Tesla has confirmed that their “low cost” sedan will be named the Model 3. So we will have the Model S, Model X and the Model III (3). Many people are already making comments about the letters and numbers chosen, though it would have been more explicit if it had been called the Model E (for economic of course).
Based on what I’ve seen with other electric cars, and what Tesla has done before, I am going to make some fun predictions about what the Model III will be like.
- Probably around $40,000 CAN Base
- 300KM Range
- Maybe a more hatchback design like the Nissan Leaf?
- Smaller trunk and frunk than the S
- Seats five
- 17” Touchscreen (Same as the Model S)
- No sunroof on base models
- 18” Wheels standard
- 0-60 in 6.5 seconds
- Lifetime access to Supercharging Stations ($3000 option)
Of course, I would love if Tesla was able to get a longer range than 300KM, but the biggest issue stopping them from dropping the price on their cars is the battery technology cost. Even with Tesla building a new factory to build batteries efficiently and cheaply, I think the battery cost will still be a stumbling block. They’ll likely put a 40kWh or 60kWH battery in it, and through weight optimizations, and feature reductions, they’ll be able to get the 300KM range from the vehicle.
I would love to see them include Supercharging for free in all of their vehicles, but even the base model Tesla S has this service as an option rather than just included in the price. I think the interior of the Model III will be very similar, though even less refined than the Model S. One of the big changes I think we will see in the Model S after the Model 3 is out is a revamp of the Model S interior to be more comparable to the luxury sedan models that they are competing against.
The 2015 Nissan Leaf is priced at $32,000 base price, so while I don’t think Tesla will be able to beat that price, I think they’ll come close. Elon Musk has been saying that he’d like to be in the $30-$35K range, but I don’t see that happening at the start.
I really feel like the Model III should be designed with battery swapping being how “refilling” the car happens, instead of trying to push more current faster into the batteries. I know that Tesla has talked about battery swapping programs on the highways at their supercharger stations, but I’m not sure if they’ve ever gone forward with this idea. Would people be willing to pay seventy-five percent of what a gasoline car pays to swap their near empty battery for a full one? I don’t know. There are so many logistical issues with battery swapping, but the concept still seems ideal, especially because we are getting closer to the end of the base range anxiety argument, and more focused on the recharge time for electric vehicles.
My hope is that Annie and I will be in a space to pick up this vehicle if it becomes a reality. With a reasonably short daily commute, and most longer visiting trips within the range of the car, it seems like it could be a great option for us. The lack of constant repairs and maintenance due to the simplification of the electric car platform, and the escape of our dependence on gasoline both have me very excited.
I can’t wait to see what happens next in this space. I feel like the future of cars is just around the corner, and I’d still put my money on Tesla getting there first.