Sunday, January 18, 2015

Predicting What The Tesla Model 3 Will Do

While the Detroit Auto Show was beaming with high power debuts, Chevy took the show as an opportunity to go beyond its second generation Volt and present its Bolt concept with the promise of 200 miles of all electric range for only thirty (gov. assisted) thousand dollars. This works out to be about four times the range of the second generation Volt for the same money. While impressive, Elon Musk made a promise of his own that the eventual Tesla Model 3 will be even cheaper than the Bolt with a starting price of 35,000 before any incentives. With Chevy throwing down the gauntlet and following  and previous forecasting fun, let's see what an eventual Tesla Model 3 might bring to the table power and performance wise. Range is king for EVs and with Chevy hoping for hoping for 200 miles of range and Nissan mentioning 240 for its next Leaf there is no way that Tesla will go under 200 as the Model S is EPA rated at 208 in its base form. To hit that number and keep the 35,000 starting price Tesla would most likely use one of the Model S D's motors, either 188 or 221 horsepower should be the minimum for the base Model 3. Given a few more years of development and that number might climb closer to around 250, in the ballpark for entry level engines in premium models from Audi, BMW, Mercedes and others. A dual motor high performance Model 3 D with a pair of motors in the front and in the back seems all but guaranteed, giving it around 400-450 horsepower, again in the ballpark of RS5, M3 and C63 AMG. Given the price point the smaller Model 3 will likely use less exotic materials and construction than the Model S but will come with a smaller battery back too (figure 40-50 kWh) so its weight could be as little as 3,800 pounds to start if it's not all steel. With just a single electric motor of the stronger variety the Model 3 would likely get to 60 in about 6.5 seconds with a 1/4 mile in the low 15 second mark at just a little over 90 mph. About as good as any non-Tesla EV on the market today. Doubling the power with a dual motor set up upfront or using a more powerful Model S motor at the back should push a potential Model 3 P to 60 in the high 3 second range (say 3.7) and clear the quarter mile in about 12 seconds at around 111 mph. Once again in the ballpark of performance Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus and Mercedes models. We are years away from seeing official Model 3 specs and pricing and eventual performance validation, but it's all but guaranteed that it will end up a significantly more aesthetically pleasing design than Chevy's eventual Bolt*. Stay tuned for Model X performance preview later this week!

A little BMW i3, a little old Mercedes A Class, a little Renault, Tesla Can Do Better
*This is based on the thought that the Model 3 will be to the Model S what the A5 Sportback and 4 series Gran Coupe are to the A7 and 6 Gran Coupe. Musk mentioned that the Model 3 will be 20% smaller than the Model S making it BMW i3 sized at which point styling gets difficult and a performance version silly. It's hard to see it be quite that small but rather 20 inches shorter in length based on the brand's design scheme and positioning.


  1. Model 3 will do 0-65 in 5 secs and range of 450 miles

  2. Really hoping that the 3D becomes a reality!