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

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

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 <60 kWh (likely 55 kWh) https://electrek.co/2016/04/26/tesla-model-3-battery-pack-cost-kwh/
 • "While Model 3 will be our newest car, it isn’t 'Version 3' or the next generation Tesla. Our higher priced premium models still include the most advanced technology and the best driving experience we have to offer." https://www.tesla.com/blog/model-s-or-model-3
 • No HUD nor driver dashboard

POST UNVEILING EVENT UPDATE

 • 215-mile EPA range, base
 • Below 6-second 0-60 acceleration, base
 • Trunk instead of hatchback
 • Dual-motor optional; test drives at The Unveiling were in AWD cars
 • Single, 15-inch display in landscape instead of 17-inch plus dash
 • Autopilot hardware w/ safety features included
 • Supercharger capable (Tesla is still figuring out if it will charge for it)
 • Seats five adults comfortably
 • Has continuous pieces of glass from front to back (body color and sunroof mentioned in test drive video)
 • Front like Model X but still unique
 • Manual recessed door handles

Performance and range specs above are minimum targets that Tesla hopes to surpass.

Elon is "fairly confident" they will be delivered by the end of next year.

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

 

DIFFERENT FROM A SMALLER MODEL S

Elon has stated that he would like the Model ≡ to be much more than a smaller Model S. Tesla has also said they expect the Model ≡ to be about 20% smaller, use steel in the frame to save on costs, start at $35K and get at least 200 miles of "real world" range. Tesla will be of introducing an all-new motor. In addition, I believe that the Model S/X will get an increased battery option 75- to 100-kWh and the Model ≡ will take the 55- to 75-kWh battery pack options.

Tesla's minimalist approach along with their desire to not only be a little better, but a whole lot better will drive the Model ≡ to be a great car. How will it compare to the Model S?

 

SOME GUESSES

This section has evolved quite a bit from my initial bad guesses. The webmaster removed the strike tag, so there is no way to cross-out old text. So for clarity sakes I have just updated below to reflect recent BP sizes.

OPTION I
M3-55_____ | M3-65/D___ | M3-75D_____ | M3-P75DL
MS-75/D___ | MS-90D___ | MS-100D____ | MS-P100DL
MX-75D___  | MX-90D___  | MX-100D____ | MS-P100DL

Note that there is a middle size and base version M3 does not get a dual-motor AWD option.

OPTION II
M3-55/D___ | M3-75/D___  | M3-P75DL
MS-75/D___ | MS-100/D__ | MS-P100DL
MX-75D___ | MX-100D___ | MS-P100DL

Note that there would be only two batter size options, and so dual-motor becomes a bigger way to differentiate.

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

 

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-mod...

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-co...

RANDY CARLSON: Tesla - Gigafactory Tipping Point
https://forums.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/when-should-model-s-get-batt...

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...

Rocky_H | April 7, 2015

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.

David N | April 7, 2015

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.

JeffreyR | April 7, 2015

@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.

Brian H | April 7, 2015

David;
A Model 3-X is a rumoured follow-up, but the M3 is explicitly a family sedan.

jordanrichard | April 9, 2015

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.

carlgo2 | April 9, 2015

@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.

FREE ENERGY | April 10, 2015

Model E will use a super light new steal tech ...

petero | April 10, 2015

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?

carlgo2 | April 10, 2015

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.

Brian H | April 10, 2015

Ø;
What will the M3 steal?

Brian H | April 10, 2015

Ø;
What will the M3 steal?

JeffreyR | April 10, 2015

@carlgo2
"Bigger, roomier, safer, quieter, faster, longer range, more comfortable... you name the component: it will be better on the expensive line."

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.

@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 ≡.

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.

Red Sage ca us | April 10, 2015

Model ≡ will likely be:
• Smaller
• Quicker
• Faster
• More nimble
• Have greater range
• More reliable
• Cost a lot less

JeffreyR | April 10, 2015

@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.

Red Sage ca us | April 10, 2015

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.

Brian H | April 11, 2015

Family sedan. Not a coupe.

Grinnin'.VA | April 11, 2015

@ David N | April 7, 2015

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.

grega | April 11, 2015

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

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.

Al1 | April 11, 2015

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.

Al1 | April 11, 2015

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.

Grinnin'.VA | April 19, 2015

@ grega | April 11, 2015

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

... 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.

JeffreyR | April 19, 2015

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:

M3-55D M3-70 M3-70D M3-P85D
MS-70D MS-95 MS-95D MS-P111D
MX-70D n/a MX-95D MX-P111D

Simpler w/ only tested configurations (assumes new top-end BP):

M3-60D M3-85 M3-85D M3-P85D
MS-70D MS-100 MS-100D MS-P100D
MX-70D n/a MX-100D MX-P100D

Simpler still w/ only two types of batteries and having dual-motor be standard for Model S/X:

M3-70 n/a M3-70D M3-P100D
MS-70D n/a MS-100D MS-P100D
MX-70D n/a MX-100D MX-P100D

bigd | April 19, 2015

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.

JeffreyR | April 19, 2015

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...

Madatgascar | April 19, 2015

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?

grega | April 19, 2015

@Grinnin'.VA said"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."

Not at all. That's not what I meant or said.

"I respectfully disagree with your claim that I didn't experience 'range anxiety'."

Not my claim. Let me take an extreme example to make sure you understand what I do claim. If there was a supercharger at every petrol station you saw, you would not have had range anxiety. But waiting 30 minutes to charge may have been inconvenient.

Would that be true for your situation? If I'm safe on that comment, then we agree, but just had a misunderstanding.

I'm saying a 400mile car will still give range anxiety when the charge is low if it's hard to find a charger. To solve range anxiety, chargers need to be easy to find and get to, regardless of battery size.

Your example required significant thought to make sure you didn't get stuck, plus you had misdirections from the nav system, and had to use slow charging options. That'd make me anxious.

grega | April 19, 2015

@bigd wrote: In my opinion 200 mile range will be a great every day car but not good for long trips. .... 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.

Further to my comment above - being forced to pull over and charge often at easily available SCs is "charging irritation" - and even then still a very important thing! (especially if it happens frequently). Being forced to carefully plan your trip and change your route just to make sure the car doesn't run out of charge.... and concern that if you change your route at all (or get stuck in a traffic jam) that you'll be in trouble... that's anxiety!

There aren't enough chargers, so huge range becomes much more important.

Madatgascar | April 20, 2015

It's true there aren't enough chargers now, but we are talking about a 2017 launch, and if you extrapolate the pace of SC rollouts to 2017 there should be plenty. The battery needs to have enough range so that the Model 3s 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. I think Tesla will want to focus on energizing new freeways, not go back to already supercharged freeways and fill in dots between the dots. For that reason alone, the Model 3 can't have a range of less than 200 miles. I suspect the range will be 240 or more.

JeffreyR | April 20, 2015

+1 @tbouquet
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 M≡'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.

Madatgascar | April 20, 2015

But it begs the question: where the heck do you cut $40k from the base price? The entire battery on the model S is only about $20k, and there are no frills to cut - only size.

Grinnin'.VA | April 20, 2015

@ grega | April 19, 2015

@Grinnin'.VA said"Maybe you think the situation I faced was mere inconvenience, ... I disagree."
Not at all. That's not what I meant or said. ... we agree, but just had a misunderstanding.

Evidently I misunderstood you post; evidently we agree on this.

I'm saying a 400mile car will still give range anxiety when the charge is low if it's hard to find a charger.

Yes, but with a 400-mile car you have a lot more territory you can cover before you need a charge than in a 200-mile car. And naturally, most folks would look for a break for food, etc well before driving 400 miles in one stretch. With 400-mile card, charging stops could be about twice as far apart without causing any more inconvenience on long road trips. (I'd usually want a 30-60 minute stop every 300-400 miles anyway.)And short road trips of a mere 300 miles wouldn't require any "charging stops" at all.

Hence a 400-mile range would substantially reduce 'range anxiety' for most long road trip travelers.

JeffreyR | April 20, 2015

@tbouquet +1

That's the reason I did this OP. The BMW 3-Series vs. 7-Series example is pretty telling. Lots of fat (luxury gizmos) and a much different drive feel make the 3 and 7 easy to differentiate.

I moved my comments here to OP instead....

Brian H | April 20, 2015

Grinnin';
Yeah, no matter the battery size it's always possible to run it low in the wrong place and become anxious. But I think that falls into the "deliberate" category! Your basic point seems to be that the large battery increases options and possibilities. The question is whether the current range etc. permits routing in such a way as to avoid stranding; the new software attempts to stick with those routes and warn when the driver opts to abandon them.

Bikezion | April 21, 2015

Ok these are WAG mathmatical assumptions.
25% profit margin Model S
60. 70,000 base price, cost Tesla 52,500 to make -18,000 = 34,500 rolling chassis
70D. 75,000 base price, cost Tesla 56,250 to make. -21,000= 35,250
85. 80,000. 60,000. -25,500 = 34,500
85D. 85,000. 63,750. -25,500 = 38,250
P85D 105,000. 78,750. -25,500 = 53,250 ( ok maybe a little more profit in this one!)
Battery price assumptions
$300/kWh
60 $18,000
70 $21,000
85 $25,500

Model E/3
20% smaller rolling chassis price, 27,600, 20% volume manufacturing 22,080
50kWh BP at 50% $150/kWh $7,500 + 22080= 29,580
$35,000 base price at 15% profit margin = $29,750

JeffreyR | April 21, 2015

@Bikezion +1
I've seen similar math from @Red Sage too. I think it comes down to can the GF get their $/kWh down as much as they hope? For example, using your assumptions a 60-kWh BP would cost $9K (too high), but if you can improve the costs to $125/kWh you land at your $7500.

Elon claims BP costs will be at least 30% lower due to reduced shipping and taxes/tariffs, and increased efficiency from single factory and economies of scale.

I think a 50-kWh BP is a good start, but not a great start. If they start there the chassis and other stuff will need to be pretty light. The new chemistry and format (denser kWh/kg BP) may save a bit of weight already. The 70D has an EPA-5 240-mile range. I am hopeful the lighter M≡ will be able to start near there too.

What's the formula for efficiency to calculate what the M≡ needs to achieve to get 230 miles of range on a 50- or 60-kWh BP?

Red Sage ca us | April 21, 2015

bouquet wondered, "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?".

In short: YES.

Longer answer: Turn the telescope around. Instead of looking at how a 3-Series is 'chopped down' from a 7-Series, look at how it is built up instead. Compare a BMW 320i to a Toyota Camry LE. There is not much difference, accept the BMW is rear wheel drive, and the Toyota costs $10,000 less. So do the base versions of other cars, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, etc.

Those cars hover around a $22,000 price point at entry level. I'm told the build cost on a BMW 3-Series 'roller', a vehicle without drivetrain, happens to be about $22,000. So, if a Model ≡ can be fully outfitted with chassis & interior for under $22,000 Tesla Motors will be poised for success. The battery pack could add thousands to the bulid cost and still be proifitable.

If the base price were to be $34,900 then a total build cost of $29,665 would yield a 15% margin. At $130 per kWh, a 60 kWh battery pack would cost Tesla $7,800 -- and JB Straubel intimated their current cost is 25% of the car price. Hmmm... $22,000 + $7,800 = $29,800 -- right in the ballpark. Because even if it cost $31,200 to build the whole car, Tesla would enjoy nearly an 11% profit per car -- on the base version.

BMW builds roughly 350,000 of the 3-Series per year. It is their best selling vehicle worldwide. It is the top selling vehicle in class. So, if Tesla Motors expects to challenge that ranking by building 500,000 of Model ≡ per year by 2020, that gets them down to the same economies of scale as BMW enjoys, if not better.

I believe the initial cost for battery packs from the Gigafactory will be under $130 per kWh.

Timo | April 21, 2015

Battery price assumption is a bit high IMO. I suspect that Tesla gets their batteries for $200/kWh now. Much cheaper once gigafactory is finished.

Brian H | April 22, 2015

Elon also said he would be very surprised and disappointed if it took a whole decade to get battery costs down under $100/kWh.

Grinnin'.VA | April 22, 2015

@ Brian H | April 22, 2015

Elon also said he would be very surprised and disappointed if it took a whole decade to get battery costs down under $100/kWh.

Yes. The only question about that statement is: "When did this decade start?

IMO, a reasonable interpretation of that would be a projection of 2022 as the expected year when Tesla delivers a Tesla battery costing $100/kWh. That would be in 2022. Of course, we should expect Tesla to sell their batteries at prices higher than their costs. I'd guess that they will probably sell their improved batteries at prices 150% - 200% of their costs. That could be a 100 kWh battery pack priced at $15,000 - $20,000.

Do you agree or disagree? Please explain your expectation.

Brian H | April 24, 2015

Not sure it's relevant; he was speaking in the context of the wider observation that at that level EVs will have better than parity costs with ICEmobiles in providing transportation. It will be "game over", were his words previously. Others put that retail level at about $140, IIRC.

Red Sage ca us | April 26, 2015

Whenever I speak of dollars per kWh I mean Tesla Motors' internal cost. At $130 per kWh or less, Tesla will be able to offer a very capable car at a profitable $34,900 retail price. That improves to a spectacular vehicle at $100 per kWh or less, whether moving upscale or to lower price point markets.

I do not believe Tesla Motors is currently interested in selling automotive battery packs at retail. I doubt they will show interest in that endeavor if battery swap locations do not become widespread. Thus, the perceived/projected retail cost of the battery pack itself is moot.

There are numerous guesstimications regarding Tesla Motors' current internal cost. I have seen those range from $180-$240 per Wh. So, a 30% reduction with the Gigafactory would move those cost range points to $126-$168 per kWh.

This is significant because last year some egghead know-it-all picked a number from the sky last year and announced that in his opinion there was 'no way' the Gigafactory would pan out and that it would be a full decade -- 2024 or later, at least -- before anyone would reach a $178 per kWh cost point. I expect it was his announcement that led to the line of questioning about Tesla's cost dropping below $100 per kWh 'some day'... And Elon's subsequent answer.

Think of it this way... If on the low end, Tesla Motors enjoys a $126 per kWh price point from the moment the Gigafactory opens in 2016... And there is only a 7% improvement beyond that per year... Their cost would drop to under $95 in only four years... And under $88 per kWh the following year. That is six years from now, to reach less than half of a supposed current amount.

JeffreyR | April 26, 2015

@Red Sage

You gotta love margins on a car where you know your costs will drop 7% almost baked into the car. No other car company has this advantage bc. they have jumped on the BEV bandwagon. Even the Leaf and i3 do not improve as easily as they use custom, large-sized batteries instead of chaining together standard ones.

It will be interesting to see if or how Apple's new layered approach will affect automotive batteries.

Red Sage ca us | April 27, 2015

Indeed, and those calculations are based upon the Gigafactory only offering a 30% reduction to start. Elon Musk is certain that is a minimum. He's indicated a hope it drops their costs by 40%-to-50% from the outset, or very shortly thereafter.

That means their cost would fall from the current projections of $180-$240 per Wh to perhaps a $108-$144 per Wh, or even as low as a $90-$120 per Wh range. Just from opening the Gigafactory in 2016, ahead of the release of Model ≡.

With costs that low, Tesla might choose to offer a 100 kWh version of Model ≡ to start. As long as it cost a dime under $40,000 it would be a hit. Then they could follow that up with a lower cost 60 kWh version that still managed an EPA rated 225+ miles of range.

And both would sport a serious margin, well above the industry average. So the company would reach profitability that much sooner than projected.

wirmish | April 29, 2015

Maybe the 3 model will look like this...

Original link: http://tinyurl.com/l4cjxwm

"Avant même sa présentation officielle, auto-moto.com vous dévoile en exclusivité la prochaine berline Tesla, 100 % électrique."

"Before even its official presentation, auto-moto.com unveils in exclusivity the next 100% electric Tesla sedan."

grega | April 29, 2015

Hi @JefferyR. You wrote "You gotta love margins on a car where you know your costs will drop 7% almost baked into the car. "

Just to be a bit pedantic... if @RedSage's optimism proves true, and it's $126/kWh from the onset, then a 60kWh Model ≡'s battery pack would cost $7560 of the cars cost. So if the car cost $25k for example (and sells for $35k), the 7% battery cost reduction would be 2% of the car.

Unlike RedSage, I personally doubt Tesla will be able to make the car or battery so cheaply at first - but he'll still want to sell the car he's promised. So more likely he'll use his expected costs after 18 months to determine his costs and required price, and have a little too little margin to start with.

Red Sage ca us | April 29, 2015

That's almost how Bob Lutz puts it... You look at the profitability of an automotive product line/platform with an eye toward the total number of units you intend to sell over and its effective lifespan. That being four, five, eight, or ten years. There is the initial profitability per unit, but there is also a projected minimum for an aggregate, cumulative profitability to justify its existence. You don't take all the design, testing, tooling, manufacturing, diustribution, and facility costs, divide them by the first few hundred cars off the assembly line, then claim that each car is 'losing' $50,000,000 for the company. But don't worry -- there will undoubtedly be some intrepid nimrod of a so-called 'journalist' that will proclaim the Model ≡ cost taxpayers millions of dollars to build some day.

grega | April 29, 2015

Yes journalists will undoubtedly say whatever outrages people and gets them readers.

What I mean is that the technology in most cars doesn't drop in price as significantly as the batteries are likely to do over the coming years. But as you point out, aiming at a time in the future is already done for other reasons, so isn't as big a change really.

In any case, a continually improving margin isn't as amazing as it sounds once everything is factored in.

JeffreyR | April 29, 2015

@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.

JeffreyR | April 29, 2015

RANDY CARLSON- TESLA’S REAL COMPETITION. –SEEKING ALPHA. A+
http://my.teslamotors.com/it_IT/forum/forums/randy-carlson-teslas-real-c...

Gigafactory Tipping Point (about third of the way down)
http://my.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/when-should-model-s-get-battery-s...

FREE ENERGY | May 18, 2015

A radical design, for sure ! Fristly !

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