PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — Tesla Motors, makers of luxury and performance electric cars, will now have a smaller fourth version Model 3 priced at $35,000 to compete with the BMW 3 Series and priced at the same level as a loaded Toyota Prius, making owning a Tesla much more plausible for the rest of us.
A Toyota Prius loaded as featured on Toyota’s site, goes for $34,700, making the new Tesla Model 3 a real competitor for average drives who would never consider the $80,000 price tag of the flagship Model S.
The company confirmed the news via Twitter, with the exclusive announcement going to the UK’s Auto Express. Auto Express also mocked up photos of the Model 3.
Company founder Elon Musk, also of PayPal and SpaceX fame, told the publication the name has to do with SEX.
“We had the model S for sedan and X for crossover SUV, then a friend asked what we were going to call the third car,” said Musk to Auto Express. “So I said we had the model S and X, we might as well have the E.”
But, with Ford having a Model E, Musk went with Model 3, however they plan to write it III, so they can still show their offering as S III X in an homage to double entendre enthusiasts everywhere.
Expect to see it in 2016, and buy it in 2017.
The car should be about 1/5th smaller than the Model S (pictured above with this story), and still get a range of 200 miles. The new Tesla Gigafactory technology played a key role in lowering the prices.
Tesla also was quick to clarify that the images used in Auto Express were mock-ups of how it might look by the magazine, and not actual photos. The image associated with this story shows the larger Model S, but in the Tweet below, you can see an artist’s rendition of the new Model 3.