Tesla's much cheaper 'Model 3' coming in 2017

Tesla is working on a new electric car called the "Model 3," and it'll be significantly less expensive than its predecessors.

The Model 3 will be 20 percent smaller than Tesla's Model S sedan, taking on compact executive cars like BMW's 3 Series, Auto Express reports. It'll have a realistic range of 200 miles, similar to the Model S, and will make use of Tesla's supercharger stations that can restore half the car's battery in about 30 minutes.

But the most interesting feature of the Model 3 will be its price tag, which will start around $35,000 in the United States. By comparison, the Model S costs $63,570 with Federal tax credits factored in, while a used original Tesla Roadster sports car costs $88,500. (Tesla hasn't announced pricing for its Model X crossover SUV, which arrives later this year for pre-order customers.)

According to Auto Express, the lower price will be made possible through cheaper batteries from Tesla's upcoming Gigafactory. Although Tesla has not yet broke ground or even announced a location for the factory, the company expects to have it up and running by late 2016. Tesla has said that it will reduce battery prices by 30 percent within its first year of volume production.

Amusingly (at least if you're into immature humor), Tesla originally wanted to use the name "Model E" for its next car—making it possible to spell S-E-X from the full lineup—but abandoned the after a trademark scuffle with Ford.

"I thought this is crazy, Ford’s trying to kill sex! So we’ll have to think of another name," Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Auto Express. (And you thought just buying a fancy car was overcompensating.)

So now we're left with S-3-X. Musk obviously hasn't watched Weird Al Yankovic's new Word Crimes video.

While the cheaper Model 3 may be disheartening to early adopters who spent over $100,000 on the original Roadster, Tesla has some relief on the way. The company said it will upgrade owners to a new generation battery that will extend the car's range from 245 miles to roughly 400 miles.

This story, "Tesla's much cheaper 'Model 3' coming in 2017" was originally published by TechHive.

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