The Tesla Model 3: What Do We Know So Far?

The third Tesla model – once touted as being called the Tesla E but now christened the Tesla 3 – is one of the most highly anticipated new cars of 2016. Information has been making its way to keen owners and car lovers in waves and we are starting to put together the pieces of an interesting new model at the forum. So far, we have a minimalist design and interesting power supply, but also some uncertainty over the final cost and release date.

Tesla Model 3

What do we know about the Tesla 3's specification so far?

Information is still limited but there are some key aspects to the specification that hopeful buyers can take away. We know that it has a touch screen display, central console and little else up front, that the power pack is smaller this time and that there is a shorter wheel base.

The main thing that is immediately clear about this car is the minimalist design, with a focus on the light and space. Some believe that we are merely seeing the bare bones of a concept car, and that more will be added in latter phases of the unveiling, but it looks like the simple, clean lines and lack of controls may be deliberate. Other interesting design details are the increased legroom for back seat passengers and a large sunroof that gives the impression of a glass roof.

Tesla Model 3

This new Tesla car stands out from the competition in many ways, but prospective owners need to take a second look at that competitive price tag.

At the moment, there are some clear comparisons being made to the Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3 series and Audi A4, based on the general look of the car and its specs. What makes this Tesla 3 model stand out from some of these top of the line competitors, however, is the price. This car is being marketed with a focus on the mass-market and affordability and, as a result, has a rather appealing base price of $35,000 before incentives.

This base price will get you the minimalist look, the basic features and the bare essentials on the touch screen dashboard, but it is clear that once all those little extra perks add up, this 3rd Tesla will end up costing a lot more than $35,000. The best example of this came from an Elon Musk tweet – again just two simple words – in response to a question about the Tesla Model 3's performance. The S and X could all be upgraded with what has been referred to as “ludicrous mode”. This tweak changes the car's acceleration: 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds. When asked if we would see this in the Tesla 3 he merely said “of course”.

What about the battery life?

All of these teases and glimpses into the final Tesla 3 model would not be complete without looking at the battery – this is an electric car after all. Unsurprisingly, Tesla have tried to make improvements on the car's capabilities and there is the promise that the use of advanced lithium ion batteries and all-electric powertrain will allow for a travel range of 215 miles and “supercharging”. It seems that with all this advanced tech and the high number of orders, the decision to open the Nevada-based gigafactory was a good idea. Production on cells is set to commence there in 2017.

On the subject of numerous orders, when can we expect to learn more about this Tesla 3 model and see a final version?

Tesla have been quick to boast about the high number of orders for this new Tesla 3 and its popularity so far, which is why they can get away with delivering this information in these phases and allowing little snippets and leaks to occasionally appear on Musk's Twitter feed. They know that the world is waiting. The problem is that this high demand means that there may be a delay on orders. The first shipments are set to roll out late in 2017, but there are warnings not to expect to see it until 2018 because of demand.

Until then, it is up to forums like this to grab hold of the best information once it leaks and to provide a place of discussion and deliberation. Until we get a clear idea on the full specification and capabilities of this Tesla III, we can just have fun debating the true purpose of that minimal dashboard and the car's true efficiency on the road.