one of the…it’s like insanely competitive.”

This is not the first revealing interview Musk has been featured in the past week.

On Friday, the New York Times published an interview where Mr Musk admitted, “this past year has been the most painful of my career,” and choked up multiple times while discussing personal and professional pressures.

Mr Musk set off a major controversy on August 7 when he tweeted he was considering taking Telsa private at $US420 a share and that he had “funding secured.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened up an investigation and both Musk and Tesla’s board of directors have received SEC subpoenas.

In his YouTube interview Mr Musk appeared more at ease, joking, laughing, and telling anecdotes.

“I actually even pay full retail price for my cars,” he admitted.

As of Monday morning, the video had already garnered 3.3 million views.


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