• Tesla Model E expected at 2015 Detroit Auto Show
  • Model E will be a more affordable Tesla, priced around $40,000
  • Tesla preparing to launch its Model X crossover next year 

Tesla Motors will roll out a more affordable electric car in early 2015, with sales expected to start sometime the following year. That's the latest from the California-based electric vehicle manufacturer, currently known for the popular -- and pricey -- Model S electric sedan. 

Expected to be called the Model E, the latest Tesla will likely make its debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. While that may sound like a long way away, the Detroit show is typically held in the first few weeks of the year -- so we may see Tesla's newest model in just over a year. 

Obviously, that's big news for shoppers interested in going electric for their next car. But bigger news still is the fact that the Model E will likely cost far less than Tesla's current offering, the luxurious Model S sedan. While Tesla hasn't officially announced pricing, many sources suggest the car will be in the mid-$40,000 range -- not much more than currently available electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus Electric and the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt.

By entering a more affordable segment, Tesla could earn huge sales from EV-hungry shoppers. Sales of the brand's Model S sedan have already taken off, despite a relatively high base price of around $71,000. In some markets, Model S sales rival those of established luxury cars such as the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series

Tesla has not yet revealed any other finalized details about the upcoming Model E -- and probably with good reason. The reason is that the automaker is focused on launching the Model X crossover, which was first revealed in early 2012. While sales are scheduled to start next fall, a final design has not yet been shown. Concept versions featured gull-wing doors for easy seat access -- an exciting item, but one that may not sit well with shoppers who have low garages. 

Keep checking back for more information, as we'll have more details about Tesla's upcoming Model E -- and the Model X crossover -- as we learn it. 

What it means to you: With its lower price, the new Tesla Model E could find big sales among shoppers eager to drive an electric vehicle.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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