Tesla is a trendsetter and ground-breaker in many areas, but thinking up model names for its cars doesn’t seem to be one of them. Following the Roadster, Model S and Model X will be the company’s third-generation vehicle, the Tesla Model III.
The historic mass-market vehicle was originally to be named the Model E, which would have made the company’s line-up spell S-E-X, always a good thing to invoke when selling cars. Alas, it turned out that Ford had already laid claim to the Model E trademark.
“A friend asked what we were going to call the third car, so I said we had the model S and X, we might as well have the E,” Elon Musk told Auto Express. “Then Ford sued us, saying it wanted to use the Model E – I thought this is crazy, Ford’s trying to kill sex! So we’ll have to think of another name. The new model is going to be called Model 3, we’ll have three bars to represent it and it’ll be S III X!”
Much about the new EV remains a mystery, but a few more details have trickled out. The III is scheduled to go on sale by 2017. It will be based on a new platform, will be about 20% smaller than the Model S, and will have a range of over 200 miles. Tesla’s British engineering chief Chris Porritt is expected to oversee the design. Owners will be able to use the Supercharger network for free.
Auto Express also reports that Tesla plans to offer an upgraded battery for the Roadster, which will boost its range from 245 miles to about 400. “The Roadster had an old-generation battery,” says Musk. “We’ll upgrade it to a new-generation battery pack and it should have a range of about 400 miles, which will allow you to drive from LA to San Francisco non-stop.”