Tesla Motors confirmed late Tuesday night plans to add a smaller and more economical vehicle to the current line-up. The Model III is geared to compete with, among others, the BMW 3-Series. The vehicle, which is yet to be revealed, will be 20-percent smaller than the popular Tesla Model S, have the capability to travel 200-miles on a single charge, and sell for approximately $35k. The Model III is scheduled for introduction to the automotive marker in 2016, with a tentative release slated for the 2017 model year.
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, who has personally corroborated reports of the Model III, also gave this explanation of the car’s moniker. In a unique attempt at marketing, the Model III was to form the “E” in an acronym with two other existing models; the model S and the new crossover SUV, the model X. When the Ford Motor Company threatened to sue Tesla over a trademark infringement of the Model E, the name was changed. “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,” Musk said. “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!”
Critics have already begun to question Tesla over the Model III. Since the Model S (starts at $71k) has an operational range of 306-miles (with an 85-kWh battery) and the Roadster (starts at $85k used) can travel 245-miles and weighs a ton-less than the Model III, naysayers are doubting the validity of the new car’s early pricing projections. Tesla vice-president of engineering Chris Porritt gave his assurances that, based on a similar aluminum platform to the one found in the Model S combined with more cost effective battery technologies, the overall costs of the car will be significantly reduced. Only time will tell but we look forward to the introduction of more affordable alternatives to conventional gasoline powered vehicles, especially when they are manufactured in the U.S.