Electric Vehicles Tesla Model 3

Published on March 25th, 2017 | by Steve Hanley

Elon Musk Tweets Up A Model 3 And Model Y Storm On Twitter

March 25th, 2017 by  
 

Before leaving for the Space Coast to watch the first ever launch of a reused Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX, Elon Musk took to Twitter to drop lots of hints about what’s ahead for Tesla and the Model 3 and other things that are happening in the Tesla universe.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 News

Musk began the day by tweeting this video of a black Tesla Model 3. The car is what is called an early release candidate, meaning it is one of the first to be built on the actual assembly line that will be used to manufacture the production cars. Yeah, it’s only 6 seconds long but that’s enough to get the fan base fired up. Feast your eyes on this, Tesla fans!

There has been a lot of speculation about what the interior of the Model 3 will be like. The prototypes on display at the launch celebration a year ago showed no instrument cluster and no conventional controls. All those cars had was one touchscreen mounted horizontally in the middle of the dashboard. Rumors of a heads up display in front of the driver were rampant. But apparently, that single screen is all the Model 3 will have.

That sure makes it sound like Musk expects the Model 3 to be ready for autonomous driving when production begins later this year. He also took the occasion to emphasize that the Model 3 is not a Model S.  “Model 3 is just a smaller, more affordable version of Model S w less range & power & fewer features. Model S has more advanced technology.” He added later, “Only Model S will have the seven seater option, more cargo space, plus higher range, acceleration, two screens vs. one, auto extend handles …”

Musk refers to the current Model S as Version 4 and says it is the car he personally will prefer to drive even after the Model 3 is released. Clearly, he is trying to lower people’s expectations a bit. The Model 3 will be an “everyman” car like the Mercedes E Class, not the premium near limousine vehicle that the Model S and Mercedes S Class are.

Model 3 Battery And Performance

Musk surprised some people by tweeting that the first Model 3 cars off the assembly line will be rear wheel drive only. Dual motors are a popular option and Musk had said previously that the highest profit cars would be built first. His Tweet set forth his latest thinking.

That news was distressing to some Model 3 reservation holders. In a recent survey by Model3Tracker, only 7% say they want a base model of the Model 3. Dual motors, a larger battery, and Autopilot were the most popular options but it appears they may not be available at the start of production. The dual motor option will not be available for “6 to 7 months,” according to Musk.

The top battery selection will be 75 kWh — the same battery that is now standard in the least expensive Model S. Musk says that is the largest battery that will fit, given the shorter wheelbase of the Model 3 and the energy density of battery cells currently available. He hinted yesterday that the larger battery will not be available until next year.

Tesla still has not said what size the standard battery for the Model 3 will be, but Musk assured his followers that the car will have at least as much range as the Chevy Bolt, which features 238 miles of range. Cars with the 75 kWh battery are estimated to go more than 300 miles on a full battery charge given their lighter weight and excellent aerodynamics.

What About The Model Y?

The world may not be cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs anymore, but it sure is crazy about SUVs. The percentage of sedans sold in America has dropped from 60% a few years ago to around 35% today while sales of SUVs have surged. That’s a problem for Tesla. The Model 3 is svelte and stylish but is has smallish trunk lid. Some have referred to it somewhat unkindly as a “letter slot.”

Musk has said in the past that Tesla is working on an SUV version of the Model 3 to be called the Model Y, thus completing Musk’s long running inside joke that the complete Tesla lineup will be S-E-X-Y. Ford ruined the party when it obtained a trademark on the Model E nomenclature, but all good Tesla fans know the Model 3 was really supposed to be called the Model E.

The Model Y — with or without the swoopy falcon wing doors found on the Model X — won’t be arriving anytime soon, though.

The Fastest Tesla

Elon wasn’t done, though. When asked if the Model 3 with the larger battery will outrun a Model S, he replied, “Model S will always be the fastest Tesla until next gen Roadster, which is a few years away.” With Tesla, there is always good news just around the corner, it seems.

 

 





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About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.



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