While Tesla Motors is currently focussed on selling its electric drive Roadster and developing the Model S luxury sedan, it is also looking ahead to successor higher volume models and helping the electric vehicle segment develop further via the licensing of its technology.

The Model S luxury sedan is planned for 2011 launch and will retail at around USD50,000 which is less than half the price of its Roadster.

The Model S will be built on a flexible platform that the firm hopes will support several body derivatives and production capacity is planned at 20,000 per annum, with a further 10,000 units of capacity 'if needed'.

Speaking at an industry conference hosted by SupplierBusiness, Tesla's VP for Business Development Diarmuid O'Connell said that the search for an assembly site for the Model S in southern California was 'in the final stages'.

He also told delegates that Tesla Motors is working on a higher volume model  - identified as 'Model X' - for launch in 2013.

"We want that product to have a USD30,000 retail and build up to volume of 100,000 units or more [per annum] over a five-year time-frame," he said.

He also said that the firm wants to encourage the development of the electric car segment generally and is very open to working with partners and licensing its powertrain technology.

Tesla is jointly developing an electric version of the Smart car with Daimler. The first of an initial test fleet of 1,000 electric Smart cars are expected to be on the road in late 2009.

O'Connell also told the conference that Tesla has so far sold 1,200 Roadsters and delivered 700.

Dave Leggett