Model 3

Model 3 vs. Model S: How will they be different?

edited May 2017 in Model 3
TESLA IS PROMOTING MODEL S over MODEL 3

During the Q1-2017 Financial Call Elon spoke about confusion for some people going into Tesla Galleries/Stores that Model 3 meant the "next" or "third" version of a Tesla. In other words a Model 3 would be an improved version of the Model S. He claimed that this confusion would be cleared up soon. Here are the clarifications recently published:

https://www.tesla.com/compare

"Model S is our flagship, premium sedan with more range, acceleration, displays and customization options. It has a proven safety record and free, unlimited Supercharging for the duration of ownership when referred by an owner. Model 3 is designed and built as a mass market, affordable electric vehicle. Although it will be our newest vehicle, Model 3 is not “Version 3” or the most advanced Tesla. Like Model S, it is designed to be the safest car in its class. Model S and Model 3 are both designed to be the world’s leading cars in their class, built upon the fourth version of Tesla technology."

One thing that many have noted is that Elon is anti-selling the Model 3 he wants to make it clear the Model S is much better, bigger car. Another thing is that statements made in the past have contradicted some of the listed "options" for the Model 3, namely the all-glass roof. One thing is clear about the all-glass roof, it will be a very cool feature regardless of whether or not it is a standard feature or upgrade option.


OTHER FACTS & FEATURES REVEALED

 • Motor and inverter of Model 3 has been redesigned to increase efficiency & reduce complexity/cost
 • Max battery size will be 75 kWh
 • Min battery size will be Model ≡

 • 20% smaller
 • steel in some of the frame
 • no +2 seating in back (no room)
 • lighter, quicker, more nimble
 • single-motor standard; dual-motor option
 • smaller BP options
 • smaller motor standard (maybe, but I'm w/ @RS, M3 will move)
 • no executive seats (no room)

 
Model S

 • wider, longer wheelbase
 • +2 seating in back
 • @carlgo2's safer (because it's bigger; M3 will get same level of safety features)
 • dual-motor standard (seems that this is not going to happen for Model S... yet)
 • better standard interior finishes (upgrade on M3)

Updated to take into account the Model Y, the presumed smaller CUV/SUV cousin to the Model X.
http://www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-y-2019-2020-non-model-3-platform/

 
Model X

 • wider, longer wheelbase
 • 5/6/7 seating for adults
 • Falcon Wing Doors
 • Bio-hazard Filters
 • dual-motor standard
 • better standard interior finishes (upgrade on MY)

 
Model Y

 • 20% smaller
 • Falcon Wing Doors
 • steel in some of the frame
 • adult seating for 5
 • lighter, quicker, more nimble
 • single-motor standard; dual-motor option
 • smaller BP options
 • smaller motor standard


 
All Models

 • cool dashboard and 17-inch touchscreen (we know Model 3 will get single 15-inch landscape screen)
 • aerodynamic door handles— Model 3 will get manual recessed door handles
 • frunk
 • minimalist aesthetic
 • same options (or Model S/X may have some standard, but tech should be available to every model)
 • fit and finish

--------------------------------------------

 

TESLA MODEL 3 vs. BMW 3-SERIES
How do the differences between the BMW 3-Series and 7-Series help us understand the differences between the Model 3 and Model S?

https://forums.tesla.com/forum/forums/tesla-model-3-vs-bmw-3-series
https://forums.tesla.com/forum/forums/gen-iii-vs-bmw-3-series

Elon has said that the Model ≡ will compete against the BMW 3-Series. Some have disagreed with this approach, but most find the comparison appropriate since the Model S competes with the 7-Series. Several threads have covered the "wish lists" for the Model ≡, but I have not found any that discuss how it will distinguish itself from the Model S.

A Model ≡ Wish List https://forums.tesla.com/forum/forums/model-3-options-wish-list
A Model S Wish List https://forums.tesla.com/forum/forums/25-suggestions-improving-tesla-model-s


One thought I had was looking at this distinction from the BMW point of view. How are the 3-Series and 7-Series different? I did not find much where people discuss their differences (mostly 3-Series vs. 5-Series), but here a few highlights:

AutoBytel: Nice summary of different BMW Series, "Best Used BMW Sedan - 7 Series, 5 Series, 3 Series"
CarSort: Direct comparison of 2011 328i to 2012 750Li
BMW: Compare models in 3-Series
BMW: Compare models in 7-Series


Most folks talk about the sportier feel of the 3-Series and the roomy luxury of the 7-Series. The 7 comes w/ many, many more gizmos and standard features, and is more comfortable with a lot more cabin and storage space. It is also usually at least $75K and the 3 starts at $35K.

@Red Sage's Eternally Optimistic Take

Quoted from Red Sage | APRIL 10, 2015 below:
Generation II had both higher capacity battery packs and greater range than Generation I. I expect that Generation III will surpass Generation II. This is what Elon Musk talks about all the time: It typically takes three iterations to get something right.

While the primary motivation is certainly to get prices down to affordable levels, and manufacturing capacity up to support more customers, Tesla Motors must both quell fears and foster the imagination.

Numerous long held Naysayer positions against electric vehicles fell at the hands of the Tesla Roadster. More were demolished with Model S and the Supercharger network. Even more will be banished by the Model X. The last of them will be eradicated with the arrival of Model =.

Greater range, better cargo handling, exceptional performance, faster charging... Satisfaction of cravings for creature comforts... All this and more will make the final case for Tesla Motors.

A new battery cell format and new chemistry will give Tesla the opportunity to make a much lighter battery pack. This is due to greater capacity of the cell, and because the new height and radius will allow a denser capacity where more juice is managed by the same active cooling infrastructure.

So a base Model = w/ a 50- to 60-kWh BP could get the 200-mile range while weighing much less than a Model S.

The flip side of that concept is important too though. How will the Model S hold value if size is the most (only?) significant difference? Will Tesla have options for a dual-motor Model = (I hope so), air suspension (maybe), and high-end seats (they better)? I can't imagine a smaller console screen; why create software and supply chain complexity? I assume the Auto Pilot option will be available too.

The battery needs to have enough range so that the Model = can use the established network without requiring infill SCs. Many stretches of freeway have a set SC spacing that challenges an S60, which I think is part of the reason Tesla is replacing that with the S70.

Another way to look at it.

Starting out I:
(A)---------------------------- 2x SC ------------------------(B)
becomes II:
(A)---------------------------- 6x SC ------------------------(B)
or III:
(A)------------2x SC----------- 2x SC ----------2x SC---------(B)
Option II should be much cheaper as you can write your first permits to account for the eventual upgrade and prepare the site the first time around (save on labor). Option II covers a certain set or range options (TB's point). Whereas III you need a new site and permit for each additional SC Site, but covers a wider variety of range options and starting points.

The Model = will be lighter (even using some steel instead of aluminum) bc. it will be around 20% smaller than the Model S. The fact that Tesla has already designed and proven the 60-kWh pack, leads me to think that it may be the M3's base BP. But, w/ the GF coming online and a new battery cell design/chemistry coming soon-day they may be able to start w/ a 50-kWh BP. I like @Red Sage's approach though. Just make the Model = the killer it can be and let everyone else try to catch up.

@grega
You are quite right that it's not the whole car that is dropping in cost by 7%. I did not mean to imply that. But, when the single most expensive component has a baked in cost savings w/o other factors that will also drive costs down, I think that is pretty exciting. One of the better articles posted on the subject projects a beneficial feedback loop where weight is concerned. This affects cost as well.

Think of it this way. In 10-20 years what will the BP be like? I think most people agree it will be lighter, cost less, charge faster, and hold more juice. Either by steady improvement for an incremental gain or by a huge leap if one of these super new batteries lives up to they hype.

I don't see ICE vehicles being able to promise that kind of shift. Most folks see PHEV or simple hybrids providing efficiency improvements, but not w/ a huge improvement in performance and driving dynamics. A vastly improved BP will provide both, performance and dynamics, while also being vastly more effecient than any ICE and likely better than any hybrid.



It would be beneficial if the Gen-III BP was incorporated into the Gen-II vehicles. Since the wheelbase of the Gen-III vehicles will allow for a BP longer than the overall 20% smaller measurement implies, it could be possible to have a new BP w/ the 10% improved/enlarged cells and fit both Gen-II and Gen-III vehicles.

I am hopeful that a middle path is available for a next-gen BP that would help M3 be as excellent as we all hope it will be, and in the process improve its bigger siblings too. M3's help may only come at the sub-pack level, but I hope it will help at the entire pack level. That pack would likely be 10% deeper/thicker, but w/ its improved density it might be able to be a bit shorter.

I do agree that the M3 will differentiate itself by being smaller, lighter and more nimble and therefore benefit from a lighter (partially depopulated) BP. So if a fully populated BP has 100 kWh w/ 10 sub-packs (to make the math easier; no idea what break down makes sense), then you simply remove three or four for a base M3. That way the management software and assembly at the factory can be simplified.

Economies of scale at the cell and chemical level may be all that is necessary, but I was taking it a step or two further. Every bit helps.

Randy Carlson: Tesla’s Real Competition
https://forums.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/randy-carlson-teslas-real-competition-seeking-alpha

RANDY CARLSON: Tesla - Gigafactory Tipping Point
https://forums.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/when-should-model-s-get-battery-size-upgrade#comment-570406

Can Tesla offer a $35K car? by @carlgo
https://forums.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/can-tesla-offer-35k-car

Residual values when model 3 arrives? by r.symons
https://forums.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/residual-values-when-model-3-arrives
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Comments

  • edited November -1
    I don't know why it would need to distinguish itself too much. I don't like how big the Model S is. So if the Model 3 is smaller and cheaper, that's all I would really care about.
  • edited November -1
    As mentioned, as stated by Elon, it will be more in line with a Audi/BMW 3 series or maybe closer to a 5 series. 20% smaller than a Model S.
    It will have no equivalent competition. Elon recently said that they are currently deciding on "how far" they want to load the features on the Model 3.
    If you're somewhat familiar with Elons personality, it was easy to read between the lines, Elon wants this Model 3 high volume car to completely blow away all the naysayers. Given his past history, he is going to do exactly that. Forget about anything any other manufactures might try to come out with. They are all 5-8 years behind in battery management technology..
    I personally hope it's more of an SUV based platform rather than a sedan based platform.
  • edited November -1
    @Rocky H
    The flip side of that concept is important too though. How will the Model S hold value if size is the most (only?) significant difference? Will Tesla have options for a dual-motor Model ≡ (I hope so), air suspension (maybe), and high-end seats (they better)? I can't imagine a smaller console screen; why create software and supply chain complexity? I assume the Auto Pilot option will be available too.

    A longer wheelbase, more interior & storage space and larger batteries are non-trivial differences. I assume that some of the interior finishes will be more basic in the base version Model ≡ too. Maybe in two years there will be more refinement and development of the Model S to make it an easier distinction.
  • edited November -1
    David;
    A Model 3-X is a rumoured follow-up, but the M3 is explicitly a family sedan.
  • edited November -1
    People keep misconstruing Elon's words. He didn't say the Model 3 would compete with the BMW 3 series, just as Tesla never said the Model S was mean to compete with the S-Class, A8, BMW etc. He said the Model 3 will be about the size and performance of the BMW 3 series. Just like the Model S, the competition would be another full size BEV, of which there is none. When the Model 3 comes out, there will similar sized BEV with the same general range.
  • edited November -1
    @JeffreyR: flagship cars have better everything and more of it. Bigger, roomier, safer quieter, faster, longer range, more comfortable... you name the component: it will be better on the expensive line.

    The 3 Seriies BMW is a lot less car than their 7 Series, but is very popular and is considered a very nice car in al important respects. The Tesla 3 will likely get the same love even if it is a cheaper car than the S.

    What will be interesting is to see if Tesla reserves the high performance, long range and autonomous driving options for the big cars, at least for awhile.
  • edited November -1
    Model E will use a super light new steal tech ...
  • edited November -1
    A slightly different take on the Model S and III discussion.

    So, you have a $50K budget to buy a car and you decide to buy a Tesla. Do you opt for a new, nicely optioned III or a pre-owned, certified, highly optioned S?
  • edited November -1
    Sort of depends on the options that will be available on the 3 at the time it is actually being sold and the options available on similarly priced CPO S models in a few years.

    And of course how desirable the Model 3 turns out to be.

    CPO cars are the wise choice assuming you like the ones that are available.
  • edited November -1
    Ø;
    What will the M3 steal?
  • edited November -1
    Ø;
    What will the M3 steal?
  • edited November -1
    @carlgo2
    <blockquote><i>"Bigger, roomier, safer, quieter, faster, longer range, more comfortable... you name the component: it will be better on the expensive line."</i></blockquote>

    I guess one of the points I was trying to make is that Tesla uses a minimalist approach so it's hard to be more comfortable. I see your other points except safer. I think Tesla will try to make the Model ≡ as safe as the Model S. Maybe the size will buy you a little more crumple zone.... I guess that goes w/ being bigger.

    <hr />

    @petero

    I think you hit the nail on the head actually. It's pretty clear that a brand new 70D is a much better car than a three-year-old 60. The good news is that a 60 is still a much better car than most brand new $50K cars, and it has improved w/ age (OTA updates!).

    I have three seven-year-olds (boy/girl twins + step-daughter), but I am trying to get back into the California real estate market. So money is tight. I think I'll be getting an older Model S when the Model ≡ comes out or a dual-motor Model ≡ if it's a lot less expensive.

    That's the conundrum though. Older, bigger w/ plus-two seats in back (kids may not fit in back at that point; we're all pretty tall) or new w/ less space. I doubt that a 2015 Model S will be that much "more" -- in Carlgo2's sense (other than size and range)-- than a 2017 Model ≡.

    <hr/>

    I think Tesla just widened the gap for the Model ≡. I think it will have a 50- or 60-kWh battery pack option to get its 200-mile "real world" range. We'll see what the Gigafactory magic can do for batteries in the meantime.
  • edited November -1
    Model ≡ will likely be:
    • Smaller
    • Quicker
    • Faster
    • More nimble
    • Have greater range
    • More reliable
    • Cost a lot less
  • edited November -1
    @Red Sage
    Do think a 2017 Model ≡ will have more range than a 2017 Model S or do think it will get better range for the same battery pack capacity? I've figured a Model S will always have a bigger BP option and a bit more range bc. of it.

    Here's to the two-door coupe version though I'll likely get a Roadster for my wife before I get a coupe.
  • edited November -1
    Generation II had both higher capacity battery packs and greater range than Generation I. I expect that Generation III will surpass Generation II. This is what Elon Musk talks about all the time: It typically takes three iterations to get something right.

    While the primary motivation is certainly to get prices down to affordable levels, and manufacturing capacity up to support more customers, Tesla Motors must both quell fears and foster the imagination.

    Numerous long held Naysayer positions against electric vehicles fell at the hands of the Tesla Roadster. More were demolished with Model S and the Supercharger network. Even more will be banished by the Model X. The last of them will be eradicated with the arrival of Model ≡.

    Greater range, better cargo handling, exceptional performance, faster charging... Satisfaction of cravings for creature comforts... All this and more will make the final case for Tesla Motors.
  • edited November -1
    Family sedan. Not a coupe.
  • edited November -1
    @ David N | April 7, 2015

    <i>Elon wants this Model 3 high volume car to completely blow away all the naysayers.

    IMO, a BEV with a 200-mile range will NOT "blow away" range anxiety of most people who want a car capable of replacing their old ICE cars. I think that's the bare minimum for competing with many ICE cars for practical road trip use.
  • edited November -1
    @Grinning said <i> IMO, a BEV with a 200-mile range will NOT "blow away" range anxiety</i>.

    I'm coming around to the idea that to blow away range anxiety, the only real option is, simply :), to be able to easily find an available supercharger. Taking 30 minutes to charge isn't 'range anxiety', it's 'charging inconvenience'.

    I would say (in agreement?) that the 200-mile battery would be a minimum range for which people would accept repeated charging (every 150miles?). But if there were 'standard' 50kW CCS chargers as frequently as petrol stations on freeways, and Tesla superchargers less frequently, it wouldn't be anxiety.

    Also for me I actually look at the 4 longest trips I've done (which I presumed were long trips), and even my longest was 201 miles (done once). The others were 130 miles. So 200 miles would do it for me, even for the longest if there was one stop. Perhaps that's why 200miles is a minimum... it's the distance to places people think of as big trips - but offset by the common perception that the mileage is further.
  • Al1Al1
    edited November -1
    I do hope it will be affordable. By affordable i don't mean pricepoint of an entry level luxary car. But the one that can compete head on with The price of a Camry which is not the cheapest car either, but seems to have found the right balance between price and functionality and works well for rich countries.
  • Al1Al1
    edited November -1
    That's how i understand generation 3. I bet Tesla can produce an upscale volt or leaf or golf today and a car way better than i3 at the same price but that would not generation 3 either.
  • edited November -1
    @ grega | April 11, 2015

    <i>@Grinning said IMO, a BEV with a 200-mile range will NOT "blow away" range anxiety.

    <i>... the only real option is ... to be able to easily find an available supercharger. Taking 30 minutes to charge isn't 'range anxiety', it's 'charging inconvenience'.

    A little over a week ago I took my first road trip in my 85D from Fairfax, VA to Wilkes Barre, PA stopping at the Hagerstown, MD SC, returning by way of of York, PA. I started with a full range charge. The SC took only about 30 minutes or so to get me back to a full charge.

    When I left the Hagerstown SC, the Tesla Nav app tried to route me back to the Dover, DE SC. Both Hagerstown and Wilkes Barre are on I81. I left the SC with plenty of range. But I wondered around, wasting about 15 miles due to the Nav misdirection. I encountered some traffic congestion along I81 and arrived at my destination (a fellow MS owner's parents' home, which had a 220-v circuit in their garage) at about 8:30 pm with 36 range miles left. I had plenty of time to recharge there with more than enough to get to York the next day. In York, I found a Tesla owner with a 220-v circuit for getting enough charge to get home the next day. I needed to drive about 6 miles each way to drop off my 85D to charge, leave it there for a few hours, and then return to get it.

    Maybe you think the situation I faced was mere inconvenience, not 'range anxiety'. But when the nav app is telling me to go to the nearest trickle charger to avoid being stranded (which it did repeatedly), I disagree.

    One thing is very certain: If I had had a battery pack with a 200-mile range, my trip would have been interrupted for at least a couple hours' delay in the evening causing me to arrive unexpectedly late to my destination. That's assuming that the nav app directed me to a working charger for me to use. I don't think Tesla keeps real-time status information on those trickle chargers.

    I respectfully disagree with your claim that I didn't experience 'range anxiety'. Not only that, if I had taken the nav app's recommendation, there is no way I could have arrived at my destination in Wilkes Barre before midnight. Possibly you think that would be good enough. I don't.
  • edited November -1
    A new battery cell format and new chemistry will give Tesla the opportunity to make a much lighter battery pack. This is due to greater capacity of the cell, and because the new height and radius will allow a denser capacity where more juice is managed by the same active cooling infrastructure.

    So a base Model ≡ w/ a 50- to 60-kWh BP could get the 200-mile range while weighing much less than a Model S. I wonder if they will have a bigger BP for the 'P' at some point or if the trim, seats, suspension and HP will be the only main differences.

    Something like this seems too complicated:
    <pre>
    M3-55D M3-70 M3-70D M3-P85D
    MS-70D MS-95 MS-95D MS-P111D
    MX-70D n/a MX-95D MX-P111D
    </pre>

    Simpler w/ only tested configurations (assumes new top-end BP):
    <pre>
    M3-60D M3-85 M3-85D M3-P85D
    MS-70D MS-100 MS-100D MS-P100D
    MX-70D n/a MX-100D MX-P100D
    </pre>

    Simpler still w/ only two types of batteries and having dual-motor be standard for Model S/X:
    <pre>
    M3-70 n/a M3-70D M3-P100D
    MS-70D n/a MS-100D MS-P100D
    MX-70D n/a MX-100D MX-P100D
    </pre>
  • edited November -1
    Grinnen stated "IMO, a BEV with a 200-mile range will NOT "blow away" range anxiety of most people who want a car capable of replacing their old ICE cars. I think that's the bare minimum for competing with many ICE cars for practical road trip use."
    I think he is correct in his overall assessment. I am not sure about "for practical road trip use." as I find it impractical for long road trips.

    In my opinion 200 mile range will be a great every day car but not good for long trips. As I stated before and Grinnin confirmed, I do not want to wait 30 - 45 min for a charge every 200 miles on a 1000 mile trip. Not to mention I drive 84mph as much as possible, getting even less than 200 miles. I plan on a m3 because I like them and have more than one car. If I only had one car, I would not even consider 200 mile range car. I understand I could take a rental but then you are just adding to the cost of ownership. Thus, taking away another selling point. Will it do well, absolutely, will it blow them away, I think not.
  • edited November -1
    I think the 200-mile range will be a base model and may be more than "just" 200 miles too. I'm hoping @Red Sage's optimism pays off. It will be interesting to see where it ends up.

    For my driving the 70D would work well. I drive from San Jose to just north of the Valley (~330 miles) to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Stopping once to eat and fill up is what I do now in my ICE. I think Atascadero makes the most sense. I do often stay the night in Agoura (or at least a long break) before heading to Oceanside (near San Diego) or Disneyland w/ the Twins. When my wife moves out West we'll have a full car w/ the "triplets" (twins + step-daughter). Worst case we'll spend a few minutes in Camarillo to SuperCharge a bit and shop at the new Whole Foods for a snack and a bathroom break.

    I think I'll end up getting a maxed out BP for charging time and re-sale value though. We'll see...
  • edited November -1
    The BMW 7 series seems to have at least $25k worth of luxury stuff that gets jettisoned to get you down to a 3 series (let's say maybe $10k is attributable to the size differences). The Model S does not. There's not much to the drive units, and savings on aluminum can't add up to that much. So I guess the mystery is how the base cost gets down to $35k and still be a family sedan with over 200 mile range and the big touch screen we expect in a Tesla.
    Huge economies of scale?
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