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How Fast Will The Tesla Model 3 Be?

How fast can we reasonably expect the Tesla Model 3 to be when released? Will the entry-level version hit 0-60 miles per hour in fewer than 4 seconds?

While I’m assuming that Elon Musk (and the other company execs) will want the entry-level offering to completely outclass its competitors, just how exceptional will it actually end up being?

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On that topic, a recent discussion on the subject on the Tesla Motors Club forum provided some interesting speculations and analyses, which I’ll quote from below.

A commenter by the name of “MuskforPresident” kicked things off with this (unsurprisingly optimistic) prediction/question:

We know the Model 3 will be around $35k. So assuming we can expect a lighter car with a smaller battery than MS, would not then we expect acceleration to actually go up from the MS?

So MS ludicrous mode does 0-60 in 2.8 seconds… Are we talking crazy ass performance for M3 at $50k and under price point?

Hmm. That would be great, and would presumably give the company a performance/pricing combination that would possibly allow for mass adoption (which is Musk’s stated goal for the Model 3). But is it realistic? I’m actually more on the skeptical side myself, though completely happy to be proved wrong.

Here are some other interesting comments from the discussion, somewhat backing up my skepticism:

“gordo” replied:

I doubt it. The Model 3 will have a smaller battery pack (physically, but also kWh-wise), so it likely won’t be able to draw as much peak power as a Model S. I suspect the high-end Model 3 will top out somewhere in the $65-75k range and have sub-4.0 second 0-60.

An interesting comment came later from “Twiglett”:

I really (really, really) doubt that Tesla are going to artificially make the Model 3 less of a car than the Model S.
While it will undoubtably be build down to a low entry point, it will probably still have insane or ludicrous options or could well be faster or more nimble than the Model S.
EM has consistently mentioned that they don’t want to be like the other manufacturers in this regard.
After all, most manufacturers are trying to sell you up the range, Tesla is the other way around. The Model S is there as the enabler for the Model 3 in the same way the Roadster was for the S.
They seem to be planning on making each successive car better than the last.

“JohnSnowNW” commented:

You need less power to reach similar performance in a lighter vehicle. It will be limited by power draw, but I don’t see any reason the M3 won’t be able to reach sub-3.5 second performance. The M3 won’t be using AL, but that doesn’t mean that weight savings can’t be found elsewhere.


 

And “Yggdrasill” left this highly detailed prediction:

I think the Model 3 will at launch have a D-version available. And assuming they use a similar motor to the front motor for both axels, that means they should have a version with around 400 hp AWD at launch. Already, that’s about the same as an M3, and 0-60 will be somewhere around 4 seconds. And this wouldn’t cost extremely much. Starting with a base Model 3 at 35k USD, all you need to add is the front motor/inverter, which is a 5k USD option on the Model S. I think they could make this motor cheaper for the Model 3, but they would proably load more profit onto this option, so I think it will cost a similar amount. That means a 40k USD Model 3 will have 400 hp and go 0-60 in around 4 seconds.

But I think Tesla could consider making a PXXD edition as well, having the upgraded contactors, fuses, etc, as well as a bigger motor and battery and a more powerful inverter. There would be nothing stopping Tesla from making a 350 hp rear motor plus the 200 hp front motor, thus 550 hp, or 125 hp more than an M3. Then you’d be looking at less than 3 seconds 0-60. Though given that Tesla has announced that they will be making another Roadster, maybe they will save this for the Roadster. If not, they would need to really outdo themselves, making a quad motor system or something similar.

Interesting thoughts. Even if none of them actually end up hitting the mark squarely. I’m rather undecided myself, as to what the Model 3 will end up being capable of — Musk’s comments on the subject have been relatively vague to date.

Anyone care to make a prediction?

 
Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

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