Projections: Tesla Model 3 Battery Sizes, Pricing, and Options

Guest Blog Post: Nathaniel Fisher is a North Carolina-based, creative tech fanatic who co-started As a self-proclaimed process improvement specialist, he enjoys finding solutions to complex issues. He currently follows Tesla, Apple, Hyperloop, and SpaceX and is on the look-out for other forward-thinking, high-tech companies and solutions.

Since the dawn of time, humans have moved across the earth using different modes of transportation. First we traversed this great land by foot but this would only take us so far. Then the powerful energy of horses was harnessed. This new form of power afforded us more distance and sights. Unfortunately, we quickly outgrew what the horse could do for us.

At the early turn of the 20th century and with the help of fossil fuels, we found a new mode of transportation with the internal combustion engine. Though this was a life-changer at the time, we have since come to learn there are downsides that negatively impact our world. Additionally, its likely that the use of fossil fuels will continue to become more expensive as our population grows and these resources are not so easily replaced.

In a few days, our transportation past and future will collide once again. This Thursday evening at 8:30 pm PST, Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] will unveil an affordable electric car for the masses popularly known as the Model 3. This is no typical unveiling. It is Tesla's most important release since the company's inception. This event will not just change the company; it could ultimately change the world.

The Internet has been abuzz with discussion about this vehicle for quite some time but it has finally come to a boil. Consumers yearning to know about the Model 3 have been feverishly looking for sneak peeks, special hints and hidden Easter eggs from Tesla but Elon Musk and the Tesla Motors team have been able to keep this project so well protected that very few people know what to expect. Regardless of the unknown details, thousands of people will be lining up to reserve their Model 3 early Thursday morning when their local Tesla store opens. All of this without having ever seen the car! 

Many will be unsure (but interested) in the Model 3 and will likely wait until after Tesla shows off the shiny new car. Unfortunately their lack of action pushes them further back in the queue, resulting in later delivery. As the unveiling nears and excitement grows, I’d like to share my personal ideas about what might happen for the Tesla Model 3. My ideas are based on researching Models S options, prices and what is already known about the Model 3.

First, let us put all the facts on the table about what the Model 3 will be:

  • 1. The price will start around $35,000 before incentives.
  • 2. It will be approximately 20% smaller than the Model S and will be about the size of a BMW 3 Series (what I currently own) or an Audi A4.
  • 3. It will have a drivable range of at least 200 miles per charge.

Hints given thus far leave potential buyers riddled with confusion. For example, it has been mentioned that the new car will be unlike anything currently available but it has also been argued that to make a more affordable vehicle, Tesla might borrow from its current vehicle parts. With Tesla doing such a good job keeping everything so "hush, hush" it's anyone's guess. Based on what I know about the Model S and the Model 3, the ideas presented here represent my best guess of what might happen. Don't come knocking down my door if any of this doesn't come true!


Based on the current Model S battery pack sizes and range availability I foresee the following options.

  • 50-kWh = 200 mile range
  • 70-kWh = 248 mile range
  • P70D = 230 mile range

My starting point is the 50-kWh battery based on what we already know about the Model 3. It has been previously stated that the Model 3 will provide at least a 200 mile range. With some simple math and basic deduction, I calculated that a 50-kWh battery will provide at least 200 miles of range per charge. This size also made sense to me because of the differences in battery sizes provided by the Model S. Currently, Tesla offers a 70-kWh and 90-kWh battery size for the Model S and Model X vehicles. The size difference between these is 20-kWh and when subtracting 20-kWh from the current smallest battery size of the Model S, we find ourselves at 50-kWh. 

I believe Tesla's top battery option for the Model 3 will be a 70-kWh battery option, as this makes a nice gateway into the larger Model S.

It is always possible that the 50-kWh size could be the maximum range for the Model 3 and smaller batteries with shorter ranges will be available, but I think this 50-kWh (200 mile range) will be the minimum range for all Tesla vehicles. I have nothing to base this on other than common sense. The only logical reason Tesla might offer a batter smaller than a 50-kWh would be to reduce cost. At one point there were plans for the Model S to be offered in a 40-kWh battery option. That size was eventually nixed due to lack of interest however the Model 3 draws in an entirely different market. Who knows... this market might show an interest in the 40-kWh battery. 


The pricing noted within was generated by looking at the difference between the Model S base prices of the 70D and 90D options. The base price difference is $13,000. I simply added this $13,000 to the estimated base price for the Model 3 for next battery size up.

  • 50-kWh = $35,000 = 200 mile range
  • 70-kWh = $48,000 = 240 mile range
  • P70D = $68,000 = 228 mile range

To get the price of the P70D Model 3, I calculated the difference between a Model S 90D and the Model S P90D. The difference is approximately $20,000, which I added to the current 70-kWh price I came up with, which was also based on the known base price that Elon Musk has reported for the Model 3.

Tesla might offer a (60-kWh = $41,500 = 220 mile range) but doing so will produce a weird collection of battery size options. It makes sense that if the base model will provide at least a 200 mile range then the 50-kWh would be the ideal starting point.

Though the Model S is offered in a 90-kWh option this battery pack size could prove too large for the Model 3. However and for those interested, here are my guestimates for those battery sizes:

  • 90-kWd = $54,500 = 280 mile range
  • P90D = $74,500 = 270 mile range


Below I have provided a list of the current Model S options that might be available for the Model 3. Based on what the car will actually provide, these options may or may not be available. The prices provided below are based on Model S options but reduced by twenty percent. I mean come on... 20% of the car should be 20% of the optional costs, right? 

Dual Motor. While it is likely that the Model 3 will only be offered with a single motor, I believe this would be a huge mistake. For that reason, I’ll include the Dual Motor as an option here:

+$4,000 for dual motor

Ludicrous Speed. Want to show up the jerk in the gas-guzzling, engine-revving car next to you at the stop light? You’ll need the Tesla Ludicrous Speed Mode. Gain some respect when you leave them looking for second gear. PSA: I do not condone illegal activities or reckless driving. Stay safe, remain respectable. Use ludicrous speed with responsibility. 

+$8,000 ludicrous speed upgrade

Autopilot. Nothing is worse than a backseat driver and nobody needs a nagging co-pilot. With autopilot you can turn your Model 3 into a quieter and more accurate co-pilot. 

+$2,000 autopilot

Premium Interior & Lighting. Just because the Model 3 is an entry level and more economical Tesla, it does not mean quality should go down. I know Tesla will maintain a high level of quality on all of their vehicles but an upgrade for premium interior and lighting is not something I would turn down.

+$2,400 premium interior & lighting

Smart Air Suspension. Tesla is dedicated to a smooth ride and the added luxury of Smart Air Suspension is a practical choice. At the same time Tesla also fights to keep a low coefficient and responsible aerodynamic center but to do this they produce a vehicle that rides low to the ground. With the Smart Air Suspension you can raise the car for poorly kept roads or lower the vehicle for highway driving. It's kind of like a Transformer. Who wouldn't like that?

+$2,000 smart air suspension

High Fidelity Sound. In many automotive circles, a car worth having requires a quality sound system. I'm sure the stock system is really good but who wouldn't want the best?

+$2,000 high fidelity sound

Subzero Weather Package. If you drive in a frigid environment then the subzero weather package will be worth its weight in gold. The package would include heated rear seats, wiper blade defrosters and wiper blade nozzle heaters.

+$800 subzero weather package

Supercharger Network. Model S and Model X offer free charging on Teslas Supercharger Network but the Model 3 will likely not offer this as a free option. If they do not then it would make sense to offer it as an upgrade.

+$2,500 use of supercharger network

Want to fully load your Model 3 with all the options and best battery available? You could be looking at about $85,200. This puts your price range right back up there with the likes of the Model S pricing and may be a good incentive to purchase a Model S rather a Model 3. Tesla will want to keep their Models S sales up and this might be a good way to convert potential customers who are on the fence.

The only Model S feature I believe won’t make it into the Model 3 is the rear-facing seat option. Considering the Model 3 will be 20% smaller than the Model S, it seems unlikely there would be enough room for rear-facing seats. Then again, the size reduction could mostly come from the front portion of the car.

In the end, the Tesla Model 3 is the world's first premium, all-electric vehicle that will bring the future of automobiles to the masses. It has been estimated that by 2040 the majority of all vehicles on the road will be entirely electric. We may be 24 years away but if we don't start now, that future will never come. As far as what the Model 3 will really be, it's anyones guess until Thursday. 

For those of you near Raleigh, North Carolina... I’ll see you in line early Thursday morning!