Tesla Model III could spawn SUV and estate

Tesla's Model 3 compact executive car will lead a new range of smaller electric models to take the fight to BMW and Audi

Tesla has revealed that its new BMW 3 Series rival, the Tesla Model 3, will spawn a number of derivatives that could include an SUV and an estate in order to attract a broader spread of customers.

British-born Chris Porritt, Tesla’s vice president for engineering, told us the new small Tesla – expected to be revealed in 2016 for a 2017 launch, and hinted at in our exclusive images – is still in the early stages of development and that nothing is being ruled out.

“We don’t know what type of customer we’re trying to appeal to yet, but we want to speak to more customers… Lots of them!” he said. “We’ve got specific customers for Model S, we have an idea with Model X, but we need to appeal to more people with Model III.

"We want this car to be £30,000 to £35,000 with derivatives which will appeal to all sorts of people. SUVs, estates – who knows?”

Achieving pricing targets will be crucial for the Model III, and Tesla’s future as a whole, Porritt explained: “The type of technology we have now is quite expensive. To enable us to sell Model III for a more cost-effective price, we need to take the 
cost of building it down as well.

UK Tesla owners create power-sharing network

“We’ve got to be more efficient in the way we build it and we will have to use more cost-effective materials and/or be cleverer with the materials we use.”

A new Gigafactory, based just outside Reno in Nevada, will allow Tesla to mass produce batteries at a cheaper rate, but maintain the extended range for which the larger, 5 Series-rivalling Model S has become famous. Expect a range of between 200 and 300 miles for the Model III compact electric saloon, while Tesla is aiming for a total volume of “well over 200,000 a year”.

Beyond the Model III, Porritt was coy about a new sports car to replace the Tesla Roadster, but he didn’t rule it out. “We may do a Roadster or a sports car again, but at the moment we are on a trajectory to get more volume rather than focus on a specialist product,” he said.

Find out about the best electric cars you can buy now in our round-up story.

Recommended

Tesla adds active noise reduction tech to Model S and X
Tesla Model S and Model X
Tesla

Tesla adds active noise reduction tech to Model S and X

Tesla’s largest models get new feature activated via over-the-air software update, although only for latest examples
20 Dec 2021
Tesla Model 3 gains favour with the police
Tesla Model 3 police car - front
Tesla

Tesla Model 3 gains favour with the police

Tesla has been testing a blues-and-twos version of the Model 3 with the UK police for the past nine months – and the early results look promising
10 Dec 2021
Tesla Supercharger pilot scheme opens for other EVs in Holland
Tesla supercharger
Tesla

Tesla Supercharger pilot scheme opens for other EVs in Holland

Non-Tesla EVs can now recharge at 10 Superchargers in the Netherlands, as the company tests the waters for global roll-out
1 Nov 2021
'Tesla will have to work harder to stay at the top'
Tesla opinion
Tesla

'Tesla will have to work harder to stay at the top'

Steve Fowler points out how quickly the electric car industry is changing and what Tesla is doing to keep up
1 Nov 2021

Most Popular

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?
Ross Hollis at perfectlyprintedplates.com
Tips & advice

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?

Everything you need to know about so-called ‘4D’ number plates, including whether you’re allowed to have them on your car
25 Jan 2022
Best electric cars to buy 2022
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2022

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
10 Jan 2022
New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time
Lamborghini Countach - front
Lamborghini Countach

New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time

Lamborghini’s reborn Countach pictured on the move ahead of it arriving with customers
25 Jan 2022