Elon Musk Explains How Tesla Model 3 Versus S Isn’t Like iPhone 2 Versus 3

Tesla Model 3


Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

During that Tesla Model 3 Tweetstorm in late March, CEO Elon Musk made a comment that mostly went unnoticed. However, we found it rather intriguing. So, here we’ll share it with you:

His comment came before the Tweetstorm got going and it seems like he was trying to foreshadow a few of the other Tweets that would soon follow, like launching the Model 3 only in RWD first and no performance version initially.

In a way, Musk seemed to be downplaying the 3 and up selling the S. He even went on to state that he’ll continue to drive the S when the 3 comes out, basically because the S is and always will be the superior car.

This ties in with previous Musk comments too. Like when he stated that if you can afford the S, buy it, you won’t be disappointed. If you can’t afford the S new, then a CPO S or a Model 3 is for you.

What’s your takeaway from Musk’s Model S/Model 3 – iPhone 2 versus 3 comment?

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15 Comments on "Elon Musk Explains How Tesla Model 3 Versus S Isn’t Like iPhone 2 Versus 3"

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Musk is right, since there never was an iPhone 2. 🙂

A more appropriate analogy might be:

Model S – iPhone 7 (larger, newest tech)
Model 3 – iPhone SE (smaller, more affordable)

Well done, that’s best iPhone analogy there is…

And think of the Bolt as Android, and Android >>> Iphone. :p

The Bolt is more like a Windows phone 😉

LOL Now now, I don’t think any plug-in should be compared to Windows phone. XP

If any “electrified” auto is Windows Phone, it’s Fuel Cell vehicles. They may be practical for some people or organizations under very specific circumstances. But a completely undesirable alternative to most.


LOL well, “Android” is an OS, whereas the “iPhone” is hardware. Android phone quality varies widely from among the best devices on the market to the absolute worst trash phones imaginable.

You might say Android is a stand-in for *all* traditional auto manufacturers and the EVs/Plug-Ins they make? Based on market penetration, quality of build (and my own BS metrics) I’d slot the traditional manufacturers:

Samsung – Nissan Leaf (Best selling world wide, but lost some of its appeal in recent years.)

HTC – Chevy Bolt / Volt (basically because *cough* http://www.htc.com/us/smartphones/htc-bolt/buy/ *cough*)

LG – i3, i8, and i-series plug-ins

Nokia – Focus EV, Ford energi models

Other* – Mitsubishi, VW, Toyota, Fiat, Hyundai, Mercedes, Volvo (Toyota and Hyundai/Kia might become a major player soon!)

*Smaller players that hit a niche for the luxury or budget market

Sorry, Nokia makes WAY better quality hardware than Ford ever did…

I’m not an iPhone expert at all, but wouldn’t it be more like an iPhone 6 vs SE instead of 7 vs SE (I’m going by a Wikipedia page that suggests the SE came out between the 6 and 7)? The S is already out there… so the 3 WILL have “newer tech”, regardless of Musk’s tweets. The 3 will be less powerful, sure, and it will have fewer features… but whatever is in it will be newer than the current gen S.

Case in point is the “extra” 2 cameras evident in the spy photos from the last week. Whatever they are… the S doesn’t have them.

And I think everyone would agree the 2170 cell will be an improvement, albeit the S/X should get them as well.

This seems consistent with basically every other car maker. The newest BMW 3 series isn’t going to offer features that are across the board superior to a 5 or 7 series car. I suspect everything about the 3 will be a little less than an S. That is fine with me. I think the real question will be how the media and public opinion is shaped. Is everyone anticipating a 100,000$ car for 35,000?

Unfortunately, that’s really how the media hyped the 3 from the beginning. It was crazy. They really did seem to expect a $100k for $35k. They kept calling it a “tesla for half the price”, etc. Well sure, and a Chevy Aveo is less expensive than a Cadillac but we don’t think of it as the same car for less money. Why would this be any different? That said, there really isn’t any reason the 3 couldn’t have more advanced tech than the (current) S does. Really, it should. Design lessons were learned that can and should be adopted. But the most important reason is volume. Look at Digikey or any electronics supplier and pick any two random (but similar) components. One is more advanced and more expensive than the other… at equal volume. But buying 10 of the basic ones is going to cost you much more (per unit) than buying 10000 of the advanced ones. The 3 will have what? 10x the volume? Therefore they can (and I would argue they should) put more advanced components in the 3 vs. the (current) S. Leveraging that volume allows them to put that same tech in future S units.

Well, ok. But in that case the model S realy needs a makeover (I mean more than just the new nose and autopilot. The design dates from way back in 2012. Ancient in modern terms. The car needs new interior, M3 nose and lights, less chrome, more quality look. Oh, and better seals, less aero noise and did I mention less chrome/brushed alu?

Serial anti Tesla troll Thomas

..and more comfortable rear seats because they are absolutely not comfortable.
I was happy when the Tesla Taxi ride from Amsterdam Airport to Amsterdam City was done.

Yes. Like a dashboard for example.

IMO the S/X need to up the stakes in luxury, that is what should set them apart from the 3. I hear complaints about the seats and fit/finish on the S/X, and with battery prices falling the cost difference needs to be focused on luxury aspect.
Model 3 is not the luxury model, although pay enough and it could option up that way. I know Tesla doesn’t do things like other manufacturers, but in this area it makes sense. Cheaper, smaller car, less luxury. More expensive, bigger car, more luxury.
I think lack of traditional instrument cluster is going to be a polarising issue more than anything else with Model 3.
As to iPhone comparison, it is probably better to use an iPad comparison; iPad = Model 3, iPad Pro = Model S.