Tesla Model III confirmed by Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk.
Tesla will bolster its all-electric car range with a cheaper, smaller version of the Model S. Elon Musk confirmed the existence of the Model III, which is expected to go on sale in 2017, in an interview with Auto Express.
Originally it was rumoured the car would be called the Tesla Model E, but the billionaire entrepreneur and Tesla Motors founder said a legal battle with Ford forced his hand.
“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 III, we’ll have three bars to represent it and it’ll be S III X,” Musk explained.
The report says the Model III will be unveiled in 2016 and will sell for around US$35,000 (£30,000), putting it in the crosshairs of popular executive vehicles like the BMW 3 Series. Musk said to expect a range of 200 miles and performance akin to the Model S. That would mean 0 to 62mph somewhere in the five second region.
The Model III will be underpinned by an entirely new platform, with input from ex-Aston Martin chief engineer Chris Poritt. It is believed it will be 20 per cent smaller than its Model S cousin and will benefit from cheaper battery technology afforded by a new factory known as ‘Gigafactory’, which will be built in the US at an undecided location.
“We want people to fall in love with their car and look forward to driving it,” Musk continued, before mentioning a desire to setup a UK research and development centre, which could help develop the Model III.
It was also revealed the Tesla Roadster could benefit from a new generation battery, taking the potential range from 245 to 400 miles. How this would be implemented is unknown.
It was always a matter of when, not if for a cheaper Model S. Interest in a car that offers impressive performance, luxury and low running costs has been strong, but the £47,000 entry-level Model S has kept many punters away.