Tesla has officially announced its next product: the Model III. Scheduled to debut in 2017 after the upcoming Model X SUV, the midsize Model III sedan has its sights set squarely on the BMW 3 Series . Tesla’s new car will slot under the popular Model S in both size and price.
Keeping with its unconventional business methods, Tesla announced the product in an interview with AutoExpress. CEO Elon Musk says the new car will cost $35,000 and have a range of 200 miles on a single charge. The candid interview continued with Musk mentioning he wanted the new car called the Model E, but ran into red tape with Ford , which apparently holds rights to the name.
To combat the nomenclature woes, Tesla will badge the new car with the Roman numeral “III.” We have to give pause to Tesla’s naming scheme, particularly because of the combination of the Model S, the Model E (err Model III), and the Model X. It seems the world can see Elon Musk’s rather interesting sense of humor.
While the Models S, III, and X are the main focus of Tesla’s future, the company is giving early adopters a substantial power boost. Musk continued in the interview saying Tesla will offer the original Tesla Roadster a replacement battery that extends its range to 400 miles while boosting power. Musk says, “which will allow you to drive from LA to San Francisco non-stop.”
Updated 07/23/2014: We prepared a rendering for the future Tesla Model III. Check it out after the jump.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2017 Tesla Model III.
As expected, our rendering combines elements from both the Model S and future Model X. It has a smaller wheelbase, restyled headlamps, front grille and air intake, smaller rear passenger glass size, a slightly lower body crease with contours on the hood, and smaller overhangs on the front and rear. Some chrome elements were also added for some added flavor.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Tesla’s Social Media Coverage
Since Tesla’s straight up targeting the BMW 3 Series, it’s only appropriate to cover it here, despite it not being an electric car. What the 3 Series is, however, is a ubiquitous staple of sport-luxury with loads of brand cache. The BMW 3 Series is found everywhere from upper middle-class driveways to billionaires’ garages to regional track day events.
The current 3 Series comes powered by a bevy of engine choices, from the 2.0-liter I-4 making 180 horsepower to the turbocharged, 3.0-liter I-6 making 300 horsepower. It comes available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations with prices starting just over $32,000 and escalating past $45,000 for the top trim line with the I-6 engine and AWD.