Tesla Model 3 Will Offer Less Than 100 Configurations, Compared to 1,500 for the Model S

The Tesla Model 3 will have far fewer options than its big sibling.

byStephen Edelstein|
Tesla Model 3 Will Offer Less Than 100 Configurations, Compared to 1,500 for the Model S

In addition to being substantially cheaper, the Tesla Model 3 will be less complicated to configure than the Model S. Tesla's $35,000 electric car will be available in less than 100 possible configurations, compared to more than 1,500 for the Model S, according to a comparison chart created by the automaker and published on the Tesla Model 3 Owners Club forum.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the Model 3 will be simpler, and offer fewer technology features than the Model S. That's confirmed by the comparison chart, which also offers a few more details about the Model 3. For example, it shows that the Model 3 will only feature a sole 15-inch touchscreen display, rather than the 17-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen and separate digital gauge cluster used in the Model S.

Other Model S features that won't be available on the Model 3 include adaptive air suspension, glass roof, 21-inch "Performance" wheels, aluminum bodywork, HEPA filtration system, and self-presenting door handles. So the Model 3 won't be as good of a tool for showing off, but it will offer 215 miles of range at a relatively affordable price.

Like the Model S and Model X, the Model 3 is expected to be offered with multiple battery-pack options, each offering a different amount of range. But given the relatively small number of possible Model 3 configurations we now know the car will offer, it's likely that Tesla won't offer many options—perhaps just two.

For now, Tesla will only quote a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.6 seconds for the Model 3. Last year, Musk said the smaller Tesla would be offered with Ludicrous Mode, which should bump up performance a bit. However, the Model 3 probably won't be able to touch the 2.3-second 0-to-60 time of the Model S P100D. Tesla needs to maintain its model hierarchy, after all.

Tesla's chart also reiterates some things we already knew. Instead of a hatchback with optional rear-facing third-row seats like the Model S, the Model 3 will be a conventional sedan with a trunk. It seats five, while the Model S can seat seven with the aforementioned third-row seats.

The Model 3 also will not be available with free unlimited Supercharging. Tesla ended that perk for Model S and Model X owners effective January 15, but it just introduced a referral program that lets current owners give the gift of free Supercharger use to friends. Current Model S and Model X owners also continue to receive gratis Supercharger access when they buy new cars.

Tesla plans to unveil the final, production-ready version of the Model 3 in July, and start building customer cars shortly after that. The company has been taking Model 3 reservations since last year, and the backlog means that orders placed now won't be filled until 2018. That's assuming Model 3 production ramps up on schedule; Tesla hasn't met any of its own car-launch deadlines so far.