Tesla has confirmed via its Twitter account that the car due after the Model X SUV will be called the Model 3. The car will be based on the Californian firm’s third-generation platform and will be shown for the first time in 2016, ahead of a sales launch in 2017.
Further information was revealed by Tesla Motors [NSDQ] CEO Elon Musk to Auto Express. In a somewhat candid interview, Musk said he originally wanted to call the car the Model E but faced legal trouble from Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] which has the rights to 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 explained. “So I said we had the model S and X, we might as well have the E.
“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!”
So what will the Model 3 be like? From Musk’s previous hints, we know that the car will be a small, all-electric sedan aimed at the likes of the BMW 3-Series. It will be priced at about $35,000 and have a driving range of at least 200 miles on a single charge. Tesla will be able to get the price down by using batteries it manufactures at its own ‘Gigafactory’ plant, a location for which will be announced soon. The car is also expected to feature a conventional steel body instead of pricier aluminum as used on the Model S and upcoming Model X.
Owners of the Model 3 will also have access to Tesla’s network of free supercharging stations. Being based on Tesla’s third-generation platform, the Model 3 will also pack some new technologies such as electronic driving aids. The platform is also expected to be used for a small crossover model to target the likes of the BMW X3.
Finally, Musk also revealed in his interview with Auto Express that owners of the original Tesla Roadster will eventually be offered an upgrade that will boost the car’s range. The car currently has a 245-mile range but Musk says using the latest battery technology could see range increase to about 400 miles.
“The Roadster had an old-generation battery,” he said. “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 L.A. to San Francisco non-stop.”