Tesla to Sell its Affordable Model III in 2017

By:   Christian Okolski

As reported by Forbes, Tesla Motors has confirmed its plans to release another all-electric sedan, which is to be more affordable than the luxurious and high-performing Model S, in 2017.  This news is not a tremendous surprise, since Tesla had revealed the goal of building an affordable electric car as far back as two years ago.  However, it is noteworthy that back in 2012 and according to PluginCars.com, the anticipated launch date of the new model was 2015.

Since Tesla currently sells the Model S and is preparing for production of its Model X crossover, the automaker will name its affordable electric and third generation mass-market vehicle the Model III.  The Model III was originally slated to be called the Model E, but that idea was scrapped after Ford claimed its own trademark to the Model E name and threatened to sue Tesla if it violated the trademark.  While the Model III will be 20 percent smaller than the Model S, it is expected to have an impressive, 200-mile driving range and cost $35,000, approximately half the price of a base Model S.

The 2017 launch date for the Model III makes considerable sense, since that is when Tesla also expects to get its battery “gigafactory” up and running, as reported by this blog.  With the ability to produce batteries en masse and cut battery costs by approximately 30 percent, Tesla will have a much better shot at selling a Model III that resembles the excellent quality touted by the highly-acclaimed Model S.  By cutting the cost of an electric vehicles most expensive component, Tesla will be able to place more resources into refining the Model III’s overall performance and quality.

The Model III is expected to be revealed in 2016, so Tesla still has a couple of years to work out the details of its third, all-electric vehicle.  Regardless, it will be very important for the young automaker to successfully cut costs in the right places and deliver a car that provides high value for its price.  Time will tell if Tesla can build an electric car that goes toe-to-toe with the “mainstream” auto market.

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