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Elon Musk Announces Tesla Model 3: Half The Price Of Base Model S

Tesla Model S line0up

Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk has announced the name of the company’s much anticipated smaller, more affordable model; it’s going to be called the Model 3. Musk confirmed previous reports that it was originally going to be called the Model E, but “Ford sued us saying it wanted to use the Model E – I thought this is crazy, Ford’s trying to kill SEX!”; you see, Tesla’s 2 previous models are the Model S, and the upcoming Model X.

The Model 3 will start at $35,000, compared to around $70,000 for the base Model S (and upwards of $90,000 for the top configurations). The Model S is really a luxury model for wealthy early adopters of electric cars, with the high performance, luxury car price tag to match. However, as we’ve previously reported, Telsa’s goal from the beginning has always been to help accelerate the adoption of sustainable transport (even opening its tech patents), so a cheaper mass-market model was always on the cards.

At $35,000 the Model 3 still won’t be all that cheap, but it’s certainly a significant drop in price from the Model S. At the stated price, the new model will compete with the electric BMW i3. It’s certainly not in the lower price range of the Nissan Leaf, but that has a much lower battery range. Given the lower price than the Model S, the car will not have the same high performance, but still holds the promise of “strong performance”. No doubt Tesla will attempt to exceed expectations (for the price) in that regard, given the amount of scrutiny this model will again be exposed to. Musk told Auto Express that, “We want people to fall in love with their car and look forward to driving it.” 

The Model 3 will be about 20% smaller than the Model S, and will have a range of around 200 miles (322 km), compared to 300 miles (483 km) for the 85 KWh version of the Model S. According to Tesla, much of the drop in price will come from using more cost-effective batteries. With that in mind, Tesla is planning to build a lithium-ion “Gigafactory” to be able to produce lithium-ion batteries at the scale and price needed to supply hundreds of thousands of affordable electric cars per year.

There are no images of the Model 3 design available yet. All going well, the design of the Model 3 will be revealed in 2016, and sales will begin in 2017. At that price, will it be an electric car you might consider buying?

Image: Tesla Motors, Model S line-up
Via Auto Express

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Allan Theobald

    Another article that is pure speculation. The proposed battery doesn’t exist yet and Tesla hasn’t even broken ground on the factory. Another lie is the 300 mile ranges for the model S when 225 miles is about the true effective day to day range. Real reporters would ask serious questions and not just repeat company news releases. At 35k the ranges is much more likely to be 125 miles.

  • Anonymous

    Every American tax-payer is subsidizing $90,000 cars sold buy a billionaire and the average Telsa S buyer owns 3 cars. Good thing we have the Democrats looking out for the “little guy.”

  • little guy

    The oil companies are also heavily subsized via tax loopholes and tax giveaways. so bad comparison.

  • Ad van der Meer

    Blame the EPA for an unrealistic energy consumption cycle. The new EPA-5 cycle puts the 85 kWh model on 265 mi range FYI.
    225 mi maybe realistic if you don’t charge the car in “range mode” which will add about 10% to your range.
    You remarks would be fair if you made the same remarks with other brands, must of which are on the wrong side of the EPA numbers.

  • http://www.the9billion.com/ John Johnston

    New technology always requires early adopters to get things rolling. It’s a well trodden path to mainstream adoption. First the roadster, then the Model S, Model X, then the mass market model. And don’t forget there’s a huge barrier to entry in the auto industry. Only a billionaire can be a new entrant at this point, and the incumbents were not even looking like introducing electric cars.

  • http://www.the9billion.com/ John Johnston

    Tesla has stuck pretty much to their stated plans so far, in all of their roll-outs. including ramping up to selling 20,000+ Model S cars in a year. I’d definitely call them out if they hadn’t. No reason to believe this timeline won’t happen. I’ll definitely call them out if things go awry.

  • Allan Theobald

    Maybe maybe not. The point is that the battery being discussed doesn’t yet exist. It is not a moot point because without a much lower priced battery the model E will either cost much more or have a limited range. The press should be skeptical and be asking when the plant will break ground and who will be the partners rather than just repeating Musk’s statements as facts.