Hi guys,
I realise this has probably been talked to death already but what is the general consenus on when we will see a design or prototype for Gen III?

I remember it being talked about that Gen III would be on sale at the end of 2015. Seems like a pretty tight schedule and I have a feeling that this is about to be pushed back to 2016 or 2017 any day now. This would be a shame, as I am anxious for the day we can all say that a Tesla is no longer just a "rich man's toy" (I don't hold this opinion but many out there do).

On the other hand:
Could Tesla be further along on Gen III than they are leading everyone to believe? Maybe they don't want to release the design until they are as close as possible to production so that other car companies won't have the opportunity to copy?

What do you guys think?

Tesla has to focus on Model S and X, Gen 3 is low priority now.
I personally don't expect it to come sooner than 2016. Model S deliveries at the begining was also planned for 2011 and they actually started deliveries at 2012 so I guess it'll be similar. No hurry, rather later better product than crappy sooner.

I agree that they should focus on S and X right now...but considering it typically takes 3-5 years to bring a car from design to market (this is for the big auto companies with a lot more resources than Tesla so I assume Tesla would take even longer)...I am worried that if we don't see a design soon we may be talking 2017 or 2018 for Gen III.
On the other hand, as I said, perhaps Tesla is further along on Gen III than we think and is just going to keep the design under wraps until they are closer to production so that other's can't copy.

On another note...did anyone notice in the Q3 conference call...a lady asked the board if supercharging would be available on the Gen III car. Elon sort of mumbled that they were looking at a minimum of 200 miles range to enable supercharging on the car.

I think if Tesla can make the Gen III car with a 200 mile range that has access to the supercharger network for $37,490 ($29,990 with Fed rebate) then this will be the REAL gamechanger for EV's and Tesla.
Affordable, free long range, great looking car that costs very little to run.

Do you think they can do it by 2015/16/17 though?

In one of his interviews, didn't Elon say he was looking at the Gen III design?

The majors may have more resources, but have long been coping with internal admin and operational and conceptual inertia and complexity. I think you will find TM is much swifter than they to do anything except variations on a theme. For a design from a clean sheet, the MS was designed and produced at unbelievable speed for the "auto experts" who were opining in the early days.

Also, I believe the battery / motor platform is so unobstrusive it can be used without much if any modification, with different bodies. This appears to be a huge bounus in developing a new car.

Your right when it comes to the Model S there Iph but I don't think Gen III is going to be built on the Model S platform, at least that is what people have assumed thus far.
But I imagine it may be built on the same basic design of Model S, only shrunk down somewhat to save on materials cost. In this respect I suppose your right, in that Tesla might be able to develope Gen III faster as they only need to shrink down the Model S platform.

I hope this is the case.

GenIII is not a car, it is the new platform. That's the definition, so it can't be build on Model S platform.

I'm expecting narrower and shorter platform with plenty of models made, including that affordable car and the next Roadster (or whatever sport car they have in mind).

A prototype something along the size of a Leaf with a larger capacity battery sometime in 2015.

Well the Model S prototype was unveiled in Apr 2009 and production did not start until July 2012. Applying the same timeline for a Gen III prototype release in 2015, we wouldn't see it on sale until 2018...I am hoping to see a prototype towards the end of 2013/early 2014 for a late 2016 early 2017 production date.
Not sure about Leaf size...from what we have heard it will bigger than a hatchback.

Does anyone think they will be able to hit 200 miles per charge with supercharger access for $37,490 ($29,990 after fed rebate) by this time? Will battery prices have fallen enough to produce 100,000 cars at this price? Obviously the $37,490 would be for the most basic 200 mile range model with supercharger access...all other options would be extra.

Applying the same timeline is crazy. TM has learned so much since 2009 that the unveil-production gap will probably be half as long, at most. The big challenge will be being able to deal with the order-of-magnitude greater volume necessary to achieve economies of scale.

Current battery cost for Tesla is approx $450/kWh (guesstimate).

85kWh costs then $38250. 8% drop / year.

38250 -> 35190 -> 32375

If the car is lighter and gets 200+ miles with just 60kWh battery then 60*85/32375 = 22852. ~$35k very basic GenIII car would be doable, but it would need to be very basic.

Of course I could be completely wrong, and battery costs could go down a lot more than that by 2015. There are already few companies making full batteries (in small scale) that have more than double the Model S battery energy density. If Panasonic gets to same by 2015 then $38250 drops to $19125 for 85kWh (assuming same / cell price) and $13500 for 60kWh.

@ BrianH Maybe not so crazy for marketing purposes. It takes time to build demand. The Gen lll will be a whole new market that may not be in synch with the ballyhoo about the Model S. Furthermore, stimulating demand for a mass market car will be a new experience for Tesla. As much as we may love the Model S, it is still a niche player in the larger car market. I think the marketing challenge may be greater than the technical/design ones.

TIMO tesla has stated there goal was to make 25% profit on the Model S. This implys (using your math) the battery costs $337.50/kWh. For a mass market car there profit margins will likely be less. I would suggest 15-20%.

Based on your Figures then.

85kw costs = $28,687.5

60kw cost = $20,250

Three years drop in price my 8% = $15,768.50

Plus profit magin of 15-20%= the battery pack ranging from $18,133-$18,922

That's another $4000 off your estimate, if we think they can build a premium shell for 32000 with profit, I think we have a formula for a $40,000 car with 200 mile range.

But I suspect the shell will cost less then this judging by the Model S price taking out the battery costs.
I feel we will see a no added options 300-350 model in the $40,000 price point, and I'm hoping for a Febuary 2013 prototype.

I agree with Timo's 25th statment. The Gen III and Roadster III will probably have the same base platform.

One with economy/mass production appeal and the other with more carbon fiber.

I was just browsing around on Teslas website and came to and clicked on the movie about a Tesla career... at 1:23 in the clip some guys a sculpting a prototype of some kind, the design looks like a Model S at first glance but looking a bit closer the front and the rear are much smaller than the Model S... could this be the first look of the Gen III? It looks really promising!

Don't have the link, but that was spotted a year ago or more, and the conclusion was that it was an early S mockup, IIRC.

Hi Timo,
Really like your calculations above. But doesn't the 40 kWh Model S get 160 miles per charge? I would assume that a lighter, smaller, Gen III might be able to squeeze 200 miles out of the same 40 kWh pack? Maybe a 45-50 kWh pack max?

I really think the target for Tesla should be to get to a 200 mile range WITH supercharger access on the basic no option Gen III for $37,490...that way we hit the $29,990 target (with Fed rebate) that everybody seems to agree is "mass market". Basic Gen III buyers will then get a great EV with no long distance driving issues (as the supercharger network will be coast to coast by then)...and bam...EV's should be the no brainer choice for the vast majority of people!

If all the other "big auto" boys haven't woken up by then Tesla stock will go to infinity and beyond!

p.s. does anybody know what the average distance between each supercharger is currently? I am trying to figure out what range will be necessary on the Gen III to enable a person to leapfrog from supercharger to supercharger nationwide. I bet Tesla has already given us a clue with the superchargers that they have already installed in California.

But doesn't the 40 kWh Model S get 160 miles per charge?

That's not really a real life range. Constant 55mph at optimal conditions give you that. Looking at the reports I have seen from Model S it looks like EPA estimate is actually quite accurate, so expect to see 265/300 ratio for that. That gives roughly 141 miles for 40kWh.

It is possible to make car that gets 200 miles out of very small battery pack, but I believe GenIII affordable version will not have emphasis on low consumption but practicality, and it wont be very small. Smaller than Model S, but not tiny. I'm thinking Prius -size class. Obviously I have no idea if my guess is right, Tesla has been very quiet about that.

Distance between SC and the next city is likely to be around 150 miles. On long hauls, that would be the distance between SC stations. So the 40kWh battery is unlikely to cut it.

teddyg (and others) when talking about pricing of the genIII I don't thing we can automatically include the $7,500 fed rebate.

Even if it survive the coming tax law changes, it is a non refundable tax credit that reduces taxes owed in the year the vehicle is placed in service. If you owe less than $7,500 the credit is only the amount you owe.

While I thing that it is safe to assume that most Model S (and X) buyer owe that much in taxes, the genIII mass market will be very different.

@teddyg - below 60mph rolling resistance dominates over aero drag. RR is directly proportional to the weight of the car, so it is possible to increase range by reducing weight. Increasing by 50% to get from 140 to c. 200 might be possible but it would be tough.

I don't think that price of batteries for Tesla are more than $400/kWh. Probably less.
If you have 60kWh battery pack and want 85kWh you have to pay additional $10,000.

10,000/25 = 400$/kWh.
If we count in some margin I'd think about 350-390$/kWh.

40kWh -> 60kWh = 10000/20 = $500/kWh. That ten grand is kind of arbitrary price tag, with supercharger hardware installed price difference between 60kWh and 85kWh is only $8000 (both have same HW then) even that kWh difference between them is bigger than between 40kWh and 60kWh.

Of course pack itself adds some more or less constant value to that consideration and batteries in it cost less. OTOH it can be that Tesla doesn't put any margin to battery pack (it is gained elsewhere) and might even sell that particular part in loss to get long range car more desirable.

That incoming price increase might actually be response to that (more % of 85kWh cars sold than they anticipated).

Interesting to see where Tesla has just priced the battery pack replacement prices for 2020. Gives an indication of where they see prices in 8 years time. 85kWh pack can be locked in now for $12,000.
That's just $142 per kWh...retail!
If we think Tesla is paying $450 per kWh now (probably less by all accounts) we can assume we will get halfway to the $142 per kWh in four years (late 2016 - around the time Gen III may be released?)...then we could get:
bum da Da dum...$296 per kWh retail.
Assuming a slight margin say Tesla is paying $275 per kWh by 2016. This means that a 50 kWh pack (enough to get a lighter/smaller Gen III a 200 mile real world range) would cost Tesla $13,750 in 2016.

I think this should put us on a very good track to getting the Gen III a 200 mile real world range (with supercharger access) for a base price of $29,990 (after any Gov rebates/incentives)...all projecting for 2016 of course (and not including inflation) but interesting nonetheless!

Tesla stated that's a REPLACEMENT price, meaning that's the premium after a Core is considered. There is no way we will see $142/ kWh in that time frame unless a quantum leap is found in battery technology before then.

That's a pre-pay price. So you have to consider ROI for that money for 8 yrs added on. Tesla's alternative forms of capital/loans probably cost it about 4%, so 1.04^8=1.37 x 12K = 16,400. That's in the range of $200/kw. (And the money is probably worth more than that market ROI to it.)

The battery cost is dropping at about 8%/yr as well, which is another factor of 1.85, so that means $12K x 1.35 x 1.85 = $30K worth of battery at 2012 prices is what TM estimates it will be able afford for that deposit. About break-even, which makes it a promotional and confidence-building policy.

I think we can safely say that Tesla sees battery costs at around $200/kWh by 2020 though.
Halfway point is 2016...if we think $450 per kWh now then should be at $325 per kWh by 2016.
$325 x 50 kWh = $16,250
$37,490 - 20% profit margin = $29,992
$29,992 - $16,250 = $13,742 available to build the rest of Gen III.

How much do we think the Model S base model (without battery) costs Tesla to make?

Not sure if they could get a 200 mile, supercharging Gen III built without battery for $13,743?

More I think of it Supercharging may well have to be an option on the base model Gen III. Standard would be game changing but I suppose a $2,000 option for free long distance for the life of your car isn't too much to ask, and these payments may be needed to help fund some of the costs of the super charging infrastructure.

Assuming supercharging as a $2,000 option on base Gen III then Tesla would need to build the rest of the car (without battery) for $15,743...can it be done?
Again goal is 200 mile range, base model off a 50 kWh pack, for $29,990 (after any Govt incentives).

Whoops don't know why I wrote that!
They would still only have $13,742 to build the base Gen III, 200 mile range, without supercharging for $29,990.

I don't think Tesla will produce the Gen III as $29,990 car. It's supposed to compete with the BMW 3-series and also make Tesla a grip of money. The 328i starts at $37,100 and quickly climbs up to $58,225 for a fully loaded M Sport 328i (not M3).

I think the Gen III sedan's price and performance will be comparable to or better than the 328i, 335i, and the M3 for the 50kW, 75kW, and P75 Gen III respectively.

BMW 328i sedan: $37,100-$58,225 0-60 in 5.7 Man./5.8 Auto sec.
BMW 335i sedan: $43,200-$63,625 0-60 in 5.4 Man./5.1 Auto sec.
BMW M3 coupe: $60,100-$81,492 0-60 in 4.7 Man./4.5 Auto sec.
(no sedan option).