Tesla has confirmed via its Twitter account that the successor of the Model X SUV will be dubbed the Model III. The car will be based on the Californian firm’s third-generation platform and will be unveiled for the first time in 2016, ahead of it’s official sales launch in 2017.
Further information was divulged by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk to Auto Express. During a somewhat candid interview, Musk confessed he originally wanted to name the car the Model E, but faced legal scrutiny from Ford Motor Company who owns the original naming rights.
If you didn’t catch on, the first Tesla Sedan was named the Model S, while the SUV was dubbed the Model X, so it seemed only fitting to name the third car the “Model E”.
So what will the Model III be like? From Musk’s previous hints, we know that the car will be a small, all-electric sedan aimed at challenging the ranks of the BMW 3-Series. It will be priced at about $35,000 and have a driving range of at least 200 miles on just a single charge. Tesla will be able to get the price down by using batteries it fabricates at its own ‘Gigafactory’ plant, a location for which will be formally announced soon. The car is also expected to feature a conventional steel body instead of pricier aluminum as used on the Model S and upcoming Model X.
If you’re lucky enough to own the Model III, you will also have access to Tesla’s network of free supercharging stations. Being based on Tesla’s third-generation platform, the Model III will also feature some new technologies such as electronic driving aids. The platform is also expected to be used for a small crossover model to compete with the BMW X3.
Finally, Musk also confessed in his interview with Auto Express that owners of the original Tesla Roadster will eventually be offered an upgrade that will boost the car’s range. The car currently has a 245-mile range but Musk says using the latest battery technology could see range increase to about 400 miles.