Tesla Model 3 Will Indeed Include “Next Generation” Technology, CTO JB Straubel Notes

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

As the Tesla Model 3 unveil gets closer and closer, I’m getting the sense that some people are getting rather impatient. To throw those who feel this way a bit of a scrap here, Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), JB Straubel, recently spoke on the subject at the IHS Energy CERAWeek event in Houston, Texas.

There wasn’t much “new” revealed, per se, but there were some interesting comments. Amongst which was that the Model 3 would feature the “next-generation” of Tesla technology — not something unexpected, but it does seem to suggest that there are some surprises in store for the reveal at the end of March.

Tesla CTO JB Straubel: Model 3 Is Going To Be Mostly New Technology

Adding to that, he apparently noted: “We don’t really need more performance; we don’t really need much more range; we need to focus on cost. I think it will surprise people with the level of features it includes.”

He also noted that the Model 3 will be of similar size to the Audi A4.

Teslarati provides more:

Overall, battery costs are declining through advances in manufacturing. Lower costs will lead to significant improvements in the amount of electrical energy that can be stored and to building batteries on a larger scale. Straubel indicated that electric motor costs are also declining. “Basically, every single part of that electric vehicle ecosystem is dropping substantially, he said.

He reminded his audience that when Tesla first began selling the Model S, industry observers thought demand for the car would top out at 3,000 cars. “We’re selling tens of thousands of cars per year,” Straubel said. Once the Model 3 joins the Model S and Model X, Tesla claims it will be selling hundreds of thousands of cars a year.

The Tesla Model 3 reveal is currently set for March 31, the same day that in-store reservations will begin. Online reservations will begin the next day, on April 1.

→ Related: Purported Insider: Model 3 To Be Very Similar To Model S, Just Smaller (Rumor)

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James Ayre

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.

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50 thoughts on “Tesla Model 3 Will Indeed Include “Next Generation” Technology, CTO JB Straubel Notes

  • Do you, by chance, have a recording of this presentation? Can’t find it anywhere.

    • Yeah, I also would like this, I enjoy JB’s take and presentations.
      He may just be my favorite industrialist.

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  • Surely a bit late but maybe Tesla sales reads this. I’m not looking for tons of features, for a budget Tesla EV I want:
    – long range like the 85S
    – heat pump airco/heating
    – heated steering wheel and seats
    – 3-fase fast charging
    – radio
    – navigation with charge directions
    – cruise control
    The nice to have features
    – adaptive cruise control
    – auto pre-heat/cool before departure while still on the charger
    – rear parking sensors

    Dump all the other price hiking features. 🙂

    • Don’t think they’ll do nav in a 35K base model, that’s a bit much for the price tag.
      Also I could see range being closer to 180 instead of the 240 of the 85S.
      Still a epic piece of machinery for the price.

      • 180 miles (~290 km) would probably be sufficient. It’s not that I’m driving distances like that every day but still at least five to ten times a month (round trip to parents and work-related round trips of 250 km) on mostly highway speeds.

        Would be very nice to not have to use a fast charger when already being away 10 to 12 hours for work. And it’s already slowly getting more difficult to find an unoccupied charge spot in cities and parking far away from the venue when carrying lots of stuff gets frustrating very quickly so I would really like to just park anywhere during the day.

        Another plus for a large pack is no need for a (second) ice vehicle.

        • I actually tried to do a bit more exact math. I now want to say 160-165 miles(257-265km) a charge.
          The plug-in stations will keep growing more numerous.
          Also instead of quick charging is there no where you can plug in while at work? What do you do for a living?
          As far as the need for a second ICE it depends if you take long trips frequently and if there is no other household member with one already. If you travel once or twice a year and don’t have another then it may be brighter to just rent one or take a train perhaps, or take a train and then rent one depending.

          • Where do you get your calculations on a car that doesn’t exist yet. I guess you feel that Tesla quote at 200 miles is wrong and that you know better?

          • 50kWh Model 3 Battery pack
            Model S 3.117 miles/kWh
            Weight 360 less
            Using what I know, though it’s possible the electric motor will be less powerful and more efficient, or both more powerful and efficient.
            Furthermore I do this off real world and EPA ratios. Much as Tesla’s qoutes of 400 miles become 280-320 real world I weigh that similarly as well.
            I’d bet a decent sum of money I’m right on an EPA rating under 190 miles.

          • Tesla has never said 400 although there are those that have achieved that. How do you know what battery they plan on using? If the car is 20% smaller, where do you come up with it weighing only 360 pounds less. You are not using facts, you are using assumptions which are meaningless until the facts are known. You don’t even know what motors or motors they are using. I would love to hear what the Bolt will achieve since there is more information available on that than the Model 3?

          • The battery weighing 360 less, not the car. 840 vs 1200

          • One can do a better calculation than that. Highway range is mostly aero drag limited. The Model 3 will have 20% less frontal area and at least as good if not better Cd. A Model S 60 goes 208 miles on a charge.
            That means with a 20% smaller (48kwhr) battery pack the Model 3 should be able to go the same distance.
            Forget the Roadster. Its a bad comparison. It has a miserable Cd of over 0.30 since its adapted from an ICE.

          • We’ll see.

          • Length does matter to aero. And Tesla has stated repeatedly that the Model 3 is 20% smaller. Articles have come out hinting that Musk is on the aero warpath. There is plenty of reason to believe the Model 3 will be every bit as slippery as the Model S and considerably less frontal area. Thats range. Nobody knows the size of the battery. I say it will be less to save money. Wish I had a few bucks to make a friendly wager. :).
            My bet, is just over 200 highway miles for the base version with the smallest battery pack. Tesla has also stated that there will be different range versions. And with all the promises of 200 mile range, I doubt they will fail to do this in the base version.

          • I know lenth matter I was qriting reports on aerodynamics when I was 7..
            I think it will be ‘able to get 200, I just see a lesser EPA rating possible. It’s all conjecture at this point. We have a while to wait for results.
            I myself through all this debate am building indifference now to the topic. There are things I look more forward to as to Tesla which will be announced prior, Powerwall 2.0 mainly, I mental step at a time as it were.

          • Sure its conjecture. But pride and reputation are on the line here. I see no way Musk is ever going to let the range be less than 200 miles. In fact, I will say this right out. Chances are, he will insist it be 200 miles highway range. You heard it here first.

          • Reaching for the stars 🙂 It’d definitely be a winner with that figure on board, will be anyways though. 2017 is gonna be a HUGE year for all things storage.
            I think that’d require 58kWhs active in a 60kWh pack(2kWh buffer).
            That’s at 3.45 miles per kWh(model s is 3.117) which is likely.

          • You are looking at the wrong variable. Look at drag.


            Between tire drag and aero drag at highway speeds, its no contest. Aero drastically alters loss. In the city, weight matters more. But with regeneration, much of that effect is muted.

            Take a look at Zero Motorcycles data. Motorcycles have horrible aero drag compared to cars.

            EV city range is much better than highway. Most EVs are lucky to get 70% of their city range on the highway.

            Auto manufacturers are blowing it on drag. The Leaf, Volt, and most cars are ridiculously bad. If the EV-1 had a 0.197 drag coefficient years ago what are we doing being stuck with vehicles with 0.30 drag coefficients? Thats not progress. GM has no excuses. And all the rest. They just are not trying on aero drag. Tesla is.


          • I know this, what did I say which was wrong?
            I know Aerodynamics is more important highway and weight more troublesome to acceleration. I also drive a Prius so I’m well versed with regenerative braking(shame regerative shocks never made it into anything).
            Also, I know how surface area and wind resistance play on a body, look what the slightest wobble does to a quick moving craft, or what rotation can do for a bullet.

          • I dont think you needed to state the obvious. Much different perspective..
            I do get it. Believe me. I do.
            I just have this annoying habit of being picky instead of sociable sometimes, but I add some humor to make things interesting. Sorry to drag my pet peeve aerodynamics into this.
            To me, any car company that brags about efficiency is lying unless they are Tesla.
            Even there, I agree. I mean 4500 pounds, 700hp? Do I hear the words overkill ?

          • In fact Elon already said in interviews that the M3 will have real word 200 mile range.

          • Aw shucks. You burned my wager. LOL. I don’t mind.

          • You wouldn’t happen to be a Mensa member would you?

          • Someone asked me that just yesterday. Odd.
            Nope, no clubs for me, only label I wear is Earthling.
            I tested pretty decently in IQ in 3rd grade but I prefer the position of outsider.

          • “I’d never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member.”

          • “It’s this whole gung-ho super-organism thing that I, I you know I can’t get, I try but I can’t get it. I mean you know, what is it, I’m supposed to do everything for the colony, and what about my needs, what about me? I mean I gotta believe there’s someplace out there that’s better than this! Otherwise I’d just curl up in a larva position and weep!”

          • Find me anywhere that Tesla quotes 400

          • Dude, I already did, google 400 miles Tesla Roadster 3.0.

          • Dude lets try talking about cars in production which have a more advanced drive train. My sister has a 70D and she gets 240 miles per charge, just like Tesla quotes. Let’s hear your statistics on the Bolt

          • I don’t even care about the Bolt enough to every type it’s name again. Like I said, talking EPA range.

          • We will see what it’s rated but before real facts about the motor, weight, etc come out it’s hard to calculate

          • Yeah, was really just guesstimating not calculating. We got a year and a half til we’ll know unless they make a pre-production prototype and benchmark it.

          • True but there may be more information forthcoming that might help you with your calculations

          • Riely is right. They like to exaggerate a little bit. Roadster 3.0 was presented as 400miles, initially Model S was presented as 300miles.
            Saying something against doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate Tesla. It’s just reality is little harsher than promotion figures. Even for Tesla, for great company which is fighting Dawid agains Goliath and is winning.

          • Where did you read 50 kwh?
            55-60 kwh is more likely. The model S 60 was rated at 207 miles on the EPA cycle, and the Model 3 is going to be 20% smaller.

          • I’ve heard both 50kWh and 48kWh. Not gonna do the source legwork atm though but thought I’d respond regardless.

          • I think that is optimistic that is unsupported by current EVs. A 24 kwh battery gets 84 miles… double that pack size (48), and you won’t even get double range because of the extra weight. Maybe get 170 miles if you reduce the unused buffer some.
            Tesla’s target is over 200 miles. And it won’t get there by skimping on the kwhs.

          • I said 160-165 based on my math… Though possibly 180 as I initially guessed and as may be possible for Tesla.

          • Actually I cycle to work, it’s the Mrs who gives efficiency training and who travels all over the place during the week. And because I cycle we have only need for one car (a 2010 Prius currently) that subsequently needs to cover our needs.

            Taking the train for the occasional long distance trip is no problem (as would be fast-charging). But I cannot imagine the Mrs to be too enthousiastic about hauling half a cubic meter of heavy stuff to/from and in/out of trains or waiting 20+ mins for a charge after a very long day intensive training.

          • I drive a 2010 Prius too, Are we twins? Silver.

          • Dark grey, not twins. 🙂
            The Prius was a lease initially but we bought it when the lease expired, already knowing the vehicle, it’s history and economic operation, easy to drive etc. You’ll get the picture. It has about 150k km on the readout and no big repairs other then the usual: tires, headlamps and wipers. Very reliable. But I need a good reason to put more solar panels on the roof! 😀

      • Tesla is pretty set at 200 miles being the minimum. And now that the Bolt is coming, they won’t risk less.

        Nav may be a pricey option, just to make more profit, but it doesn’t cost Tesla anything extra. It’s just software.

    • I agree with your wish list. Having the ability to do heat on a highway for 320 km in the winter would seal the deal……that and a hatchback with fold down rear seats.

  • I would hope it would have “next generation” tech – we will not see the 3 really pouring out of the factory until 2018. Two years is a long time in this market.

    • Sources say production is mid 2017.

      “Although we’ll get first sight of the new First Model 3 next year, first deliveries are not expected to be until Mid 2017”


      Barring a last minute surprise announcement from a contender like Nissan or BMW, its highly unlikely the Model 3 has any competition in a virtually empty market. The only other contender, the Bolt, is a tall hatchback scheduled to arrive in 2017. GM is racing to beat Tesla there, too, pushing up its delivery dates for late 2016, early 2017.


      Frankly, I would rather have GM wait and get the bugs ironed out. They have a reputation for rushing cars to market too early without doing their homework. And I would rather wait for a Tesla.

      One more thing. The lack of decent fast charge capability is effectively a range crippling device, IMO.

      What good is a long range EV without it.

  • Size of an A4 is exactly what I expected.

    Now it just needs to *perform* like an A4, and Tesla will crossover to mainstream and steal that $35K sport sedan market.

    • Knowing Elon, he won’t settle for less.

  • 2025…used for in der 7k€..maybe.

  • Basically a smaller version of the model S 60, for $35,000. It has to be 60kwh, since Elon has said that there is no use in producing an electric car with less than 200 mile range. The model S 60 had 208 miles. Stay tuned for a smiling public when this car is rated at 225 miles. The battery will cost Tesla about $10,000 in 2017 but that will fall to $7000 by 2020.

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