Despite numerous delays on its forthcoming Model X SUV, and increasing challenges from the likes of Toyota, Tesla Motors is still charging along with its plans to make electric vehicles a mainstream product. Just yesterday, CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to formally announce the next stage in their plans: the Model III.
Originally to be called the ‘Model E’, the Model III will be Tesla’s first mass-market car, intended to be bought by average car consumers. Crucially, the problem Tesla faces is that by only selling luxury vehicles, sales growth is restricted, and currently the company’s sales are only in the tens of thousands of cars per year. With the Model III, Telsa is hoping to sell the car at the much lower price of $35,000, making it more affordable, and thus massively increasing the company’s potential consumer base.
The Model III itself will reportedly be around 20% smaller than the company’s Model S, and will be positioned as an electic rival to BMW’s Series 3. While little is known about the final design of the car, it has also been reported that the Model III will be able to drive up to 200 miles (322km) on a single charge of its battery pack.
In order to make an electric car for such a low price, while still retaining an acceptable driving range, Tesla will have to overcome large hurdles in producing low-cost batteries. To this aim, Tesla has earlier announced the construction of what it calls a ‘Gigafactory’: a huge factory to product Lithium-ion batteries at a reduced cost due to economies of scale. Once production of batteries is ramped up in this fashion, electric vehicle costs can be dramatically reduced.
Despite the Model S currently being on the market and the SUV crossover Model X coming sometime in 2015, there is still no concrete release date for the Model III. Hopefully, as their other designs progress, we will attain more information, and hopefully some images of what this “game changing” car will look like.
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