Tesla being what it is--a venture-funded startup battery-electric automaker in Silicon Valley--every utterance from its CEO Elon Musk becomes newsworthy.

So a generalized hint at future development of its main product, the 2012 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan, becomes fodder for news stories.

In this case, the brief mention came during Monday's earning call covering the third-quarter financial results of Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA].

As noted by AutoblogGreen, CEO Musk said, "There are a few other variants of the Model S that we'll come out with next year that I think are going to be pretty exciting."

He also then mentioned ongoing work on the company's next new vehicle, the 2014 Tesla Model X electric crossover, as well as the start of work on the third-generation car it hopes to launch later in the decade.

Frankly, we suspect that Musk may have been talking about an upcoming handling package for the Model S, already widely discussed as an option on the Performance model.

But speculation runs rampant around any Tesla news, so a few other possibilities might include:

  • An all-wheel drive version of the Model S, using the optional AWD being developed for the Model X
  • An even higher-capacity battery pack, to take the highest-range Model S above its current 265-mile EPA range estimate
  • Additional electronic features, some of which could be retroactively downloaded into existing Model S cars.

If we had to guess, we'd put our money on all-wheel drive.

It's become a necessity in the high-end luxury market, included on more than 80 percent of Mercedes-Benz S Class sedans ordered in snowy markets.

And Jaguar's addition of an all-wheel drive option to its XF mid-size and XJ full-size luxury sedans shows just how important it is.

To retrofit AWD into existing cars, much less those already two to four years into their model cycle, is no small task--but Jaguar says the sales gain will be well worth it.

So let's start the guessing games here: How much should Tesla charge for an AWD option on, say, the high-end 2014 Model S electric sport sedan?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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