Category Archives: Model III speculation

Musk’s 11th-hour modesty about Model III rings false

Model III cannibal

Nom nom? No! No!

A year ago, Tesla’s chief tech officer JB Straubel said Model III will have the company’s “next generation” technology. But today Musk downplayed any notion of Model III upstaging the S and X. Cannibalismo non grata!

So then, wherein lies the truth? Obviously somewhere between Straubel and Musk, but probably closer to the Straubel end of the continuum, because a year ago there was no pressing concern about the S or X getting cannibalized. Loaded terms like “next generation” could leave the lips without repercussion. Sigh. Such innocent times.

So if indeed the Model III sports “next generation” technology, and assuming this goes beyond dry stuff like build-friendly design and myriad efficiency improvements, what’s this all about? Any new James Bond features akin to bioweapon defense, falcon wings, ludicrous acceleration, automatic-opening doors? Hyperspace?

Hyperspace Button TeslaMondo

Well, since Model III is super-simple and low-risk, that leaves the user interface and the roof as fertile ground for gee-wiz stuff. The UI is probably a wholly different experience from Model S/X, even without a true heads-up display. Musk did compare it to a spaceship, remember? Was he merely breathing up our pant legs? Unlikely.

And the roof is probably photovoltaic to a useful degree. In fact, TeslaMondo believes Tesla will pioneer photovoltaic density alongside battery density. With time, smaller and smaller surface areas will become more usefully “solar.” Why not start with a car roof?

In a few years, about the only things Tesla won’t be able to solarize will be its Tesla-brand traffic tunnels. Then again, skylights and mirrors could come into play.

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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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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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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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