Tesla Model 3 will be available in two variants: sedan and crossover

Tesla’s chief technical officer JB Straubel announced that the $35,000 sedan is being cross-developed with an upcoming crossover variant as well.

7/8/15 5:00 am chumakdenis 1

Tesla’s chief technical officer JB Straubel, while speaking at the EIA Energy Conference in Washington DC, shed a little more light on the company's Model 3.

It turns out that the Tesla Model 3 won't just be a sedan - there'll be a crossover version as well. That suggests that the Model 3 line will basically function as a lite version of the Model S and Model X portfolio when it finally comes to market later this decade.

A few words about the Model 3

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Tesla Model 3 is a long-promised mass-market electric vehicle designed to take Tesla from a niche player to a high-volume automaker, and it's not an exaggeration to say that the company's long-term viability hinges on its success: Elon Musk has promised that the Model 3 will deliver at least 200 miles (321 kilometers) of range for $35,000 without rebates, making it a far more accessible vehicle than the Roadster, P85D and some other vehicles.

However, the details of the Model 3 have been scarce, and Straubel didn't offer much beyond the revelation that it'll come in multiple flavors; he did say that Tesla has models planned beyond the Model 3, but of course it does – automakers are perpetually working on new cars.

In the shorter term, the Model X crossover is expected to make its first customer deliveries toward the end of this year, and sticks to Musk's subjective that the company is on target for those deliveries after several missed deadlines.

Why crossover model?

4218.jpgWe didn’t expect that Tesla Motors will be selling Model 3 in crossover version.

However, if you’ll look at numbers (below), you’ll understand such turn:

In 2015, 7,044,585 light vehicles have been sold in the US, with only 46% of those being cars.

- Light duty trucks - 3,779,912
- Passenger cars - 3,264,673

Of those 3.77 million light duty trucks sold through May, 2,431,284 of them were Crossovers/SUVs.  Breaking down sales trends for 2015 even further, the growing dominance of the crossover/SUV platform in the US over the common car is even clearer.

– Crossover/SUVs +12.6%
– Light duty trucks   +10.0%
– Passenger cars -1.3%

Tesla’s plans for the future

Tesla Motors has definitely big shoes to fill.

In a way of example, Tesla’s chief technical officer JB Straubel said that the company looks to sell 500,000 electric vehicles a year by the end of this decade – crazy number, isn’t it?

The bulk of these sales will come from the Model 3 platform, which is expected to launch in late 2017.

Well, good luck with that.

The more Tesla’s vehicles on the market, the better it is.

Let’s hope that Tesla Motors will manage to sell that much vehicles and will be facing less challenges.

Just to remind you: recently the company faced cash burn, which blew through $500 million in the first quarter of 2015 alone.

Nonetheless, Tesla secured up to $750 million in additional funding, so we do think that everything will be just fine.

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