Elon Musk has said it before but will repeat it whenever asked. While virtually attending the B20 conference in Indonesia, Musk was asked about creating a smaller, more affordable car. The moderator suggested it be called the Model I for India or Indonesia. It’s a reoccurring question, but with competition also targeting a cheaper price point, Tesla must find a way to get there.
Musk responded to the question familiarly, “I can’t speak too much to the future of Tesla product development, except to say that we do think that making a much more affordable vehicle would make a lot of sense and we should do something.”
It’s something Tesla will have to do. Volvo’s CEO Jim Rowan told Automotive New Europe that EVs should be at price parity with gas cars in a couple of years.
The manufacturer has also teased a small EV that it sees as entry-level for consumers. It’s set a goal of producing 600,000 battery-powered vehicles by 2025. So far this year, it has made 40,500. Therefore, the new small vehicle the company is talking about would have to be a price point that would move many cars. Rowan said, “city car aimed at a younger demographic who can subscribe to it and make it their first Volvo.”
Elon Musk at the B20 Conference
Tesla has already brought down the price of producing electric vehicles, but Volvo says it can do better. Volvo said during its Capital Markets Day presentations that it plans to have battery pack costs down to less than $100 per kilowatt hour by 2025-26. A recent tear-down of the Tesla Model 3 pack, overseen by analysts from UBS bank, showed a cost of $131 per kWh.
During the third quarter earnings call, Musk said that Tesla’s new vehicle development team was already working on the next platform and would incorporate everything the company has learned from Models S, 3, X, Y, Semi and Cybertruck.
There have been rumblings of a Model 2, a vehicle that would cost around $25,000, for a few years around Tesla.
With the company having a hard time keeping up with orders for the Model 3 and Model Y, that didn’t seem necessary. However, Musk could also be alluding to the company's upcoming Robotaxi, or possibly a platform will be shared by both vehicles.
The company must address the need for a cheaper vehicle with the competition catching up and targeting areas where Tesla doesn’t currently offer products.
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
If you look up ambient lights for Tesla, you'll see several ads for third-party light kits. Perhaps this is why Tesla added its own Ambient Lights feature to the new Model 3. So, let's get enlightened.
Tesla's ambient lights are thin light strips that are embedded in each of the vehicle's doors near the top edge. It also curves around the dashboard near the windshield, giving passengers a near 360-degree light effect.
Tesla new ambient light feature is available on the new Model 3 (2024+), and will be available on the Cybertruck in a similar manner. With a refresh ongoing for the Model Y, known as Juniper, it will likely also have ambient lights. That just leaves out the most luxurious flagship vehicles, the Model S and X, for now.
The Model S and Model X could be due for a minor refresh that would not only add ambient lighting, but also include a front-bumper camera that the Cybertruck has and the new Model 3 is expected to have in the near future.
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
The ambient light settings allow you to light up the interior in a color that reflects your mood or preference. Under Controls > Lights > Accent Lights, you are handed the freedom to choose virtually any color to adorn the interior of your Tesla.
You have control over whether the ambient lights are on, off, or set to an "Auto" setting, though not fully clarified, seems to promise intelligent lighting adjustments akin to our control over dome lights, offering a reduction in reflections during drives.
While the ability to control the brightness level seems missing, Tesla did include color presets, letting you curate a series of your favorite colors.
It should be noted that the changes are confined to the light strips on the doors and dash, steering clear of the footwell lights and other interior lighting.
With Tesla, we can be assured there will be enhancements to this feature in a future update. In fact, the Tesla community is already busy coming up with useful suggestions. Some owners thought Tesla should take advantage of the lighting to provide driver feedback, such as automatically changing the ambient lighting to a red hue when there's a vehicle in your blind spot. Tesla could also glow the light strip on a door if it's not closed properly, or use the lighting to provide feedback when Sentry Mode is enabled.
Other uses could be more fun, such as cycling the light through various colors when the 'Rainbow Road' easter egg is activated.
Ambient Lighting in Action
While the possibilities are endless and Tesla engineers will surely have fun coming up with creative uses for the feature, the biggest improvement we can hope for in the near future is the ability to adjust the light intensity.
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades
Tesla outdid itself with the refreshed Model 3, known as the Highland. Despite all the fantastic upgrades, something is missing - the Performance version or perhaps the Plaid. The letter "T" has shown up on vehicle certificates in Europe, and despite Elon Musk's sense of humor, it is unlikely this is a Mr. T reference.
Deciphering the 'T'
A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
eivissacopter / X
Diligent scrutiny of the European Type Certificate, issued by the Dutch vehicle authority RDW and shared on the TFF Forum, revealed a subtle yet pivotal alteration — including the letter 'T' in the eighth digit of the Model 3 Performance's VIN.
This seemingly minor detail, indicative of the vehicle's motor/drive unit type, sparked curiosity and speculation on the forum. Could it be a tri-motor setup to usher in a new Plaid version of the Model 3? This vehicle has already got endless amounts of zip, but three motors? May The Schwartz Be With You!
This could also explain the Model 3+ badging that was spotted during the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China inspection of the refresh. However, the regulatory filings highlighted just two distinct variants of the car: a rear-wheel drive (RWD) with a 194 kW motor and an all-wheel drive (AWD) dual-motor setup that combines to deliver a formidable 331 kW of maximum power.
Initial conjectures leaned towards the possibility of a tri-motor setup, drawing parallels with the Plaid variants of the Model S and Model X. However, a deeper dive into the certification document clarified that the Model 3 Performance retained its Dual Motor setup, dispelling the possibility of a tri-motor upgrade.
Strategic Enhancements: A Glimpse into Potential Upgrades
Given the documented specifications, it becomes plausible that Tesla has strategically enhanced one of the dual motors, potentially aligning it with the advanced motor found in the Model S/X Plaid. This modification is poised to augment the top-end speed and acceleration of the Model 3 Performance, addressing its comparative limitations in extended races against traditional gas-powered supercars.
Meanwhile, the Model 3 refresh has become the new Bigfoot of the roads of North America, with rare sightings posted on social media. However, it appears the continent is excluded from the initial launch of the Model 3 Highland. Internal communications within Tesla suggest North American enthusiasts might have to exercise patience until 2024.
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