Tesla Motors is enjoying new freedom after having repaid the Department of Energy.

What’s next for the small electric car maker? Without government operational covenants in place, CEO Elon Musk is in a newly liberated position. That could mean selling the company, although the 41-year-old executive seems unlikely to do that in any time soon.

Earlier this month, Musk said that he doesn’t anticipate stepping away from the company for “several years,” although he admitted that an acquisition is one of the possible outcomes for Tesla. Despite that, he doesn’t see an automaker buying the brand because it seems too expensive. Instead, he said it would have to be someone from outside the auto industry.

More immediately, he is looking at offering a lower cost car to target a broader market.

“With the Model S, you have a compelling car that’s too expensive for most people,” he said. “And you have the Leaf, which is cheap, but it’s not great. What the world really needs is a great, affordable electric car. I’m not going to let anything go, no matter what people offer, until I complete that mission.”

Musk said in an interview with Bloomberg West that the car will offer abou 200 miles of range and will be priced below $40,000, set to reach consumers in “three to four years.”

But news of future products from the maker has been fragmented at best. Updates on the Model X electric crossover have been hushed — reports earlier this year suggest the car will be delayed until 2014. Instead, recent news emerging from the company has centered on the brand repaying its government loans and announcements about the Model S.

[Source: The Detroit News]

Discuss this story at Tesla-Forums.com

By Luke Vandezande