Tesla Motors 'popup store' to display electric cars, Santa Barbara, CA, May 2015Enlarge Photo
With Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] having missed some promised deadlines for the launch of its Model X SUV—it’s now due this fall—many industry watchers have become wary of the automaker’s promise that the crucial Model 3 mainstream electric sedan will arrive by 2016. The issue flared up recently when Tesla chief technical officer JB Straubel presented a slide that read “$35k 200-mi range EV planned for 2018” during a conference in Washington, D.C.
This led to a number of erroneous reports claiming the Model 3 had been delayed, prompting Tesla to respond that the Model 3 is still due for a reveal in 2016. In its response, the automaker also confirmed that production of the Model 3 will commence in 2017, and that the slide in question is referring to full production.
As our sister site Green Car Reports points out, the rest of the quoted information from the slide refers to the Model 3’s target range of 200 miles, and its base price of $35,000 before any Federal, state, or local incentives.
The Model 3 is being developed around Tesla’s third-generation platform and eventually it will be joined by an SUV variant. The Model S and Model X compete in the mid-size segments while the new Model 3 and its SUV cousin will compete in the small segment. Key rivals will be the BMW 3-Series and X3, respectively.
To help meet its ambitious price target, Tesla is using more conventional steel construction rather than aluminum like on the Model S and Model X. Tesla will also be using its own batteries this time around, sourced from its ‘Gigafactory’ being built in Nevada.
If all goes to plan, Tesla is hopeful of selling around 500,000 of its electric cars by the end of the decade.
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