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Tesla’s Model III Will Be Its Most Affordable Car Yet

by Brandon Russell | July 16, 2014July 16, 2014 7:30 am PST


After announcing intentions to release its Model X to customers by Q2 2015, Tesla CEO Elon Musk this week officially unveiled the company’s roadmap through the next few years. In an interview with AutoExpress, Musk confirmed a trove of details surrounding Tesla’s rumored Model E. Well, not rumored anymore.

Tesla’s more affordable mid-size sedan will be known as the Model III when it makes its debut in 2016, with sales expected to begin in 2017. Musk confirmed that the price could be down in the $35,000 range, putting it in direct competition with BMW’s 3 Series; Tesla will be able to make a more affordable consumer vehicle due to cheaper battery technology, thanks in large part to the company’s forthcoming Gigafactory.

The cheaper battery, meanwhile, should get a realistic performance of just over 200 miles. As with existing Model S owners, and future Model X owners, the Model III will be able to use Tesla’s Supercharger network.

Although Musk shared some of the car’s most basic details, he didn’t share what the Model III might look like. Rumors have suggested the car could be around 20-percent smaller than the Model S, and will likely use cheaper materials to bring cost down. (If that happens, hopefully Tesla will still be able retain the Model S’s industry-leading safety ratings.) Tesla VP of engineering Chris Porritt recently revealed that there will be very little carry-over between the Model S and Model III.

Musk also told AutoExpress that Roadster customers will be able to upgrade to a new generation battery pack, which should get them a range of about 400 miles; the existing battery is capable of pushing about 245 miles, give or take.

In a more candid moment, Musk revealed why Tesla decided not to go with the Model E name. Think about it; the answer is obvious.

“We were going to call it Model E for a while and then Ford sued us saying it wanted to use the Model E—I thought this is crazy, Ford’s trying to kill sex! So we’ll have to think of another name.” Musk went on to add, “The new model is going to be called Model 3, we’ll have three bars to represent it and it’ll be S III X!”

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...