Model 3 Battery Sizes - Final Bets

Model 3 Battery Sizes - Final Bets

A search of this forum shows a thread from back in April of 2016 speculating on the battery size of the Model Ξ. Since it is now 2017, and the first Model Ξs will be rolling off the factory floor at the end of this year, one of the biggest questions still unanswered: What will the base battery size and options for the Model Ξ?

Here are a few facts with which to start. Tesla has stated the Model Ξ will be about twenty percent lighter and smaller, with a slightly better aerodynamic profile, a battery pack less than 60 KW, and the base model will have a real world range of 215 miles on a full charge.

Based on the known specifications and efficiency of the Model S, I estimated the following:

Model Ξ 55, EPA Estimate 215 miles, $35,000
Model Ξ 65, EPA Estimate 244 miles, $40,000

Model Ξ 55D EPA Estimate 223 miles, $37,500
Model Ξ 65D EPA Estimate 259 miles, $45,000
Model Ξ 75D EPA Estimate 293 miles, $52,500

Three versions, with two variations, would make logical sense since Tesla would want to keep its Model Ξ in line with the varying ranges of the Model S and X. I've done the math and I'm certain my estimates will be exact for battery size, within three miles of range and $2500 of the final price plus or minus for both.

This is my bet, what is yours?

janendan | January 6, 2017

Did anyone else see the Churchhill panel on YouTube discuss batteries? Tesla and SolidEnergy were represented and I got the impression that something big was coming. Then a tesla Blogger mentioned he recently heard a GF employee slip a word about a large covered machine and lithium foil in the same sentence, on a recent tour. Is the SolidEnergy Gen3 a possibility in the Spring?

andy.connor.e | January 6, 2017

The unveil range was not tested using the 2170 batteries. I suspect the base pack range to be much higher.

Red Sage ca us | January 7, 2017

I would presume they would be:

___ 1 _ A Nice Size
___ 2 _ Enough for the Job at Hand
___ 3 _ Really Frickin' Awesome Huge

And no -- I'm talking about the battery pack capacities. Get your mind out of the gutter. Geez.

dd.micsol | January 7, 2017

I'm betting on a 90 or 100 kw coming. Looking for 350 miles.

Efontana | January 7, 2017

The 55-60D range is where it wants to land.

mntlvr23 | January 7, 2017

"At least 215 miles" is so 2016's.
After the intro of the Bolt, there is no way the battery of the base M3 will come in under 240 miles.

mntlvr23 | January 7, 2017

If dual motors is not an option on the smallest battery, I would be quite upset

tgretz | January 7, 2017

I think there will only be 2 packs and they will be a 75 and a 100kw unlocked. This will offer 60 and 80kw with the option to open them up. Not worth building a separate pack with only 10kw difference. The 60/80 will be fast charging due to the extra capacity and the 75/100 will be for range/travel so people wont mind waiting 45 min or sooner(3.0)

topher | January 7, 2017

"with a slightly better aerodynamic profile" Significantly better (16%).

"will have a real world range of 215 miles on a full charge. " AT LEAST 215.

"The unveil range was not tested using the 2170 batteries." Is there any evidence it was tested at all? Also, Tesla KNEW that they were going to change over to 2170s, they included that in their estimate.

"You should probably add in the $1,200 delivery charge as it is part of the price." No, it's specifically (and legally required to be) NOT part of the price. It is part of your cost, like taxes.

"I think there will only be 2 packs and they will be a 75" That contradicts one of the few facts we have 'less than 60 kWh" Referring to Tesla's cost, so unlocking doesn't count.

So I predict:
Base Model: 55kWh (nominal; 53-59 actual) This keeps it below the brag mentioned above, without positing some huge efficiency increase.
Top Model: 90kWh (nominal) 86kWh would be just the volumetric scaling from the Model S (accounting for taller batteries). They might squeak out 95 through even more efficiency increases in the battery chemistry.
Possibly another model in between, call it 70kWh or 75kWh.

Thank you kindly.

JeffreyR | January 7, 2017

@topher +1
Great comments and I like the guesses. I'm still in the "not sure scale makes up for sw-limited battery" camp. The fact that Tesla had to raise the price of the MS-60 seems to show that more people than expected bought the sw-limited battery.
By keeping packs a little smaller than possible, you gain that much more in overall capacity. So if you shave 10% off the max (say 90-kWh vs. 100-kWh) than you can make more cars. That *might* keep Tesla from going for broke. I agree that they will likely beat the Bolt at the base. But if they can get 220 miles out of their estimated base-pack, they may stick w/ it and let the expanded battery "beat" it.

Elon is on record about ideal sizes of batteries and how more is not necessarily better. I think if they can get a 220-mile, 300-mile, and 360-mile battery they will be happy. Using EPA 5-cycle rating of course.

I would love to get a day-to-day 220-mile one, then rent a 360-mile one for road trips. Actually a 400-mile one would be ideal, but I think that's pushing it for mark-1 version.

bj | January 7, 2017

@JeffreyR - "The fact that Tesla had to raise the price of the MS-60 seems to show that more people than expected bought the sw-limited battery"

Touché. I was a little bit skeptical of the economics of 'put in a bigger battery and unlock it via s/w'. The battery is the most expensive bit of the car, putting in a larger one that might never be monetized doesn't sound like a recipe for profitability to me. You'd need to save an *awful* lot of money from tooling, economies of scale, or other efficiencies to make it work.

And it was possibly a punt by Tesla that in the cold light of day didn't quite make it. It would have been very hard to predict the take-up, they would have run the numbers on "X%" and when it turned out to be "Y%" they took it as another learning exercise.

greg | January 7, 2017


I'm sure Teslas numbers guys don't make those sorts of mistakes of costing their products that badly.

But if you are correct, then doesn't that $2000 hike for what was "15kWh" of capacity sitting there "wasted", is about 2000/15 = $133.33 per kWhr [additional "cost"] to Tesla?

Assuming they hiked the base price to cover their costs of putting in the larger pack only, and not for other reasons?

If the finished pack cost of a 7 kWHr pack is therefore $133 using 18650 cells, and Tesla said that 2170 format wll be (at least) 30 cheaper, that indicates that a 75 kWHr 2170 cell pack would be 7,500 at the pack level now?

Or did Tesla plan on using 2170 cells in the new MS 60 but went for 18650s instead hence the hike?

I don't know but I'd bet 2170 using packs will be under or close too $100 kWHr now - when everyone else is talking of #100 a kWHr at cell level coming into "view" in a couple of years, Tesla has gone better than that, today.

bmwgs | January 7, 2017

"T3 55 kWh 230 miles $36,200 (the $1,200 deliver charge is part of the price)
T3D 65 kWh 250 miles $46,000"
Seriously? 10k more for 20 mile range increase?

JLB39401 | January 7, 2017

I don't think the US $2000 price hike on the S60 was because the extra capacity in the battery meant they were losing money on the car -- Tesla apparently makes quite a nice margin even on the base models. Also, the cost to upgrade later via software is more expensive than the 'buy it now' price, which I expect neatly covers any expected loss of profits.

And having a larger-than-rated battery, even if it is software limited, provides a better charging experience, a better reserve for out-of-battery range, and more resilience against potential warranty claims. Since the cost to build the largest size battery pack is probably (especially for the Model 3) less than the option cost of even the smallest battery pack, I would be entirely unsurprised to see exactly only one pack (a 100 kWH version) manufactured for the M3. Everything else will be handled with software limits on the customers side; every upgrade will be pure margin.

JeffreyR | January 7, 2017

I'm not sure the sw-limit is the reason or only reason for the price hike. But, it seems if they were making good money on the MS-60, they would have kept the price the same. By definition they dropped some demand for the MS by raising the base price.

I think the charging benefits are the main reason why the MS-60 uptake was higher than expected. It's a great bargain for a great car that you can charge to 100% all the time (in theory) w/o paying a penalty.

reeler | January 7, 2017

I think a 55KW and 80KW for 200 or 300 mile ranges.

noleaf4me | January 8, 2017

My bet is on a 60 and a 80D. No way they have a base battery smaller than the Bolt - even just for letting GM brag that they have a bigger battery and the range is similar.

dyefrog | January 8, 2017

if the base model 3 is a 60 kilowatt battery, the range should be around 250 if the bolt can be used as a metric. It has the aerodynamics of a brick. therefore, I would guess the 55kw would be the base with a range of 240

tstolz | January 8, 2017

Tesla will exceed the Bolt for sure. Tesla doesn't like to be second in anything and it would be super easy to do since their costs are lower than GMs. I'd bet a 55 pack in the base car would exceed the Bolt at about 240 miles .. and a 300 mile pack would be an option.

Frank99 | January 8, 2017

My prediction:
55 and 70.
Tesla seems like 15 KW upgrades (60, 75, 90), so I'm guessing that the Model 3 upgrade will follow that.
The small battery will be big enough to give range equivalent to the Bolt - plus/minus a few miles.

rajpatel486 | January 8, 2017

My guess:

Model Ξ 55, EPA Estimate 225 miles, $35,000
Model Ξ 70, EPA Estimate 255 miles, $40,000

Model Ξ 55D EPA Estimate 238 miles, $37,500
Model Ξ 70D EPA Estimate 271 miles, $42,500
Model Ξ 85D EPA Estimate 310 miles, $50,000

An increase of 15 between packs makes more sense based on previous pack history. I'm also willing to bet the better pack cooling introduced in the P100D and the newer cell architecture from the 2170 cells will increase range somewhat.

JeffreyR | January 8, 2017

New cell and pack design make historical increments less meaningful. Which makes guessing fun. Part of the reason I "cheated" and guessed using range instead of pack size.

Other fun speculation here:

akgolf | January 8, 2017

Model Ξ 60, EPA Estimate 250 miles, $35,000

Model Ξ 75D EPA Estimate 285 miles, $42,500
Model Ξ 90D EPA Estimate 325 miles, $50,00

Most options will be less than the Model S and X as Elon stated earlier.

akgolf | January 8, 2017

Everything is subject to change until the next reveal.

If you can inflate the prices to suit your agenda my guess is as good as your lies, maybe better!

Pkalhan | January 8, 2017

If I can get a base battery with the dual motors and get 250 miles on a charge...I will be pumped!

Pkalhan | January 8, 2017

Though I think rajpatel486's guess is pretty good and would not be surprised if the actual is close to that.

janendan | January 8, 2017

This week, Tesla’s Elon Musk unveiled his new lithium-ion battery pack that can deliver an unprecedented 315-mile range for his electric vehicles (EVs). But SolidEnergy Systems, a new startup spun out of an MIT lab, says it is in the process of commercializing a lithium metal battery that can double the range of all existing EVs.

akgolf | January 8, 2017

They don't have a TS model?

Pkalhan | January 8, 2017

@ akgolf...he never explains who produces the T3. I have always wondered what the T3 was and hoping he would tell me, but he never does :(.

bj | January 8, 2017

I like rajpatel486's guesses too. It will be very interesting to see how many configs they offer on Model 3 in the interests of "simplicity" and not cannibalising the low end of Model S too much (yes even though they will be quite different cars).

I think it is very safe to say there will be only 2 or 3 battery sizes offered. They won't offer just one battery size, and 4 different sizes is unnecessary. The only question then is whether dual motors would be offered on all 2 or 3 pack sizes or only the larger ones.

typoxin | January 8, 2017

I'm going to support the guesses of rajpatel486. His seem pretty reasonable.

On a side note - I think there is speculation based on the investors recent meeting at the Gigafactory that the m3 launch is going to be delayed to 2018, but with the notion that it will be worth the wait as a better car. I wouldn't be surprised to see a bit higher range than expected. There will definitely be a Ludicrous mode per an Elon tweet, which means we'll see D versions for sure.

bj | January 8, 2017

@typoxin - "speculation... that the m3 launch is going to be delayed to 2018, but with the notion that it will be worth the wait as a better car"

That won't happen. The corporate reputational damage would be too horrible to contemplate. Also everyone's "My Tesla" page still says either production or delivery will start in 2017 (depending on what region you're in).

If Tesla was certain that production was going to slip to 2018 they would be obliged to reveal that market-sensitive fact, both due to listing rules and to not be sued by their customers for false and misleading information.

And if Tesla postponed production because an even better car was just around the corner they would produce nothing. That's the world of technology, especially at the early-adopter phase. Improvements come thick and fast. That's the way it is and manufacturers and customers alike just have to suck it up.

typoxin | January 8, 2017

"corporate reputational damage would be too horrible to contemplate". Too big to fail? Too much like historical Tesla missing deadlines? Nonsense. The sheer amount of vertical integration and scaling needed to make this launch happen this year is a huge logistical challenge for them. I for one, am completely willing to wait as I am sure are tens of thousands of others and this scenario is 100% possible and also plausible based many things but also the recent gigafactory meeting hinting at. It's also not like the Bolt has much of an edge and the nearest "competitors" are still even farther out from producing anything. Again non-sense to act like they are missing the boat and will "produce nothing". Do you even realize how die hard the fanbase Tesla has acquired? Half a million reservations? Their cars will sell easily, even if it's delayed will mid 2018 or more because their fans are loyal (see consumer reports on customer satisfaction and think about that). There are no better cars around the corner. Major car manufacturers are all jumping into the fray but right now it's all on pure r&d. Getting a car to launch takes years and it's not like anything else is slated to give Tesla a real run for their money this year or the next.

Let's say even if production does begin by Q4, keeping in line with Tesla's official words on the site, that is by no means a guarantee we'll see deliveries by then. Many sources are leaning towards Q1 next year at the earliest for deliveries but nobody should be surprised if it goes beyond that. Musk himself was also quoted at the meeting saying that lead time was affected by the riskiest components such as the stamping dies for body panels and seats, so that alone could also put a damper on getting it rolling on time.

bmwgs | January 8, 2017

"Many sources are leaning towards Q1 next year at the earliest for deliveries". What do you consider "many"? And please share your sources for "many".

Red Sage ca us | January 8, 2017

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is cannibalizing other flagship ICE vehicles that think they have escaped from the onslaught of Tesla Model S. Of course, S-Class sales are falling too, over the last three calendar years. They just manage to remain in 2nd place behind the Model S.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sales (U.S.)
___ 2014 _ 25,276
___ 2015 _ 21,934
___ 2016 _ 18,803

Nexxus | January 9, 2017


The "T3" is Eagles way of saying its a Tesla Model 3, instead of calling it a Model ≡ like everyone else does. He does this to get under your skin on purpose, knowing he'll get a rile out of everyone for doing so. Ignore him is the best you can do.

andy.connor.e | January 9, 2017

My guess is on




Rocky_H | January 9, 2017

I will only go so far as to predict two physical battery pack sizes, where they use software locking on one of them to provide another third size.

Octagondd | January 9, 2017

My bold prediction:

45kWh - 225 miles EPA
55kWh - 270 miles EPA
65kWh - 315 miles EPA

.21 Cd, lighter than S60, and higher energy density cell all contribute to smaller pack sizes and keep battery costs down on Model ≡.

denkav1 | January 9, 2017

Remember that Tesla needs to get the price of the base M3 down to about half of that of the base MS. And given that the battery is a very expensive part of a BEV, the smallest battery that can achieve the commitment of at least 215 mile range is my guess. With all the efficiency improvements Tesla has and is making, I think that the base M3 battery size will be 50kWh. Yes the media and GM will have a field day comparing the M3 base range to the Bolt's but the M3 will be so much better in so many ways that it won't make any difference. Tesla is in this for the long term.

johnse | January 9, 2017

My guesses:

kWh Range Price Estimated Battery cost
55 224 $35,000 $ 6325
85 347 $42,000 $ 9775
105 428 $50,000 $12075

This is based on an estimate of $115/kWh and some potential cell numbers of the newer cells. (Complete wild guesses).

Mileages are based on a slightly smaller Frontal Area and lower CD forming a 21% drag advantage for the M3, thus estimating 245 wh/mile. I did not take weight reduction into that.

I estimate current 18650 cells at about 12.6wh per cell. Direct Volumetric expansion suggests 18.6wh per 2170 cell.

If we keep the same 14 modules (84 cells series) for lower sized packs, scaling up to 16 modules (96 cells series) and also scaling out (more cells per module) I get these guestimates (thinking in units of 12 batteries when scaling out)

Per Bricks Per Modules Cells kWh Pack
Brick Module Per Pack Voltage
----- ---------- -------- ------ ----- -------
36 6 14 3024 56.1 344.4
48 6 16 4608 85.6 393.6
60 6 16 5760 106.9 393.6

(Hopefully the formatting worked)

johnse | January 9, 2017

Argh... It looks like the <pre> tag got disabled. Even old posts that used to be well formatted with it are affected.

topher | January 10, 2017

" higher energy density cell all contribute to smaller pack sizes "

Physically smaller, but NOT smaller in energy storage. If they have a higher energy density by volume, I would expect kWh to go up. A higher energy density by mass, means a lighter car less energy needed, and so perhaps a lower kWh.

Thank you kindly.

topher | January 10, 2017

"Yes the media and GM will have a field day comparing the M3 base range to the Bolt's but the M3 will be so much better in so many ways that it won't make any difference. "

If Tesla wanted to crush GM's hopes like a delicate flower, they would put a _smaller_ battery with a _longer_ range in the Model 3. I don't think they want to do that.

Thank you kindly.

andy.connor.e | January 10, 2017

topher is correct

Higher density means more kWh per batter, which means less batteries to meet the pack size (kwh), which means less weight, and more range.

johnse | January 10, 2017

I think the Bolt has a much larger frontal area and a Cd of 0.32. I think Tesla's statement of "at least" 215 miles is very conservative and that the Model 3's less-than-60kWh pack *will* have a longer range than the Bolt.

JeffreyR | January 10, 2017

@topher, @andy.connor.e, and @johnse +1

I am thinking around 55kWh, but hope for less. The 21700 cells should help keep weight down by increasing pack density--better cell configuration, less cooling overhead, better chemistry--and more efficient inverter.

eandmjep | January 11, 2017

I'll Wait for the next and Final Reveal but Awesome Discussion!

robbarros | January 11, 2017

The trick with your battery estimates and cost is: This isn't Model S, or X - both luxury cars.

Tesla has made every point possible about driving cost down with the Gigafactory and Model 3.

If a fully-loaded Model 3 busts $50,000, the very point of 'for the masses' becomes mute.

robbarros | January 11, 2017

moot. (Gotta love auto-correct).