Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company’s next generation of models would retail for as little as $35,000, or roughly half the price of existing models.
The company’s Chief Executive unveiled the expected price tag for future vehicles as well as the name of the new electric car, Tesla Model 3, in an interview with Auto Express.
There were rumours that a new smaller Tesla Gen III model would be dubbed as Model E, but in one of his recent interviews, Musk explained why the company was forced to rethink on the name.
“We had the model S for sedan and X for crossover SUV, then a friend asked what we were going to call the third car,” Musk told us. “So I said we had the model S and X, we might as well have the E.”
He went on, adding: “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. 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!”
The new vehicle is scheduled to hit stores by 2017. Experts predict that the new model will be based on an all-new platform rather than a cut-down version of the one underpinning the Model S and Model X. The new technology will be the brainchild of Tesla’s British engineering chief Chris Porritt, who used to work with Aston Martin.
“Musk announced on his recent trip to the UK that he planned to set up a research and development base over here and it could be up and running in time to feed into the Model 3 project,” Auto Express says.
“The new car is rumoured to be about 20% smaller than the Model S and our image shows how it could look. Key to the new model, which Musk said should retail for around $35,000 (likely to equate to around £30,000 in the UK), is cheaper battery technology made possible by Tesla’s forthcoming Gigafactory.”
This new factory will produce batteries for all company’s vehicles, plus customers (reportedly the list of clients includes Mercedes and Nissan) and a stationary storage programme to store energy from solar and wind farms.
A decision on the location of the new plant is imminent, with US states Nevada, Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas all in the running.
Tesla CEO confirmed to reporters that he expected the new model will feature a realistic range of over 200 miles with strong performance, like the Model S. “We want people to fall in love with their car and look forward to driving it,” he said.
Tesla’s very first car, the Roadster, was based on a lightweight Lotus Elise chassis and launched back in 2008. Its range of 245 miles is still pretty impressive, but Tesla boss Elon Musk is planning an upgrade for owners that will see that range increase to about 400 miles.
“The Roadster had an old generation battery,” Musk says. “We’ll upgrade it to a new generation battery pack and it should have a range of about 400 miles, which will allow you to drive from LA to San Francisco non-stop.”