The Tesla Model 3 may very well be the most highly anticipated vehicle the car industry has seen in years. Set to be unveiled on March 31 with mass production and deliveries slated to begin in late 2017, the Model 3 represents the culmination of Elon Musk’s big bet on electric vehicles leaping into the mainstream. And with a pricetag of $35,000 before incentives, the car will certainly be affordable enough to have a significant impact on the auto industry at large.
Over the past year or so, Tesla executives have slowly but surely divulged more information about the Model 3 while obviously keeping the car’s most intriguing features wrapped up under lock and key. But with the Model 3 unveiling now about one month away, Tesla seems a bit more open about providing us with even more teasers regarding what we can expect to see once Tesla allows us to feast our eyes on the car they hope will revolutionize transportation and kick the EV revolution into high gear.
In a report originally published on FuelFix, Tesla co-founder and CTO JB Straubel last week delivered a talk at IHS Energy CERAWeek in Houston, Texas. There, the self-proclaimed battery nerd and Stanford grad gave us some new information to digest regarding Tesla’s upcoming Model 3.
With respect to the Model 3’s size, we’ve seen a number of reports indicating that the Model 3 will be about 20% smaller than the Model S. Adding some more detail, Straubel said that the Model 3 will similar in size to an Audi A4. The Audi A4, a photo of which can be seen below, has a length of about 15 feet, is about 4.6 feet high, and about 6.6 feet wide including the side view mirrors. By way of contrast, the Tesla Model S is about 16.3 feet long and 4.7 feet high.
Feature wise, Straubel understandably kept Tesla’s cards close to his vest, though he did mention that the Model 3 “will surprise people with the level of features it includes” while adding that the Model 3 will feature next-gen Tesla technology.
While Straubel didn’t go into detail as to what type of features he was referring to, he intimated that the car’s more compelling and surprising features may not have anything to do with raw performance or range.
“We don’t really need more performance, we don’t really need much more range,” Straubel explained, “we need to focus on cost.”
Nonetheless, Straubel made a point of noting innovation remains at the core of everything Tesla does.
On another point, Straubel dismissed the notion that hydrogen fuel cell technology might pose any type of strategic threat to Tesla, a point which has historically been championed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
“Hydrogen is always labeled the fuel of the future,” Musk sarcastically said a few years back, “and [it] always will be.” More recently, Musk said that hydrogen fuel cell technology is more of a marketing gimmick than a legit long-term EV solution.