Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has officially announced the name of its new electric vehicle: Model 3. The Model 3 is expected to go on sale in 2017 and will compete directly against the BMW 3 Series. The only vehicle Tesla Motors sells right now is the Model S sedan, but it will launch the Model X crossover next year.
Tesla was originally planning to call the new vehicle “Model E.” However, Ford Motor Company owned the trademark to that name and threatened to sue Tesla Motors if that name was used. In an interview with Auto Express UK, Musk said that Tesla Motors had the S for “sedan” and the X for the “crossover” so they 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,” said Musk in the interview. Musk added that there will now be three bars to represent the new name “and it’ll be S III X,” referring to the Gen III model. Tesla Motors confirmed the name officially in a tweet:
Tesla Motors will reveal the Model 3 prototype in 2016 and start selling the vehicle to consumers by 2017. The Model 3 will be based on a new platform instead of using a cut-down down version of the Model S and Model X. The Model 3 vehicle design will be led by Tesla’s VP of vehicle engineering Chris Porritt, who used to be the chief engineer at Aston Martin.
The Model 3 is expected to have a range of 200 miles and will cost $35,000. It will be roughly 20% smaller than the Model S and will have cheaper batteries manufactured from Tesla’s future Gigafactory. The Model 3 battery will be able to charge at Tesla’s signature Supercharger stations across the world.
The first car that Tesla Motors sold was the Roadster. Launched in 2008, the Roadster was based on the Lotus Elise chassis and it uses an old generation battery. When the Roadster is upgraded to a new generation battery pack, it will have a range of about 400 miles.
Tesla’s Gigafactory is a proposed lithium ion battery factory that is expected to be operational in the year 2020. Musk has narrowed down the site of the factory to four U.S. states: Texas, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. The cost to build the factory is around $5 billion and it is expected to achieve a 30% reduction in production cost for Tesla vehicle batteries. In 2020, the Gigafactory should achieve a battery production capacity to supply 500,000 Tesla vehicles per year and would employ approximately 6,500 people.
Musk As CEO For 4-5 More Years
Last month at the annual company meeting, Musk told shareholders that he is intending to remain CEO of the company for at least four to five more years, which is long enough to oversee the production of the Model 3. “It is quite difficult being the CEO of two companies,” said Musk at the meeting. Musk is also CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), a space transport services company that works closely with NASA.
What do you think of the name “Model 3?” In your opinion, do you think it should be named something else or does it sound fitting? Let us know in the comments below!