Tesla Names Its Upcoming Smaller Sedan: Model III
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk revealed yesterday that its upcoming smaller sedan will use Model III as its name—spoken as “Model Three.” It was previously referred to as “Gen 3,” and previously rumored to be called “Model E.” Musk revealed the name in an interview with AutoExpress, a U.K. publication.
AutoExpress reported that the new model—designed to compete against BMW’s 3-series (and other cars in that class)—is expected to go on sale in 2017. The Model III will use a new platform designed by Tesla’s British engineering chief Chris Porritt, who formerly worked with Aston Martin.
Design images were not provided, but a few other new details were confirmed about the Tesla Model III:
- It’s going to be about 20 percent smaller than the Model S
- The price will be around $35,000 (not sure if this is before or after federal incentives, or how much premium versions of the car would cost)
- The target for realistic driving range will be more than 200 miles
The combination of these three factors suggest that the new model’s battery pack will be at least 50 kilowatt-hours. Producing a pack of that size, and offering the final product around $35,000, will require the company to keep battery costs in check. Tesla is planning to produce batteries for the Model III (and its other models) at a large scale in the company’s upcoming Gigafactory. A decision on the location of the new factory is expected soon—with sites in Nevada, Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas all being considered.
The Tesla Model III is expected to come with free use of Tesla’s Supercharger network. The proprietary quick charging network currently accommodates Model S cars that have bigger battery packs and therefore longer range than what is anticipated for the Model III. By 2017, Tesla will have expanded the Supercharger network to provide quick charging for realistic coast-to-coast road trips.
While 200 miles is the range bogey for the Model III, Musk is setting his sights higher for two-seat Tesla Roadsters currently on the road. He said that Tesla plans to offer battery pack upgrades for the Roadster—to push range from the current 245 miles to about 400 miles on a full charge.
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