While some might have liked for Tesla's upcoming, more affordable electric car to be named the Model E to complete the word (hint: Model S, Model X), Ford is preventing that to happen because of their existing trademark on the Model E name. Instead, Tesla will be gunning for BMW and calling its next EV the Model 3 (or Model III, if you prefer roman numerals).
Elon Musk puts it best: “We were going to call it model E for a while and then Ford sued us saying it wanted to use the Model E – I thought this is crazy, Ford’s trying to kill sex! So we’ll have to think of another name. The new model is going to be called Model 3, we’ll have three bars to represent it and it’ll be S III X!”
For those of you who would like a Tesla but can't afford a Model S, a little more patience will be required. The Model III will be unveiled in 2016, but it'll only go on sale in 2017. It's expected to be about 20% smaller than the S and have a price range around $35,000, which isn't that much if you take into account the fuel and maintenance savings (probably closer gasoline car in the 25k range, which is a pretty mainstream price point).
It'll likely be built on a new platform and use new battery technology made at the Gigafactory. This might allow it to get a driving range that is similar to the Model S, but with a cheaper and smaller battery pack. By then, the Model S will probably also be upgraded to the newer battery technology and either get more range or a lower price point.
There's also some news about the Roadster, the electric car that originally put Tesla on the map. Elon Musk isn't forgetting about those customers and has revealed plans to upgrade the battery pack, saying that the original Roadster now uses what is considered "old battery tech", and with a newer battery pack it could get 400 miles per charge, or enough to drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco non-stop.
Just imagine if every few years you existing vehicle kept being upgraded, getting better all the time... This seems to be Tesla's modus operandi now...
In other Tesla news today: White House responds to petition asking for Tesla to be able to sell in all 50 states