Ford cockblocked the Model E name

We’ve been hearing about Tesla Motors’ follow-up to the Model S and Model X for quite some time. The car, which was previously known as the Model E, is being aimed at a mainstream audience with a price point below $40,000.
In an interview today with Auto Express, Tesla CEO Elon Musk officially confirmed the vehicle and its name: the Model III. Staying true to his flippant nature, Musk explained the reasoning behind the name (which he blames on Ford).

“We had the Model S for sedan and X for crossover SUV, then a friend asked what we were going to call the third car,” Musk explained. “So I said we had the model S and X, we might as well have the E.”

Tesla Model S
But Musk says that Ford put its foot down and said that it couldn’t use the Model E name, adding, “I thought this is crazy, Ford’s trying to kill sex!” Musk relented and settled on calling the car the Model III.

To reach the sub-$40,000 price tag, the Model III will likely abandon a mostly aluminum unibody (as seen in the Model S) for a unibody constructed primarily of steel. Musk is also hoping that improved battery chemistry (along with economies of scale brought by its planned Gigafactory) will allow it to offer an affordable battery pack that is capable of giving the Model III a driving range of 200+ miles. For comparison, the base Model S has a driving range of 208 miles while the top-ranging variant has a driving range of 265 miles.

The Model III will be unveiled to the public in 2016, while deliveries will commence the following year.

Tesla Roadster 2.5

On one final note, Musk hasn’t forgotten about the [discontinued] Roadster, which helped kick off Tesla Motors’ automotive efforts back in 2008. That vehicle features a driving range of 245 miles, but Musk hopes to offer an upgraded battery pack in the near future that will boost the range to 400 miles.

Sources: Auto Express, Tesla Motors via Twitter

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