With the Tesla Model X just out the door, all hands are now on deck for Tesla working on the 'next big thing' - the Tesla Model 3, according to the company's Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel, while making a very detailed presentation on Tesla at the University of Nevada, Reno. (watch full video below)
"So this vehicle (the Model 3) is what we are developing today. Most of the people inside of Tesla are no longer working on the S and the X, but they are hard at working designing and inventing all the technologies to go into the Model 3."
Tesla Product Roadmap (via Tesla Motors)
The Model 3 is billed as the first affordable vehicle for Tesla, and a big piece of the company's mission to bring a compelling mass market electric car to market quickly. Mr. Straubel re-iterated his company's position on building cars like the Model 3 during the talk:
"Tesla was not founded to make expensive cars, or to make luxury or high performance cars - this is a misconception that comes up all the time. And it is perhaps understandable based on the cars we built today - but it is not our mission. Our mission is make cars that everyone can afford, and to change the electric mobility equation, so that essentially every vehicle can have the opportunity to be electric.
The CTO also stresses during the presentation that the Model 3 is unlike the Model X which shares a lot of its design with the Model S.
"...it (Model 3) is a completely new platform. Different technology base, and aimed at building hundreds of thousands per year instead of tens of thousands per year."
During a question period after the seminar, Mr. Straubel is asked to expand further on the Model 3, and details the challenges a little further.
Question: The next generation Model 3 will be a bit of a new frontier for Tesla, given its expected market and price. How much of the car in terms of shared or new parts are expected to be new or different from the existing Model S and X?
"For better or worse, most of Model 3 has to be new. (On) X we were able to build on a lot of common components with S, but with Model 3 we can't do that. So we are inventing a whole new platform for Model 3. It's a new battery architecture, it's a new motor technology. Brand new vehicle structure...so it is a lot of work."
Tesla Illustrated Battery Volume Needed In 2020 For Model 3 If Everything Goes As Planned (via Tesla Motors)
Straubel goes on say that Tesla's Fremont factory itself is more than capable of building the high volume of Model 3 cars planned by the company, as the 'how-to' behind volume automotive production is no mystery, but the problem is in sourcing the batteries to feed the assembly line for those cars.
A handy chart (above) shown by company aptly shows that Tesla will need more battery production in 2020 than was produced in all the world in 2013. Hence the need for the Gigafactory.
On the Model 3 Rollout:
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously said/tweeted the ~$35,000, 200+ mile EV will be revealed in March ,and the company will begin taking deposits at the time. Production is anticipated to get underway before the end of 2017.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk Tweets Pricing And Reveal Timeline This Past September (via @elonmusk)
Video (below): Check out the whole talk by JB Straubel. The CTO takes the stage at the 10:00 mark, and begins talking Model 3 and Gigafactory from 26:45, Q&A begins from 55:30