Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Tesla Motors, Inc.: Model 3 to Sport "Next Generation" Tech

By Daniel Sparks - Feb 28, 2016 at 11:00AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

A Tesla executive shares a few new notes on the company's upcoming Model 3.

Any commentary from Tesla Motors (TSLA 4.53%) on its Model 3, or its upcoming electric vehicle with a starting price of $35,000, is rare. But Tesla CTO JB Straubel shared a few notes about the important electric car on Thursday at IHS Energy CERAWeek in Houston (via FuelFix.com).

Here's the Tesla executive had to say.

Model S charging.

JB Straubel on Tesla and Model 3

  • The Model 3 features "next generation" Tesla technology.
  • The car is similar in size to Audi's A4.
  • "I think it will surprise people with the level of features it includes," Straubel said.
  • Cost is a primary focus for the company: "We don't really need more performance; we don't really need much more range; we need to focus on cost."
  • Straubel still doesn't view hydrogen fuel cell technology as a threat, noting there remain "fundamental problems" -- limited infrastructure in particular.

Perhaps the most notable excerpt from Straubel's talk is his reference to the Model 3's having Tesla's "next generation" technology. With Tesla CEO Elon Musk noting earlier this year that the company is currently working on a next-generation suite of cameras and sensors, it's possible this could have been what Straubel was referring to.

Tesla's next-generation suite of cameras and sensors could very well be built to support fully autonomous driving. Musk predicted during a question-and-answer session with press that Tesla vehicles will be able to drive themselves across the country, charging themselves along the way, in just two to three years. But Musk also noted that this feat would require Tesla's next-generation set of cameras and sensors.

Could Tesla be planning to equip Model 3 with autonomous driving capabilities?

It's also possible Straubel's mention of "next generation" technology could have simply been referring to Tesla's next-generation platform for the vehicle, as he company has repeatedly emphasized that thte Model 3 will be built on a different platform from Models S and X.

A Model 3 update
Production and deliveries of the Model 3 won't begin until late 2017. But the public won't have to wait that long to learn more about the vehicle. Tesla confirmed in the company's fourth-quarter shareholder letter that it will unveil the Model 3 design on March 31. 

Tesla Fremont Factory. Image source: Tesla Motors.

Along with a confirmation of Model 3's unveil date and a note that the company is still on schedule for production and the first deliveries of the vehicle, Musk recently shared, in a series of tweets, some specifics about how customers will be able to order the vehicle. Tesla will begin accepting reservations for the Model 3 in stores on March 31 and online on April 1. Reservations will require a $1,000 deposit -- lower than the $2,500 and $5,000 deposits required to order Model S or X, respectively.

The Model 3 is important for Tesla, as it will be priced significantly lower than its Model S and X, and the company is hoping it will be the vehicle to help propel annual sales from an estimated 80,000 to 90,000 in 2016 to 500,000 by 2020.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Tesla, Inc. Stock Quote
Tesla, Inc.
TSLA
$737.12 (4.53%) $31.91

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
336%
 
S&P 500 Returns
115%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/27/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.