Tesla Model 3 (III) All-Electric Vehicle (FUTURE)

Written By: Brittney B.

            most tesla model iii design details and specs are still a mystery

In 2017, Tesla will add a third model to its lineup of zero-emission, all-electric cars. The new Tesla Model 3 (or Model III) will join the Model S, a sporty sedan, and the Model X, an upcoming crossover SUV, but it will mark a huge deviation from their price range. CEO Elon Musk hopes to hit a $35,000 price tag – Tesla's lowest so far – by creating new battery technology and increasing the company's production capacity.

An electric vehicle for the consumer class

Tesla's electric vehicles have been called many things: groundbreaking, eco-friendly, emission-free, sporty. But until now, Musk never released an electric vehicle that was affordable for the average driver. Initially, demand wasn't big enough to produce a high volume of electric vehicles and the batteries needed to fuel them. Now, technology makes it difficult to mass-produce Tesla's innovative batteries without spending a fortune. Luckily, the Model 3 is behind a push for change.

The lightweight Roadster, Tesla's first sustainable sports car, ran on an older battery that was upgraded for the Model S. Now the battery will be upgraded again, in an effort to shrink it down, make it more affordable, and increase the efficiency of the production site. Tesla's engineering chief, Chris Porritt, worked for Aston Martin and is now spearheading the team behind the Model 3's technology.

Changing Tesla's production plan

According to Musk himself, the Model 3 will be 20 percent smaller than the Tesla Model S but 50 percent more affordable. That will make it Tesla's most accessible all-electric vehicle to date, bridging a divide between the luxury brand and the everyday consumer. But a high-volume product is an ambitious move for Tesla, which has grown slowly but steadily and doesn't produce as many cars as its upscale competitors.

In fact, Musk told GQ in fall 2014 that "meeting production demands" was Tesla's biggest ongoing problem. The Model 3 marks a step towards solving it, because it will be the automaker's largest production yet. In order to meet consumer demand for the new model and keep prices low, Tesla must produce a huge volume of newer, smaller lithium ion battery packs. Naturally, Musk decided to start a project in the desert for this very purpose: a new battery cell factory.

Nicknamed the Gigafactory, this manufacturing plant will take up 15 million square feet but leave zero net impact on the environment, thanks to renewable energy. In September 2014, Musk joined Nevada's governor to announce that the plant will be erected outside Reno by 2017, the same year that the Model 3 is projected to arrive.

Continuing Tesla's journey toward progress

Gov. Brian Sandoval explained that the Gigafactory would bring Nevada's economy more than $100 billion over the course of the next two decades. It will have a big impact for Tesla's sales figures, too. By 2020, Tesla promises to produce at least 50 GWh annually at the Gigafactory, enough to power half a million all-electric vehicles per year. For comparison, today's Model S production lines ship less than a tenth of that volume annually.

Tesla's business plan has always been a famously long-term one, but with its Model 3 announcement in the summer of 2014, the automaker proved it's serious about changing the future. By developing technology that makes lithium ion batteries cheaper to manufacture and distribute, Tesla is rewriting the game plan for eco-friendly auto innovation.

Courting controversy from the start

At least one competitor has already taken note of Tesla's upcoming model. When Elon Musk revealed the name of this much-hyped prototype, he joked that he tried to spell a certain acronym with the names of his models (the Model S and Model X already exist, and this one was supposed to be the E). Unfortunately, Jaguar already has an E-type lineup, and competitor Ford actually sued because it veered too close to their Model T naming tradition.

Ford's lawsuit helped the car make headlines years before its first production date, a sure sign that competitors are feeling the heat of its all-electric promise. But Musk wasn't thwarted; as he explained in a video message, he plans to identify the Model 3 by its Roman numerals, resulting in Model S, III, and X. That's close enough for Musk, as long as the car's technology lives up to the hype.