In case you haven’t heard, Tesla just confirmed a story originally posted by AutoExpress in the UK that they will be indeed naming the vehicle that follows the Model X by the name Model 3. This is unfortunately a result of the fact that Ford blocked Tesla from naming their next car after the Model X by the name Model E. If that had happened, Tesla would have been able to sell a Line of Model S, Model E and Model X vehicles, also known as the SEX Models of cars when you combine all three letters of the different Tesla models.
The Model 3 still technically allows for that if you use ‘leet speak’ and type SEX out as S3X instead. The guys at AutoExpress had an extensive interview with Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk who gave a lot of details about the new Tesla model as well as the motivations behind the naming and who they were looking to compete against. After all, the new Model 3 will be targeted towards the $35,000 price range of vehicles which puts it squarely in the BMW 3 Series’ court, much like the Model S did with the 5 and 7 series.
In their interview with Elon Musk he said, “The new model is going to be called Model III, we’ll have three bars to represent it and it’ll be S III X!” However S3X looks a lot more like SEX than SIIIX and I think we can all agree that Elon Musk is smart enough to know this. The new Model III or Model 3 will be unveiled in 2016 and should be on sale by 2017 and will likely have an entirely new platform rather than a scaled-down version of what’s currently in the Model S and planned for the Model X. The new technology, according to AutoExpress, will be the brainchild of Tesla’s British engineering chief Chris Porritt, formerly of Aston Martin.
Musk also announced that Tesla was planning to setup an R&D facility in the UK and that it could be operational in time for involvement in the Model 3’s development. The Model 3 is also rumored to be 20% smaller than a Model S and will likely use batteries from Tesla’s planned Gigafactory which has yet to be built. The Gigafab still hasn’t been placed yet in terms of location but there’s a very short list. The new Tesla will also have a range of about 200 miles and still have good performance, like the Model S.
Tesla also announced plans to update the Tesla Roadster, the company’s first car, with a new battery pack that would extend its range from 245 miles to about 400 miles per charge, enabling a Los Angeles to San Francisco trip, non-stop. Personally, I fell in love with Tesla with the Roadster, so if that car can be had with a new battery pack and improved range, it may still be more attractive to many than the Model S, Model X or Model E. Also, they didn’t give many specifics but it appears that they will be offering this upgrade to existing owners of the roadster since they went out of production a few years ago.