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Tesla, according to its eccentric CEO Elon Musk, is planning to build a mid-range, all-electric family saloon by 2017, dubbed the “Model III.”
Although there has been rumours abound since March about Tesla’s entering the mid-range family sedan space, the vehicle has today been given its official name. And what a story that is.
“We were going to call it model E for a while, notes Musk in an interview with Auto Express, “and then Ford sued us saying it wanted to use the Model E â€“ I thought this is crazy, Fordâ€™s trying to kill sex! So weâ€™ll have to think of another name.”
No aesthetic design features have been announced as yet (so we have no clue what the car will look like, bar Auto Express’s mock ups) but we do have a sense of how large it will be, and the likely size of its battery.
The Model III will be around 20% smaller than the Model S, while sporting a 48kWh battery capable of a range exceeding 200 miles. Thanks to the Gigafactory’s increased battery production, the car will cost a mere US$35 000, putting it flush in the middle of its German, Japanese and American rivals. The car won’t be a slouch either — Musk wants drivers to “fall in love with their car and look forward to driving it.”
The BMW 3-series and Lexus IS hybrid rival will hopefully encourage the adoption of electric technology in this sector. After Tesla’s Gigafactory is finally built (breaking ground sometime within the next year), possible customers for the battery units may include the likes of Mercedes and Nissan.
Production of the vehicle is penned for 2016 while Tesla hopes to push the first sales by 2017. Planned upgrades to the rest of the fleet is also scheduled, including a more powerful battery for the Roadster.
Image: Auto Express