Uncovered: Tesla Model 3 hints, rumors, and predictions

We've already discussed some of the possible design elements we might see during the  Tesla Model 3 reveal tonight. After stopping by the site of the launch event yesterday, we can officially say that the frenzied excitement (especially among Tesla staff) is definitely contagious. We're hyped. People started waiting in line early this week. But, what do we really know thus far? In short, nothing concrete. But there's a lot of buzz floating around out there, so we've filtered through all the hype and distilled what you need to know leading up to tonight's launch event for the vaunted Tesla Model 3.

Above: Black cloaked Tesla Model 3 (Photo: Steve Lowell / Wired Germany)

Therefore, in this post, we'll review key hints, rumors and predictions surrounding  the Tesla Model 3.


In an encouraging article from Wired Germany, we get a few indications about the design of the Tesla Model 3 from Tesla Motors lead designer Franz von Holzhausen. "Good design is when it solves problems and makes people's lives better," he explains. And, when asked why Tesla Model 3 design isn't like Faraday Future, Franz explains, "With sci-fi design you might reach the early adopters. But... if you want to advance the global transition to the electric car as we did... it's also important to create a car whose shape... is timeless." [Disclaimer: the article is in German so these quotes might be skewed a bit by Google Translate.]

Above: Tesla's Franz von Holzhausen (Photo: Steve Lowell / Wired Germany)

But, what does the Tesla Model 3 look like? Franz von Holzhausen does not offer much, but, he did allow Wired Germany to photograph the Model 3 cloaked under a black cover of sorts and we've provided photos below. We already know that the Model 3 should be approximately 20% smaller than the Model S -- about the size of an Audi A4 -- and the cloaked car looks like a 20% smaller version of the Model S with (likely) the Model X front grille. Take a look and judge for yourself...

Above: Cloaked Model 3 front view; cloaked Model 3 rear view; Tesla engineer working on what appears to be a Model 3 rear door (Photos: Steve Lowell / Wired Germany)


Electrek has an inside source who says the Model 3: "looks like a smaller hybrid of the Model X and S. It is a bit taller sedan with a unique front that looks more like a Model X than a Model S. The car is shorter and narrower than either the model X or S but is described as 'sexy and sporty' [and the source said he/she]... instantly fell in love with the design of the Model 3... saying 'It seems so right'."

Above: Comparing the cloaked Model 3 on top vs. website photo of Model S on bottom (Source: Wired Germany / Tesla Motors)

Apparently the source cited Model 3 vehicle specs explaining that: "it will be able to travel from 0-60 in under 4 seconds. We weren’t told if this is for the base model or a more premium edition with bigger battery and AWD... [and] the price tag on the high end version of the Model 3 grows significantly to almost base Model S territory with estimates in the $50-$60K range. What do you get for that money? Besides autonomous driving on the level of the Model S and X, Tesla will also offer the aforementioned AWD option. In addition, a battery pack that we’re estimating in the ~80kWh range will take the Model 3 to over 300 miles in range."


So how will Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] react to the Model 3? Barron's reports on Credit Suisse noting: "continued outperformance in near-term... the real catalyst from the Model 3 unveil will be the first indication of demand for the car, in terms of initial reservations…and we think this will be a positive surprise. Combined with other potential positive catalysts (continued evidence that Model X is ramping, a likely onslaught of positive Model X reviews, and our belief that Tesla will meet Q1 delivery guidance), we believe the near-term risk / reward remains positive."

Above: Comments on TSLA from Goldman Sachs (Source: Investor's Business Daily)

And, Adam Jonas from Morgan Stanley predicts: "While we don’t doubt there could be base configurations of the model [3] that could indeed start as low as $35k (excluding incentives), we anticipate the price of the average configuration of the model to be in excess of $60k at first." However, he notes: "We would be very surprised if performance specs such as acceleration and handling were not on par with or superior to high performance ‘M’ or ‘AMG’ versions of the equivalent German premium sedans with similar wheelbase – potentially at a more affordable price."

As more Tesla Model 3 information is revealed, we'll be sure to update you...