The new Tesla Model 3 has been teased ahead of its debut on March 31 (April 1, Australian time) at an event in Los Angeles.
According to Automotive News, the Model 3 shown in LA will be a working prototype.
This teaser image was posted to the company’s Facebook and Twitter profiles, and places a silhouetted Model 3 alongside its future showroom companions, the Model S sedan and the Model X SUV. If the teaser is true to scale, the Model 3 will be marginally narrower and shorter than the Model S.
Although the Model 3 will be displayed in the coming weeks, it won’t start filtering into showrooms and owners’ driveways until 2017. The company is expected to start taking deposits for the car at its unveiling event in Los Angeles.
Last year, after a series of presentation slides were leaked, a Tesla spokesperson confirmed to InsideEVs that production of the Model 3 is slated to begin in late 2017 and ramp up to full production in 2018.
This timeline dovetails with the lithium-ion battery Gigafactory that the company is building with Panasonic outside Sparks, Nevada. Tesla says the battery plant will come online in 2017, but won’t reach maximum production until 2020.
The Model 3 is expected to sport lithium-ion batteries made in its new Nevada factory and have a range of around 320 kilometres. The Model S, by comparison, has a quoted range of between 420 and 550km.
Above: One of the Model 3’s competitors, the BMW 3 Series sedan
The Model 3 will slot in underneath the Model S, both in terms of size and pricing. The new sedan will be targeted, at least in the States, right at the heart of the luxury sedan market, with pricing that will pitch it into battle with the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS and others.
In February, Khobi Brooklyn, a Tesla spokeswoman, confirmed to Bloomberg that in the US the base model Model 3 will start from US$35,000 ($47,000) before government incentives. Depending on where you live in the States, state and federal incentives for electric cars can net buyers up to US$7500 ($10,000) in rebates.
Above: Chevrolet Bolt
The Model 3 will also face competition in the US and Europe from the Chevrolet Bolt/Opel Ampera-e, which features a range of 320km. The Chev hatch will be priced from US$37,500 ($49,700) prior to government incentives, and will go on sale in the States from late 2016.
The Model 3 is expected to be offered in Australia, but – as with Tesla’s other models – larger markets, such as the US and Europe, will be the initial focus for output and sales.