Tesla to release affordable Model 3

July 17, 2014 12:00 AM

For the average car consumer, Tesla motor's Model S and Model X luxury electric vehicles, with price tags around $70,000, are far outside of their budget. However, in the wake of Tesla's recent success with existing models, consumers wondered if and when the motor company would choose to release a more affordable version. 

Those holding out for a model that won't break the bank are in luck: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk revealed to Auto Express plans to unveil the Tesla Model 3 in 2016, and to have it go on sale in 2017. Though there is no official report of what exactly the new model will look like, the tentative plan is that the Model 3 will be 20 percent smaller than the Model S and will retail for around $35,000, according to the source. Above all, one guaranteed aspect of the Model 3 is customer satisfaction. 

"We want people to fall in love with their car and look forward to driving it," CEO Musk told Auto Express.

Unique Model S design
If the Model S' construction is any hint of what the Model 3 will have to offer, the more affordable electric version will likely have a competitive edge in the sedan market. The Model S boasts a rigid body structure, 50-50 weight distribution, low center of gravity and excellent road responsiveness. Tesla made sure the smallest details were accounted for with the Model S - it even has slightly wider, staggered rear tires that improve acceleration on slippery surfaces. With the look and handle of a sports car, the Model S still maintains the ride quality of a sedan.

The most notable feature of this innovative vehicle is, of course, the fact that it is electric. The electric powertrain with only one moving part - as opposed to traditional internal combustion engine - uses energy three times more efficiently than non-electric vehicles. With the Model S comes a choice of three different battery types, with ranges of 208-265 miles between charges. With the 85 kilowatt-hour battery, the Model S can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. A charger that fits into standard 240-volt outlets recharges the battery at 29 range miles per hour. 

Innovative battery technology
One of the reasons that Tesla is able to drop the price point of the Model 3 is new, cheaper battery technology that will be produced in its Gigafactory. The location of the Gigafactory has yet to be determined, but the building will store and use energy from both solar and wind sources. Despite a cheaper battery production, however, the Model 3 will still have around the same range of the Model S. Ideally, drivers will be able to go 200 miles between charges in the Model 3. Even in the past few years, evolving battery technology has allowed Tesla to constantly improve the range of their cars. The first car the company produced, the Roadster, has a range of 245 miles. Tesla CEO Musk is planning a new battery pack upgrade for customers that will skyrocket their range to 400 miles. 

The Tesla Model 3 definitely has the potential to shake up the car market in 2017 as an innovative electric sedan option. 

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