Category Archives: Model III reveal

Model III still cloaked for good reasons

Here are four possible reasons why Tesla won’t reveal any details about the Model III until it’s already in production, presumably this summer.

  1. There’s no need to generate more sales.
  2. Why tip your hand to the competition?
  3. Some things might not be finalized. Huh? With just a few months left? Absolutely. This ain’t Detroit we’re talking about. On-the-fly changes are a Tesla hallmark.
  4. Some Model III features may leapfrog the S and X, rendering them stale already. Relentless innovation can shorten the shelf life of your products. With phones or graphic cards costing a few hundred dollars, this isn’t a big consumer problem. They can easily upgrade. With cars, it’s a problem. And retrofitting Tesla’s latest tech into the S/X might be difficult or impossible. So, in short, Tesla might be savoring the last glory days of the S/X. The III might vanguard the “second generation” of Tesla products that make the first look like possum’s peckers.
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Part II, where are you?

Intermission TeslaMondo

This long intermission between Part I and Part II of the Model ☰ reveal promises to be:

  1. Tortuous. Elon is going to tease us all to death with tweets, drip by drip. Who can blame him? He was on the verge of bankruptcy and a nervous breakdown just eight years ago. Now, eight years later, he has the entire auto industry — a cruel industry known for padlocking the back door to newcomers — by the cojones. Can you blame him for exploiting this to the max? Also, he’s a child, and children like to torture you when they know something you don’t.
  2. Virtuous. Rest assured Tesla’s HR department has received some very interesting job applications in the past 36 hours, and will receive plenty more in the coming months. In the ongoing Battle for Brains between Tesla, Google, Apple et al, this is a beautiful thing. Model S and X orders undoubtedly spiked and will see ongoing buoyancy, as will resale values. Anything with the Tesla name now has more cachet. Tesla sells other stuff too, remember? Tesla shirts, Tesla jackets, Tesla thermoses, Tesla toothbrushes, Tesla cotton balls, Tesla bark mulch, Tesla feather dusters. And Tesla Energy, the most forgotten business in the history of journalism, now has more leverage in its budding industry. Listing Tesla as a supplier now means a little more for your business reputation. Last but not least, the ongoing legal fights between Tesla and a posse of greasy street thugs (dealer groups, politicians and General Motors) now looks like a futile attempt to hold back a tsunami with a row of sand bags. Yes, TeslaMondo just re-used the same water analogy employed in the last post. Blogs are really going downhill these days.

Episode V: Raising the bar

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Telltale injury to a TSLA short. Same injuries reported this morning in corporate offices of many, many auto companies.

Make that three bars. Equal length.

Getting right to the action, what did we learn yesterday, and what is Tesla still holding to the vest?

Demand: It’s stronger than many anticipated. TeslaMondo, however, had it right when it wrote, “The stage is set for too many orders.” And this is DESPITE CHEAP GAS.

“Won’t look like other cars”: That’s what Musk told us a while back. It’s true enough. The design could be dubbed CVF, or “Cab Very Forward,” made possible by firewall manipulation, which in turn was made possible by the extreme unlikelihood of an engine fire. The result is copious room in the rear. The Bubbilicious greenhouse has panoramic rear glass akin to Model X’s panoramic front glass. Overall, it seems Tesla resisted the temptation to build a super-aggressive but impractical vehicle. Instead, it’s athletic enough while offering good visibility and spaciousness. At this point, Tesla has enough street cred that it doesn’t need to shove “aggressive” down our throats. Everyone knows Teslas haul ass. Also notable: The ICE masquerade is over. No more fake grilles for Tesla. This means no nose or mouth. Just eyes. This will take some getting used to. But hey, we’re witnessing the evolution of the automobile. Some double-takes are expected.

Next-generation technology: No mention.

Geographical reach: It’s going to ship to India, among other nations. TeslaMondo has said India seems ripe for Tesla, though India does have some infrastructure issues. Most notably, the total lack of an infrastructure.

User interface: No instrument cluster, which means no “lumpy” dashboard to look over. Forward visibility benefits. The top left corner of the touch screen (15-inch landscape) shows speedometer and other vitals. LG is a new glass supplier, according to this morning’s rumors. Looking past the steering wheel into darkness, without those trusty instruments acting as night lights, may seem strange at first. But it’s not new. Anyone remember the Toyota Echo (pictured)?Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 1.15.53 PM

Powertrain options: Rear drive and dual motor, according to a Tesla engineer who conducted a Periscoped test drive. Musk said nothing about this before making a sudden Exit Stage Left. Was this engineer supposed to let that info slip?

Range, Safety, Performance: At least 215 miles, at least five stars in all categories, and at most six seconds to 60 mph.

Market response: TSLA is moving violently upward as TeslaMondo goes to press. Remember, short people got no reason to live.

Further reading:

Episode I: The Impostor
Episode II: We Build, We Fight
Episode III: Tesla Energy is Born
Episode IV: Winged Assassins

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Let’s revisit the gallery of guesswork about what Model III would look like. Was anyone even close?

S.E.X. lineup is rated PG

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Dammit. TeslaMondo was hoping the bottom bar would be turned upside down, thereby earning an “R” rating.

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Only the shadow knows . . .

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It seems to be not only narrower, but also lower than Model S — until you measure the image on your screen. It’s just a copy/paste of the Model S image. Black tends to shrink objects. The press invitation promises drivable prototypes. Naked or camouflaged? Only the shadow knows . . .

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Model III is quite the hair-puller

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 9.11.44 AMHow can it be that with just 24 days before the Model III debut, we still know almost nothing about it? We’ve got Tesla hackers that can find a passing reference to a P100D buried in Model S neuro-transmitters, but nobody can get their mitts on an image of a car?

In light of the latest employment survey showing Tesla is among the most meaningful, but also most stressful, places to work, you’d think that somebody in some state of disgruntlement would leak something to the internet. Unless:

  1. The culture of fear is so gripping that nobody dares. Do you really want to wake up in the middle of the night to find Elon standing over your bed?
  2. There is no Model III in the flesh — just a few carefully-guarded images.
  3. Very few people have access to Model III information. Ninety-nine percent of the company might still be in the dark and will learn nothing before March 31, just like the rest of us.
  4. The countless “leaks” we’ve seen from other automakers over the years are really just deliberate and sanctioned buzz-builders. It’s actually not hard to guard such information.

So we’re left with a sock full of “everything we know about Model III” articles, which merely rearrange the same old moldy crumbs that Tesla tossed us long ago. And the crumbs don’t even belong together. Consider: Model III won’t look like other cars, Elon said during a Reddit AMA. Sounds pretty radical. Ah, but a more adventurous version will come afterward. More adventurous than something that already doesn’t look like other cars? Alrighty then. Maybe that just means “more complex,” just as Model X is more complex than the S.

Model III won't look like other cars TeslaMondo

There’s going to be a crossover version. There’s going to be a Model “Y”. There’s going to be something with falcon doors. Do all three crumbs pertain to the same vehicle? Is this the aforementioned “more adventurous” version of Model III? Is this considered a version of Model III due to a shared platform, even though it will be called “Y”?

This new platform is some 20 percent smaller than the S/X. Three-row seating probably can’t happen. So why use falcon doors for a smallish crossover with no third row? Wasn’t third-row access the primary rationale for the falcon doors? Perhaps we’ve got this all wrong.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 10.04.13 AMEven the Gigafactory’s role in Model III is confusing. Musk once tweeted that a fully-operational Gig was essential for Model III production. But at the most recent conference call, he said: “It does not appear to be anywhere near the critical path for model III.”

Can anyone help? Where’s Horshack? He’s gone, dammit. Where’s Mr. Kotter? Still wearing his poker face, dammit. Since this post is stuck in the 70s, let’s evoke Joni Mitchell. Along with clouds, love and life itself, we really don’t know Model III. At all.

See also: What Model III Will Totally Look Like

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Should Tesla “show all the cards”?

The company says it’s debating how much to reveal about Model III at the March 31 debut. Show all the cards, or hold a few close to the vest? TeslaMondo figures there’s a one percent chance it has sufficient information to weigh in on this question. That means there’s a chance! So here goes.

Unfortunately, the central question triggers a bunch of little questions, so this gets complicated pretty fast.

First question: Are we talking about physical features or invisible features, e.g. autonomous abilities? Seems Tesla couldn’t possibly show us a hard and shiny Model III only to physically change it during the brief incubation period between concept and production. But this begs the next question . . .

Second question: Will Tesla show us an actual car, or just images? If we see only images, it seems more possible that Tesla has something up its sleeve that affects appearance.

Third question: Will Tesla stay true to its credo about production cars adhering to the concepts? Look at Model S and Model X. How much really changed during their long incubation periods between concept and production? Almost nothing. WhiteStar looks so much like Model S that to this day, the dingdong press sometimes uses WhiteStar images with current Model S articles. Model X lost its nose cone but little else changed. The panoramic roof surprised us only because we failed to notice it until months before production. It was hiding in plain sight. In sum, Tesla bravely showed all of its cards with the S and X. Full frontal nude scenes, without any strategically-placed potted plants.

So, yes or no? Reveal all or not? Hang on a minute.

Tesla’s show-all bravery didn’t carry much risk when it had the premium EV space all to itself. But now Tesla is no longer just a billionaire’s wet dream. Model S is stealing everyone’s lunch money. Tesla now dominates automotive “mind share,” and everyone salivates over that. Wanna bet that Big Auto has an array of concepts under wraps, and will choose which to unveil only after seeing Model III? With cash-rich rivals absolutely rapt this time around, and with precious little time for Model III to mutate between concept and production, a full frontal nude scene makes Tesla quite vulnerable.

So, show all? Or grab a potted plant?

No. It should show only what’s necessary to fill the order books. If they fill as quickly as we’re all expecting, and Tesla still has “one in the chamber,” all the better. Tesla could even start building the III without using all of its ammo. If/when demand wanes or competition threatens, BANG!

Yes. It should inflict maximum harm on, say, the Re-Volt. Show the world that once again, Tesla is years ahead of the smelly, shaggy auto mammoths. Reverse the “Look out Tesla” headlines. Make them read “Look out everyone else.” Use the short Model III incubation to full advantage. By the time the mammoths can react with their concepts, Tesla will already have Model IIIs burning gas. So to speak.

TeslaMondo’s position:

Tesla should show the minimum necessary to trigger orders, and that’s not much. This assumes the cloaked features are standard equipment across the entire Model III range. If we’re talking instead about some sort of James Bond “gotta have it” option that affects only high-end versions, then a belated introduction could trigger an upheaval, as people try to change their orders. Not good. Tesla needs to pull off this product launch smoothly. The sooner Tesla knows the desired product mix, the better it can strategize the rollout. So Tesla should employ suspense, but not at the risk of delaying or complicating the most important automotive launch since the Prius. The second-generation Prius, that is. The oft-forgotten first one deserves to be oft-forgotten.

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When MPG becomes MEH

Did anyone see the pair of 2016 Prius ads during the Super Bowl? Google them. Notice anything missing? Both ads totally omitted fuel economy. Yes, the car most closely aligned with fuel economy is now pitched without even a mention of mpg. In fact, not a single datum of any kind crossed the screen. The ads were all about emotion.

That should tell you something, friends. Model III must likewise stir the pot with a fork instead of a ladle. Can it be done? Sure. More effort required? Some, yes.

Today Tesla told the press to expect a “really great update” late next month, regarding Model III. Sounds like we’ll get no car per se, but still get enough grist for the starving media mill. TeslaMondo thinks there’s more to this event than simply yanking the curtain back on a new car. If Tesla knows the world wants to see the flesh-and-bone Model III, but it plans to delver something else, that something else is probably plenty interesting.

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Model III info will drip forth

According to this video:

Tesla will release the first images in late March, apparently NOT during the Geneva auto show, which ends March 13. So people who’ve been counting down the days to Geneva as the de facto Model III debut can add another dozen days at least. Sigh. Look on the bright side. Delayed orgasm has its merits.

And the images will show just the basic concept, with the juicier details to emerge in measured amounts as production nears. Sounds like Tesla wants to fill the order books without tipping its hand to rivals — uh, allies. By the time the Model III’s grooviest James Bond features hit the press, Big Auto won’t have enough time to steal any thunder.

This Chinese water torture sounds like a repeat of Model X’s birth, but worse. Why worse? Because Model III promises a new paradigm in motoring for millions of people. Every new detail will hit the blogosphere like blood droplets into a frothing tank of piranha.

Imagine life for Tesla employees with access to Model III info. They’re all potential Deep Throats. They could pay off their mortgages by selling a single factoid. One hopes that during their job interviews, someone asked them, “Are you now or have you ever been disgruntled?”

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