Tesla announced last month, a third car would be added to their lineup. Scheduled to be released sometime in 2017, the Model 3 would be the first truly affordable Tesla – with a price tag around US$35,000 with tax credits and a 320-km battery range. The sub-40k price tag would firmly place the Tesla Model 3 into mass-market territory and in the mid-size semi-lux sedan battlefield with the likes of the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4.
Everything we know about the upcoming Model 3 is in the paragraph above this one, so any news on the Model 3 is sacred. According to a report from Road and Track released last week, the Model 3 will come in crossover and sedan form. JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technical Officer, at a conference in D.C., made remarks saying the Model 3 that’s currently under development will spawn both sedan and crossover varieties.
Straubel also says the bigwigs over at Tesla believe their new lithium-ion batteries (manufactured at their new private facility), will become so inexpensive and reliable that they’ll become “the predominant and primary fuel for light vehicles.”
At the same conference, Straubel also mentioned Tesla’s plan to develop multiple new models after the Model 3, but unfortunately, did not go into further detail. He also reiterated claims previously made by Elon Musk – that the company plans to sell 500,000 vehicles annually by 2020. That’s a very bold claim considering the company currently only has one model out in the market.
Yesterday, insideEVs put out an article, based upon a slide from a Tesla presentation, stating the Model 3’s (like the ever-delayed Model X) release date would be pushed back to 2018. Today, Ricardo Reyes, Tesla’s Communications Boss, disputed the blog’s claim and tweeted that the Model 3 was still on track for showing the Model 3 in 2016 and production in 2017.
That’s all the Tesla news we have for you today, but the remarks and claims made by Straubel and Musk, respectively, raise some questions in my mind.
If the Model 3 is slated to come in under $40,000, be available in crossover or sedan form, and be released to the mass-market by 2017, what will happen to the much-hyped and much-delayed Model X crossover? If the Model X is expected to cost at least $80,000 for the 60-kilowatt-hour model and at least $90,000 for the 85-kilowatt-hour model, aren’t Tesla kind of shooting their collective selves in the foot with the Model 3 crossover? After all, I could potentially buy a Model 3 sedan and a Model 3 crossover for the price of one Model X, and the Model 3 may be actually released before the Model X. I’d then possibly have enough money left over to upgrade my home to Tesla’s Powerwall Battery System.
In answer to my question, Senior Editor Yarkony says, “My answer would be size and quality – these will not be large luxury cars, but mass market models. People still buy 5 Series and X5s, and if Tesla nails down battery production costs at their new Gigafactory, Tesla’s profits will make the Model X worthwhile. Then again, Tesla profits have always been subject to a bit of debate…