Tesla Model 3 unveiling March 31: Everything you need to know

Tesla has confirmed it will unveil its next all-electric vehicle later this month. We have compiled all the rumors and snippets of information from Tesla's not-so-secretive CEO.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor

Tesla Model S

Tesla is on the verge of unveiling its next all-electric vehicle. The company confirmed on Friday it will unveil the Model 3 sedan at an event on March 31.

Elon Musk, founder and CEO, hasn't been secretive about the Tesla Model 3, revealing snippets of information ahead of its arrival in late-2017.

On a budget and mass market

The Model 3 will be the company's fourth vehicle and will be aimed at the budget crowd, rather than the high-end market like the Tesla Roadster, Model S sedan, and Model X SUV.

Musk has revealed the Model 3 will cost $35,000 before incentives. As we've broken down before, the incentives for electric vehicles can be effective in saving money before they expire in 2018.

What customers will pay depends on whether one's tax situation enables federal credit eligibility and the place of residence for purchase, regarding potential state perks. On the extreme end, a Colorodan could purchase a Model 3 for $21,500.

Musk has revealed in the past the Model 3 won't feature many bells and whistles -- at first. Many automakers follow a similar trim system, offering more features for a higher price.


Musk said "more adventurous" models of the Model 3 will come.

"We don't want the delays that affected the Model X to affect the Model 3," Musk said during a financial call with analysts in February, describing some of the issues it's had with the SUV's Falcon Wing doors.

At $35,000, Tesla will have the ability to go after the all-new, all-electric 2017 Chevy Bolt unveiled in January and set to debut in late 2016 for $37,500.

"The Model 3 is critical to Tesla's ability to transition to niche to a higher-volume car maker," said Stifel analyst Jamie Albertine.

Size and range

The Model 3 will continue Tesla's tradition of being all-electric, and it will have a range of 200 miles. To compare the Bolt will have a range of "more than 200 miles".


Tesla Model X

Tim Stevens/CNET

Musk hasn't detailed the design of the Model 3 or released any images of the car, but it's likely to take concepts from the Model S and Model X to make the smaller sedan.

Tesla CTO JB Straubel has compared the design of the Model 3 to the BMW 3-series and Audi A4. It will be a smaller sedan for city commuting, and the 200 mile range should help cure "range anxiety".

A Tesla Motors Club forum poster also claimed to have gained some new information from a company "insider", who says the Model 3 looks like a smaller Model S, and has fewer luxury features. The insider also claims Tesla may show a stripped down Model X SUV called the Model Y at its March event.


Analysts and investors have voiced concern that Tesla won't have the battery supply to build enough Model 3s to be meaningful to its bottom line -- Tesla disagrees.

"The Tesla Gigafactory was born of necessity and will supply enough batteries to support our projected vehicle demand," the company says in a description of the factory on its website.

The Gigafactory is home to the manufacturing of Tesla batteries.


"Basically, to the best of our knowledge, you should not worry about the Gigafactory as a constraint on Model 3," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during the company's most recent earnings call (according to Reuters' transcript). "That does not appear to be anywhere near the critical path for Model 3."

Tesla expects to sell a total of 500,000 vehicles by 2020.


Tesla has confirmed that on April 1 customers will be able to pre-order the Model 3 online before it hits the streets in late-2017. We assume this pre-order system works on a first come, first serve basis.

Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the event date as March 30.

The Internet of Things: Cool connected cars

Editorial standards