Tesla Model 3 To Be Unveiled In 2016, Go On Sale In 2017


In the recent Auto Express article revealing that Tesla Gen III will be officially called Tesla Model 3, there was a mention that went largely unnoticed:

“The new Model 3 is set to be unveiled in 2016 and on sale by 2017.”

Meaning we won’t even see Tesla Model 3 until 2016, which is a departure from the norm for Tesla, an automaker that typically reveals its vehicles in some form several years ahead of the launch.

It’s likely that Tesla is getting more in line with the rest of the auto industry norm now and, as such, is holding its cards out of sight until the last possible moment.

We still haven’t seen the production version of the Tesla Model X, despite its launch being set to take place in well under one year.

At least Tesla is still confirming the Model 3’s on-sale date as being “by 2017,” meaning we’ve got less than 4 years to wait for what’s likely to be the electric vehicle that will forever change the automotive industry.

Tesla Model 3 Rendering

Tesla Model 3 Rendering

Source: Auto Express

Rendered Images via Theophilus Chin

Category: Tesla

Tags: , ,

73 responses to "Tesla Model 3 To Be Unveiled In 2016, Go On Sale In 2017"
  1. kdawg says:

    Isn’t it Model III, not Model 3

    1. Mikael says:

      Model ☰ 😉

    2. JP says:

      Model Tres would really revolutionize the industry.

  2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    I certainly hope Tesla has something planned for the rear end that isn’t so hopelessly bland as this.

    1. kdawg says:

      Who know’s. Here’s some other design guesses.


      1. Surya says:

        Those are all design sketches for the ‘model c’, not Model III

        1. kdawg says:

          The point is they are sketches of a smaller Tesla by a Tesla employee. The Model III will be smaller than the Model S.

          1. Surya says:

            Sure, I just don’t want anyone thinking the Model III will look anything close to this.

            1. kdawg says:

              Should clarify, #1 was by a Tesla intern. #2 and #3 were by Dejan Hristov.

              1. Josh says:

                I won’t believe any sketch unless it comes from Franz von Holzhausen.

          2. Jouni Valkonen says:

            Tesla III will be the same sized as Audi A4. And if you have ever seen Audi A4 it typically comes with AWD, enough of kilowatts, lots of driving aids such as adaptive cruise control and even parking is not too easy, so it is not the smallest car on roads.

    2. Surya says:


    3. MDEV says:

      For sure they are good designing rears but awful with the nosecone.

    4. ELROY says:

      Yeah, that design is not much more interesting than the CODA.

      1. Big Solar says:

        hey i like the coda!

        1. Jay Cole says:

          So you were the one?

          …sorry, I couldn’t resist
          /too easy

  3. robster1979 says:

    This is the first time the rendering must be looking more boring than the end result:-) Already saving money for the Model III, hope it will look slightly more exciting than this

    1. Jouni Valkonen says:

      Do not worry about that. It will be the most compelling car on planet — even better than present day Tesla S — so it also must have very original and compelling design.

      1. Stuart22 says:

        Wow, you are setting yourself up for a gigantic disappointment should reality end up being not so rosy.

        We’re still waiting for the Model X, which was driven onto a stage a couple of years ago. Where is the Model 3? It remains vaporware, a dream waiting to happen.

        Given Tesla’s record, 2017 probably means 2018. Either way, and if the Model 3 actually becomes real, it doesn’t look like it will be the first and only entry into the market segment it is aiming for, as was the Model S and will be for the Model X.

        Going downmarket, Tesla will have to fight for market share like they’ve not had to before. Which means their Model 3 had better be something special.

        1. TomArt says:

          Vaporware is not a term that goes with Tesla Motors. They have delivered, and there is absolutely no reason to expect that trend will stop any time soon.

          I’m as much a shameless fan of Tesla Motors as anyone, but I have said for a long time now that Model III orders will start to be filled in 2018. I’ve never believed the 2017 timeline.

          I am surprised about the 2016 unveiling – I was told by Tesla reps in their Tyson’s Corner gallery that the Model III prototype will be unveiled at the NAIAS next year (2015).

          1. Taser54 says:

            Tesla has delivered, but always later than prediction and at a higher price.

            Since price is a key consideration this time in the Model III, Tesla has a huge challenge on its hands.

            1. Bill Howland says:

              Not quite.

              They ‘released’ the 2wd model x, and started taking ‘RE$ERVATION$’ but now we learn there is to be NO 2wd model X, which is the only style of model X I would consider.

  4. Boris says:

    As long as the car doesn’t look like the one on these pictures. It’s supposed to be more agressive looking and more sporty than Model S.

    1. sven says:

      It needs more cow bell.

      1. TomArt says:

        …I’ve got a fever…

  5. David Murray says:

    I wonder how many Model-S sales they might lose if people thought the Model 3 would be coming out very soon.

    1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Probably not nearly as many as are waiting for battery price/capacity improvements.

      Here’s hoping the next gen bumps up the battery range choices from 40/^H^H^H60/85 to 60/85/115 ..

      1. Jouni Valkonen says:


        1. Brian says:


          (1^4 = 1)

          1. kdawg says:

            And if you don’t like someone’s comment you can type:


            1. Mikael says:

              I’m still undecided….

              lim x → ∞ sin(x)

              1. TomArt says:


                1. kdawg says:

                  And for a good TGIF laugh,

                  derive Y=r^3/3


  6. kdawg says:

    FYI – Elon Musk was on The Colbert Report last night. I didn’t know Stephen Colbert owned a Tesla Model S.


    1. TomArt says:

      I didn’t, either – that’s pretty neat!

    2. EV says:

      Whoever made that rendering should every photo edit program revoked from their access for life.

    3. EV says:

      ^ first post wrong reply but Elon wasn’t on last night, thats years old

        1. Josh says:

          I dug a little deeper and found that also, here is the YouTube. Thanks for mentioning it.

  7. Brian says:

    It is important to notice that this is yet another delay from Tesla. Had they not stated that the car would be unveiled in January 2015 at the NAIAS? Or was that just a rumor too? It’s hard to keep it all straight.

    Anyway, Tesla delivers great cars, but they end up arriving late and priced higher than their target. I have little doubt the Model III will arrive and will be a wonderful car. I just suspect we will see more delays, and the price will be more like $45k (base) – $60k (loaded).

    1. IDK says:

      You are right Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhauzen had said 2015 NAIAS. I think 2015 sounds more correct then 2016. It puts it more in line the amount of time Tesla Model S and X were revealed prior to reservations and production.


      1. TomArt says:


      2. kdawg says:

        I hope so but that is coming quick (just 5 months).

        From that interview I thought this was an interesting commment (German to English translation not the best):

        “The car will show what we are about: to build electric cars for the masses. It is not a small model S, we do not want a unit face like Audi . But we have to our customers only times give an optical security before we make crazy style”

        1. Mikael says:

          I can’t remember when and where but I saw a video of Elon Musk saying that the design for the car formerly known as Model “E” now Model ☰ was already designed and in the computer. So that he could show it to the reporter if he wanted to.
          If I remember correctly.

          If they are truly that far along then showing a model in 2015 shouldn’t be any problem.

  8. pjwood says:

    I am beginning to wonder if there aren’t inherent production cost disadvantages to multiple 18650’s vs. what LG Chem is about to deliver. As long as GM does something merely sonic, and not visual, perhaps it won’t matter.

    1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Presumably, a custom-built battery enables more compactness in volume and customizability for thermal management etc. However, the 18650 wins in scalability and availability since it’s a standard formfactor with scale and multiple competitors driving its costs down.

      I think Tesla could develop a proprietary battery formfactor that’s superior and churn out enough of them in Gigafactories to make them cost-competitive with 18650s. I would bet that Panasonic et al. would prefer that actually, so that Tesla’s cells don’t compete in the standard cell market. I don’t think they’ll do that though, at least not for a couple generations, unless there’s a breakthrough that requires prismatic cells or custom forms to take advantage of.

      1. TomArt says:

        Those are my assumptions, as well. Plus, Musk has gone on record more than once touting the ease of thermal management and fire containment with the 18650s, primarily because they are small. Back when Boeing had those fires, he had said that the larger form factors are harder to cool efficiently, as well as harder to minimize the risk of thermal runaway.

      2. Jouni Valkonen says:

        I think that the main advantage with 18650 is that individual cell is smaller and therefore there is less strain for battery individual cell. This enables higher energy and power densities without compromising the lifespan of battery pack.

        Tesla has said that 18650 is close to optimal size. Optimal size for indivual cell is perhaps slightly larger, but 18650 is very close of being optimal, according Tesla’s analysis.

        1. Josh says:

          “Tesla has said that 18650 is close to optimal size. Optimal size for indivual cell is perhaps slightly larger, but 18650 is very close of being optimal, according Tesla’s analysis.”

          That is definitely a quote from on of JB Straubel’s talks. He added to that, by going with larger form factors, you move the complexity from the pack level to inside the cell.

        2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

          True, but perhaps Tesla-only cells could be made with thinner/lighter walls out of optimized materials that help with heat transfer and reduce mass/increase pack density? Guess it all comes down to cost/benefit for going ‘proprietary’, as it does for everything else..

        3. Mint says:

          No, none of that makes sense. “Strain”, power density, battery life, etc are all independent of cell size.

          The real advantage of small cells are:
          A) cooling (short distance to circulating fluid)
          B) safety (if a cell gets a defect, there should only be a tiny amount of energy released, assuming neighboring cells survive)
          C) defect tolerance (similar to B)
          D) yield (similar to semiconductors, where large chips have lower yield than many small ones given the same defect rate)

          While Tesla packs are not necessarily the safest in the world (LEAF/Volt seem better), they are using a dense chemistry that no other manufacturer dare touches. Lithium-NCA cells would be a much bigger fire hazard if used in large pouches, IMO, no matter how well you engineer the pack.

          I think small cells are critical in letting Tesla use a 260Wh/kg chemistry with adequate safety.

        4. Murrysvile EV says:

          The only reasons Tesla selected the 18650 are:

          1. It’s the most common lithium ion cell on the planet, BY FAR. Now, this is even more true since they are using so many.

          2. It’s easy to repackage in a variety of shapes, rather than the bulkier packages of other cells.

  9. shrink says:

    Worst. Rendering. Ever.

    Did not think it was possible to make a Tesla look like a Coda.

    1. Fishhawk says:

      That was my reaction as well. Looks similar to a Coda.

    2. kdawg says:

      LOL, I was thinking the same thing, CODA.

      1. Stuart22 says:

        I thought they took a Buick Regal and attached a Model S front end to it.

      2. Vin says:

        …or a late-model Honda, or Hyundai, or 4-door Nissan, or maybe a new Buick. In other words, it looks dated.

        But I hope they don’t beat it with an ugly stick for the sake of being different!

    3. TomArt says:

      Yeah, those renderings are foul. No imagination whatsoever.

  10. Rick says:

    Maybe, just maybe they are thinking that in order to compete with cars that are bought by middle income Americans, they have to kinda look like cars that middle income Americans buy. I’m thinking it looks a bit like Accord and Camry. Just a thought.

    1. TomArt says:

      It’s a thought, yes, but not one we expect from Tesla Motors, particularly from Elon Musk.

      It would have to look cool, or to use Musk’s term, “compelling”. To my eyes, something like the current Ford products are compelling, like the Fusion sedan. Others like Dodge products – both brands sell well, at least here in the US.

      I fully expect that the Model III will be a “sportback” or “sporthatch” or whatever the hell these sedan/hatchback hybrids are called (like the Model S). Basically, a distinct 4-door sedan with a hatch for a trunk that would have an unmistakeable “family resemblance” to the Model S.

      1. kdawg says:

        I don’t know how much of a family resemblance there will be. (see interview linked above). I’m all for changing the front end. Not a fan of the nosecone.

    2. Mikael says:

      If they are going to compete with the Audis and BMWs out there then they better make something much more attractive than that one.

      But I have no worries that it won’t look great. It will have a look that americans, europeans and the chinese likes 🙂

  11. ffbj says:

    Musk got a good zinger in there. The pick-up line: “Have you seen my rocket?”
    Around 30k for the Model III? Seems a bit of a low ball estimate. But hey now we are talking affordable territory for a great many more people. Hard to believe, but then Musk seems to be the man, along with his team, that turns pipe-dreams into reality.

    1. TomArt says:

      One thing that helps is that Musk has no vested interest in anything that hinders the advancement of technology and sustainability. He’s not an oil barron, nor is he tight with utilities…basically, he has no incentive, monetary or otherwise, to maintain the status-quo.

      It’s amazing what’s possible when you can leave the past in the past and only carry forward the lessons learned. A true engineer (I’m an engineer by education, and have very much the same attitude as Musk, just not the sheer genius or the means).

    2. Josh says:

      As someone noted above, that interview is old, circa 2010. They were referring to the Roadster as the “$100k” car. Musk didn’t clarify that it was more expensive.

      He said they had a sedan in development that would be half as much (as the Roadster) and then a third Gen that would be half as much again or $30k.

      So $5k creep in price from 2010 to now, would put the 2017 starting price of Model III at $38k. That seems about right to me.

      1. kdawg says:

        If you’re referring to my link, I had Musk’s first interview linked by accident.

        Here’s the correct vids from last night.

  12. Anon says:

    Based on Musk’s past verbal descriptions, Model III should look a lot like a Model S, but 20 percent smaller, made from less expensive materials for the bodywork… So, the example rendering does come off a bit pedestrian.

    Maybe they will get a bit more creative in moving twards a more unique styling language for their third generation? It will be interesting to see if “nosecone” continues forward or not. We’ll see…

    I’m hoping at some point, they go with a sporty looking hatchback coupe that uses wide Falcon Wing Doors. That would rock!

  13. Murrysvile EV says:

    This is good news for Nissan.

  14. CherylG's_DirtyLittleSecret says:

    Does anybody know if the X or the 3 will have camera side view mirrors?

    1. Mikael says:

      None of them, as long as it’s not legal.

      Once it’s legal I’m sure it will be the first change they do to all models.

    2. Phr3d says:

      roflmao @ nick

  15. Fabian says:

    Gosh these Model 3 renderings are not very easy on the eyes.