Was Tesla Model 3 Design Actually Revealed Back In 2010 By Tesla? (w/video)

1 year ago by Eric Loveday 28

Clay Model Of What Would Later Become Tesla Model 3

Clay Model Of What Would Later Become Tesla Model 3

Back in 2010, Tesla Motors put out a promotional video titled “Work At Tesla.” In that video (embedded below), at the 1-minute 23-second mark, a clay model is shown (see image above).

Now that we know what the actual Tesla Model 3 looks like, it’s believed that the clay model in the promo video was actually an early design of the 3. If you look closely and focus mostly on the front and rear overhangs, you’ll notice that the clay model  is much closer proportionally to the Model 3 than it is to the S.

Actual Tesla Model 3

Actual Tesla Model 3

If You Already Have A Model S On Order In Tesla's System ... today is your lucky day!

Tesla Model S For Comparative Purposes

If the clay model is actually what later became the Model 3, then we got our first look at it some 6 years ago, which sort of does make sense since the typical design/development cycle often takes ~5 years in the automotive industry.

(And we also learned with the 3 (and this earlier clay mock-up) that Tesla cars have always basically had the same efficiency-driven shape from concept through production)

Source: Tesla Updates, Hat tip to Teng Y!

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28 responses to "Was Tesla Model 3 Design Actually Revealed Back In 2010 By Tesla? (w/video)"

  1. evcarnut says:

    I said that 3Months ago & nobody responded …Not a word …I knew that all along .Not 100% Mind you , But, I was always suspicious of that Clay model.

    1. Ahldor says:

      Im sorry, I must have missed your post then. Because now I think its obvious its a precursor to the Model 3.

    2. James says:

      Don’t feel bad, I beat you to it – and not only did I show that photo I had found digging DEEEEP into Bing and Google images – but I shared it here more than once. Each time I had the exact same response – about 2 or 3 responses, that’s it. I asked everyone if they believed, as I did – that this was the future Model 3. Before InsideEVs, I tried showing it over at GM-Volt.com to the same response = almost NO RESPONSE! So evcarnut, you and I are visionaries! They better pay attention to us from now on.

      1. James says:

        I originally saw and posted that photo on GM-Volt about 3 years ago. I believe the first time I posted it here was over 1 1/2 years ago, and again about 5 months ago.

        I’m not into, “I told’ja so”, and I didn’t really know about the nose, being on the clay model it was so shunted and the overhang nil. It looks as if that stage of clay was so early that the nose hadn’t been part of that exercise.

        1. James says:

          There has been several threads over at Tesla forums and Teslarati over that clay model photo. The subject’s been bouncing around for a few years. It popped up now and then, but is fairly odd how lots of EV-heads missed it, or disregarded it because the general shape is so Model S-like. It was the scale that garnered attention – the short overhangs and positions of the windows, doors adjacent to seems and wheel wells…

          Tesla did an amazing job of utilizing max
          interior space with glass roof and front cowl pushed as far forward as possible – in such a compact car size! The car is sexy and shapely and it follows cars like BMW 5 that echo the top-of-the-line 7 Series but shrunken in the dryer.

  2. Michael Will says:

    So where is the 2007 clay model s then ?

  3. LOL says:

    It is very likely that right now as we speak-write, couple of guys are working hard to shape the Model Y (possibly small CUV) and 4th gen Model (possibly some cute blasting hatchback) simultaneously. Kepping eyes wide open to spot some-any clay model popping up unexpectedly. Tesla, oblige us ..

    1. CDAVIS says:

      “Model Y” likely to be Gen II Roadster with falcon doors 0-60mph 1.9sec, 1/4mile 8.9sec.

      …SEXY is to end where it started thereafter move on to Tesla Mid Luxury CUV & Pickup.

      Why Model Y = Roadster?

      To keep Tesla on bleeding go-fast edge for marketing…it’s part of Tesla’s marketing program that thus far has worked out well for Tesla.

      1. Ryan H says:

        Pretty sure the general consensus for the Model Y is a CUV based on the Model 3 platform.

        1. Anon says:

          It’s wishful thinking, but it would be awesome if they show Model Y as part of the next reveal, and then tell everyone that the production lines for M3 were already dual setups just like they are for Model S / X.

        2. Speculawyer says:

          Yep. Roadster comes after Model Y.

          I suspect they could take the chassis of the Model 3/Y, remove the roof, and beef up the motors to build a power roadster. To keep it structurally stiff, keep the B-pillar as a roll-bar so it would look like the VW Cabrios.

      2. LOL says:

        In what numbers would the Roadster sell ? Small CUV segment is booming in Europe – Renault Captur, Opel Mokka, Peugeot 2008, Nissan Juke – all are selling well over 100k copies per year, each. That’s where Tesla should jump in first ‘ cause it needs volume sales.

        1. Boris says:

          Model Y will surely not compete with those cars. It will go against Audi Q5, BMW X3, MB GLC, Volvo XC60 etc. Tesla cannot jump into a segment that sells below 20K as the battery pack itself will be at least $8K+

          1. Speculawyer says:

            I agree but some of those people may extend themselves and step up to a Tesla Model Y due to the amount of money they can save on gasoline, parking/buslane/carpool-lane/etc. incentives, and tax incentives.

            But I still think a big issue in Europe is the difficult of installing chargers since so many people live in apartments/condos/flats/etc. where they can’t install a private charger easily. However, I would expect green regulation happy Europe to pass laws that incentivize/mandate chargers in more places.

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        CDAVIS said:

        “‘Model Y’ likely to be Gen II Roadster with falcon doors 0-60mph 1.9sec, 1/4mile 8.9sec.”

        It seems rather unlikely, to say the least, that Tesla would put falcon wing doors on a two-seater convertible like the Roadster. I suppose that Tesla might make the Gen II Roadster something more like the i8, so that it would have a roof where FW doors could be anchored. But the primary advantage of FD doors, which is easy access to the back seat, would be lost with a two-seater.

        1. Priusmaniac says:

          At 1.9 sec that is a 1.5 grip factor which would be more a rubber and asphalt challenge than a motor and battery one. You can add a SuperDraco which would bring it bellow 1 sec but the passengers might find it a bit to much.

  4. Mister G says:

    GO ELON GO…all the naysayers can kiss your white ARSE…LOL

  5. jelloslug says:

    I wonder if the Model 3 is really much further along in it’s design than Tesla really lets on.

  6. Mr. M says:

    To me it looks like a two seater.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Yeah, it does. Perhaps it is Roadster prototype.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Indeed, the clay model doesn’t look like a 4-door design. I’d like to see it overlaid with an outline of the Model ≡. Looks to me like the M≡ has a longer wheelbase, but perhaps that’s an optical illusion.

      Yes, there are some similarities between the clay model and the Model ≡. But then, you can say the same about the Model S. If that was indeed the original design for the M≡, then it changed significantly before the Reveal, and I don’t mean merely putting the shark’s nose on it.

  7. Speculawyer says:

    I assume it was one of many prototypes. Final looks pretty close though.

    1. Anon says:

      I like the more agressive side profile of the front, which likely helps range, too.

  8. Boris says:

    Those new base 19″ wheels are ugly, I liked the old 5-spoke ones better 🙁

    1. Koenigsegg says:

      Ya Model S has ugly stock rims now.

      Dont know why they did that. Really ugly.

  9. super390 says:

    If they’ve been hammering on that basic shape in the wind tunnel all these years, maybe they’ve gotten much closer to the target 0.21 cD than I believed.

  10. Loboc says:

    I’m surprised that there isn’t a clay model printer or print the dang thing in plastic. Hand-sculpted clay seems so last century. (Although I have seen videos of clay being shaped by robotic tools.)

  11. Guest says:

    Fun facts: John Federspiel, battery system guy interviewed at the beginning of the promo video now works as lead mechanical engineer at SpaceX. He is one of the webcast host during Falcom launches.