Tesla Motors confirmed via Twitter that its third-generation car, the next production vehicle after the Model X, will be called the Model 3 and will likely go on sale in 2017.
The news was first reported by the British magazine Auto Express.
Tesla’s long-term success may hinge on its ability to drive down battery and manufacturing costs and create a mass market car in the $35,000 price range. And much of that depends on getting the massive gigafactory up and running.
Few other details have been released, notably design and expected range.
“The pricing of Tesla’s next sedan is an interesting component to have confirmed, but the real question is: How far will it go on a single charge?,” said Karl Brauer, a senior market analyst for Kelley Blue Book, in a statement Wednesday. “The current electric car market is flush with $35,000 cars, and they all have nearly identical range specs of 60-90 miles. If the Tesla Model 3 can’t substantially increase that range, it will sell about as well as all the others — which isn’t very well. Given Tesla’s next car, the Model X, has already been confirmed as smaller than the current Model S, with a lower driving range, we’re already seeing a degradation in performance from future models.”