Elon Musk waded into the Model 3 hype with a little bit of cold water on Friday, reminding fans that while the car is impressive, it’s not a new generation of Tesla. The $35,000 vehicle, expected to be the company’s entry-level model for a broader audience, is expected to go into production this summer, but that does not mean it’s a step above the Model S.
“Am noticing that many people think Model 3 is the “next version” of a Tesla, like iPhone 2 vs 3,” Musk said on Twitter Friday morning. “This is not true.”
Instead, the Model 3 will be a “smaller, more affordable” version of the Model S. It will have fewer features, lower range, less power, and the technology will be less advanced than its more expensive sibling.
The display is one example. Where the Model S has two computer screens, one inside the dashboard on the driver’s side, the Model 3 only has one in the center of the dashboard. Musk said that a second screen on the driver’s side becomes less relevant with self-driving capabilities.
The company’s entry-level model will lack the same power as previous vehicles. Musk said that a performance version of the Model 3 will arrive “probably a year from now,” but that the Model S version would still blow it out of the water on the acceleration front due to a larger battery.
But that doesn’t mean it’s going to lack some of Tesla’s more cutting-edge features. Musk confirmed that the Model 3 would receive the same self-driving capabilities as other models produced since October. Through a future update expected for this year, Tesla will enable fully autonomous cross-country road trips.
Musk also said that the car nearly had a more tongue-in-cheek name. He wanted to call it the Model E “for obvious dumb humor reasons,” as it would have meant the company’s three current model names would spell out “SEX.”
Unfortunately, Ford sued to block Tesla from using the Model E trademark in May 2016. Ford trademarked the Model E name several months after Tesla, but it has yet to use the name for any shipping cars. Rumors suggest the automaker is gearing up to release an electric car under the brand.
To satisfy fans eagerly clutching their reservation tickets, Musk also shared a video of a release candidate Tesla Model 3 in action, the first time the world has seen a non-prototype version of the vehicle.
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