Tesla Model 3 Reveal Just Part 1 Of 2, Musk Tweets

Late Wednesday, Elon Musk took to Twitter to tell his followers that the Model 3 unveiling scheduled to take place later today in Los Angeles will just be an appetizer. There is a lot more information to come about the Model 3 in coming months. The event will be streamed live starting at 8:30 pm Pacific time.

Musk has said all along that the company is not going to reveal everything about the Model 3 at the unveiling event. During the Q4 earnings call in December, he said, “We’re trying to decide whether we should show all the cards or keep a few cards close to the vest.” Later on Wednesday, he responded to a question from a Twitter follower.

The company says there will be pre-production cars available for members of the press to drive as part of the unveiling. That means the basic design of the car will be know today. But details about options and technical specifications won’t be released until the car is closer to production, which is scheduled for late 2017.

According to MSN Money, Ben Kallo, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. says, “The expectation of the Street is that details will be sparse at the unveiling Thursday night. There’s a lot of interest in the materials. The Model S and the X were all aluminum. We don’t know what the 3 will be made of, or what kind of autonomous features will be revealed.”

Another analyst, Sam Jaffe of Cairn Energy Research Advisors, told his clients in a report on Wednesday that the Model 3 will have a 65 kWh battery. He believes it will feature new battery cells with 35% more power density than those used currently in the Model S and Model X. He says the Model 3 will have 225 miles of range.

Jaffe also said car sharing will become a significant part of Tesla’s business model in the coming years. “Tesla Motors will become a major player in the car-sharing market,” Jaffe said in his report. He notes that the company “controls both the vehicle technology and has the software development capabilities to control the software platform that would be at the heart of such a service.”

Tesla Model 3 wheel?

The crowds are gathering at Tesla stores around the world as people line up to place their reservations. We will know more about the Model 3 later today. But the company’s chief technology officer, JB Straubel, offered his insights during a presentation at the University of Nevada in Reno last October.

“Most of Model 3 has to be new,” he said. “With X, we were able to build on a lot of common components with S, but with Model 3 we can’t do that. So we’re inventing a whole new platform for Model 3. It’s a new battery architecture, it’s a new motor technology, brand-new vehicle structure — it’s a lot of work. This is something we started on even a few years ago. It is a brand new vehicle — and it has to be.”

Elon Musk has said the Model 3 will be a “compelling car.” In Elon-ese, that means it will blow away the competition just the way the Model S has done to its competitors in the large luxury class. In the US and in most countries around the world, the Model S is outselling the Mercedes S Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8. It even outsells the mighty Mercedes S Class in Germany. That is the very definition of a compelling car.

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.