Tesla Motors Inc is planning to bring EVs to the mainstream with its mass-market Model 3. The firm plans to unveil the car in the first quarter of next year. CEO Elon Musk once stated that the Model 3 “won’t look like other cars” and it appears that he is intent on staying true to his word. Electrek reports that Elon Musk has his design team making some late stage tweaks that would reduce the drag on the car when it hits the road.
Tesla wants to use the Model 3 to gain a greater foothold in the auto market; hence, the car will be much more wallet-friendly than the Model S or Model X with a price tag of $35,000. Tesla Motors says the Model 3 will have a 200-mile range on a single charge. Now, the firm needs to find a way to achieve a 200-mile range on a $35,000 car while breaking even (at the very least). Tesla can’t afford to sell the car at a loss; hence, getting the best out of the battery seems to be the best plan.
Lower drag for longer range in Model 3
Reducing the drag in a car will allow the car to move fluidly with less drain on the battery. Rumor has it that Elon Musk is requiring the Model 3 to have a drag lower than .20, which would give it the lowest drag found in any mass-market car in the world. Cars with similar drags include GM’s EV1 and Volkswagen’s XL1 but they are not the kind of cars you find on the street every day.
The fear of techies however, is that building cars with really low drag often results in weird-looking cars. The Model 3 might have an uncommon design, but it won’t look weird because Tesla has managed to achieve a drag of .24 in the Model S and Model 3 and those are beautiful cars. Some of the features that might help Tesla Motors achieve a low drag in the Model 3 include: replacing side rear-view mirrors with cameras, using a single blade windshield wiper, and tighter wheels.
If Tesla is able to achieve a drag lower than .20 in the Model 3, the car would need a “smaller” battery to meet the 200-mile range. A smaller battery would provider Tesla with cheaper costs for improved margins.
Market share will might still be an issue for Tesla
A large number of the engineers at Tesla Motors are working on the mass market Model 3 but analysts at Trefis Team thinks that Tesla might continue to struggle for market share. The analysts opine that Tesla won’t be able to unveil the Model 3 in March 2016 or start deliveries in 2017 because the firm has penchant for missing its deadlines. The analysts also think that Tesla over-promises but under-delivers and that the fact that its patents are open source reduces its edge in the market.