It’s been a good long while since we’ve heard any news regarding the forthcoming 2017 Tesla Model 3: Tesla Motors’ third-generation electric vehicle, with a more agreeable (approx. $35,000 US) price tag. Indeed, with the Model X electric crossover inbound sometime late in Q3, we’d nearly forgotten about the mysterious, affordable electric sedan.
And then, an article published in The Wall Street Journal brought the Tesla Model 3 right back into the spotlight, when the news outlet stated that the third-generation EV from Palo Alto would be offered as both a sedan and a crossover.
The Tesla Model 3 is targeting a range of 200+ miles on a single charge, and while the intended price of just $35,000 before incentives is ambitious, it’s hoped that the Tesla Gigafactory will see to that by driving lithium-ion battery costs down through sheer production scale. That might serve as at least one catalyst for lithium-ion batteries to “become the predominant and primary fuel for light vehicles” within the next few years, says Tesla Motors Chief Technical Officer JB Straubel.
Speaking of economies of scale, The Wall Street Journal also reports that Mr. Straubel is confident there could be more than a million Tesla Motors vehicles on the road by 2020, with half-a-million unit sales per annum by that time.
But of course, all this growth comes at a price. The Tesla Model 3, Model X, and Reno, Nevada-based Gigafactory have drawn substantial investment from a company which sells in only modest quantities. Standard & Poor’s has given Tesla Motors a B- corporate credit rating, but with a stable outlook. The firm said that “the company could still [likely] tap additional sources of liquidity over the next 12 months to fund its ongoing growth investments.”