Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is well on it’s way to perfecting its plans to disrupt the auto sector with electric vehicles. The next milestone in Tesla’s disruptive plan is the Model 3, which the market expects to be a mass-market EV with a price tag of about $35,000. Elon Musk has revealed that he will unveil the Model 3 in March and the market expects to start seeing the car on the road by 2017. However, latest news reports that Tesla might be working on multiple variants of the Model 3.
Here’s where speculation stands
With Tesla Motors, it is somewhat hard to separate the fact from the fiction and the hype from the news because Tesla thrives on buzz, and the larger-than-life personality of its CEO, Elon Musk helps to fuel the hype. Hence, it is not strange that speculation is already springing up about Tesla’s plan for the Model 3.
Mashable reports that Tesla Motors might be working on at least a sedan version of the Model 3 and a compact SUV version of the vehicle. Mashable quotes a Tesla spokesperson saying, “Tesla will be able to build multiple variations on the third generation platform, specifically a sedan and, later, an SUV.” Elon Musk has also hinted about multiple versions of the Model 3 in a tweet (later deleted) in which he said the Model 3 platform would be the base for a Model Y compact crossover.
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The folks at Electrek have also dropped their speculations on Model 3 pricing and configuration options. To start with, the Electrek folks also think that Tesla is working on two variants of the Model 3 and they drew insight from Tesla’s presentation in Hong Kong earlier this week. They also think that the firm will build a base Model 3 with a 2WD version and a model 3 with better specs and an AWD with at least an extra $5000 premium over the price tag of the base version.
The speculation also holds that the cabin size will be comparable to the BMW 3 series and that Tesla will maintain the “frunk” storage under the hood to keep the safety ratings of the car high. However you feel about the huge iPad-like display in the Model S and Model X, you can expect to find the same 1080p capacitive touch display in the Model 3 because its costs less to use the current tech than to do R&D, retool, and build a smaller display without delays.
Tesla needs to get the Model 3 right
Interestingly, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) has responded to the speculations and the firm has noted that rumors that it would unveil 2 cars in March are wrong. For now, Tesla will unveil only one Model 3 in March, but the other variant might not be too far behind. However, multiple variants of the Model 3 or not, it is important that Tesla gets the Model 3 right in all aspects of what it takes to build the car.
The Model 3 might turn out to be the car that makes or breaks Tesla and the firm cannot afford a misstep now that General Motors (NASDAQ:GM) is in the race for mass-market EVs. Hence, Tesla Motors might want to ensure that the Model 3 is not plagued with the same kind of notorious delays that almost turned the Model X into a punchline.
In trying to avoid delays in unveiling and delivering the Model 3, Tesla might want to avoid the complex engineering process of Falcon-wing doors and rear seats that could make the car seat 7 people. Tesla must also get the price of the Model 3 right if it wants to attract a large number of buyers from the mainstream auto market.
The $35,000 price tag before rebates sounds smart if Tesla could match up (or beat) the range on GM’s Chevy Bolt. However, Tesla is always proud of its cars; hence, the firm might built a base model at that $35,000 price tag and a pricier variant of the Model 3 at a higher price tag as well. The rumors that the firm might build two variants of the Model 3 may not be totally baseless after all.
Here’s what we know for sure
We already know that the Model 3 will be a compact affordable electric car with a price target of $35,000. We also think that the Model 3 will have a 240-mile range in order to stack up against the range on General Motors’ Chevy Bolt EV. Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) recently announced it will unveil the Model 3 in March and buyers can expect delivery (hopefully) without delays in 2017.
We also know that “cheap” price tag of the Model 3 is designed to help Tesla dilute its public image as a maker of luxury electric vehicles and to show that the firm is more concerned about changing the face of transport with EVs than building an elite club of luxury EV owners. More so, the “cheap” price tag of the Model 3 should drive sales, increase the mainstream adoption of EVs, and propel the firm towards its goal of 500,000 cars annually by 2020.