Tesla confirmed yesterday on Twitter that its new, smaller all-electric sedan will be called the Model 3 when it debuts sometime after the Tesla Model X crossover. The Model 3 sets its sights on another 3-branded vehicle, the BMW 3 Series, and will undercut the price of the Model S luxury sedan (pictured) in an attempt to boost sales.
We previously thought this lower-cost Tesla sedan would be called the Model E, but after the company abandoned that trademark, all bets were off in terms of the nomenclature of this 3 Series-fighter. This week, when British publication Auto Express came out with a report saying that the new sedan would be called the Tesla Model 3, Tesla confirmed that this was true on Twitter, although it did not provide any additional information about the car.
We do know that the Tesla Model 3 will use a new generation of the company’s electric drivetrain, which will reportedly provide a “realistic” range of over 200 miles. Its lower cost—reported to be competitive with cars like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4—will be partly enabled by the new Tesla Gigafactory that will be breaking ground somewhere in the western U.S. later this year, making the costly battery packs less expensive. According to the Auto Express report, the Tesla Roadster is also slated to receive a new-generation battery pack sometime soon, which would increase range to around 400 miles. The Lotus-based Roadster hasn't been sold for several years.
Although it will ride on a new platform rather than a downsized version of the Model S/Model X platform, we expect the Tesla Model 3 to look similar to the Model S inside and out, with clean exterior lines and a modern interior with a large tablet-like screen as the focal point of the dashboard.
At this point, all Tesla says about the launch date of the Model 3 is that it will come out after the Tesla Model X crossover. That car is due out sometime in 2015, so we would expect to see a concept version of the Tesla Model 3 by the end of next year at the latest. That means that the production Model 3 will most likely launch in early 2016.
Stay tuned over the coming months as we learn more about what’s in store for the upcoming Tesla Model 3.