If they can pull off the whole charger network expansion thing, this will be Tesla's bread and butter car for a while.
The Model S is lust-worthy, but it is very expensive, starting at close to $70k. Once you bump up to the 85 kWh model (for the range), the price tag jumps to $80k. As an enthusiast, the interesting model is the 85P at $93,400.
From a performance standpoint, the 85P variant is on par with a BMW M5; a turbocharged V8 powered super-saloon. That's a really astonishing feat for an all-electric sedan, considering that the M5 is the canonical super-saloon.
The new 2015 BMW M3 (4-door version) starts at $62k. If Tesla offers a "P" variant of the Model III that competes with the M3, they'll have plenty of room to price it competitively.
I'm nearly giddy with excitement at that prospect. I currently drive an M3 (coupe), and the Model III 85P is a car that I would jump at in a heartbeat.
the p85+ is 300 pounds heavier and produces 150hp LESS horsepower and torque than either of those cars. do the math.
the new m5 and e63 are rip-your-face-off-fast. they run 11 second quarter miles with subpar traction. mb and bmw see tesla coming and they know the only thing that keeps them at the top of the game is pure, unadulterated horsepower so that's what sets them apart at the top end.
having said all that, teslas have nicer interiors and that really big touch screen is pretty cool. all the ui software in german cars basically sucks.
You might want to do a testdrive yourself..
That video is a fluke. In (instrumented) test after test, the M5 is over 1 second faster 0-60, and more than 2 seconds faster down the quarter mile. That might not sound like a lot, but imagine a car drives by at 100+ MPH, now count...
How far down the road is that car now? That's the distance between an M5 and a 85P+ in the quarter mile.
There is a realm of performance at the very top end where the dino-powered engine still has an advantage. Electrics can achieve the same performance, but you're fighting an up-hill battle to get there. You have to make too many compromises along the way  in order to beat them. Right now, at least. It'll be slow coming, but I believe the transition to electric advantage is coming.
1: Here's an example of an extremely compromised all-out electric that is capable of beating its petrol powered equivalent. Have a look at 3:35 ish for a drag race. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gFGX43vubM.
this isn't up for debate, it's a factual statement. the german cars are lighter and produce more power. they also cost a lot more, because winning is expensive.
He's also said that the price point will the equivalent to this price point so I'd assume that it will be adjusted for inflation as well. Then after options (supercharging, tech package, maybe larger battery pack, etc), a more realistic price point would be between $40-55k. But for a stripped down version, you'd still be able to get away with $35k.
Now, Tesla is no longer an "I need to be a millionaire" brand and instead an "I need to be a lawyer or engineer" brand.
Although this is a really exciting vehicle, I still think Tesla ultimately wants to target the proletariate with cars in the $18,000 to $22,00 range (possibly with a different brand to preserve the elite reputation of the Tesla name). That segment is far more lucrative than the limited luxury market for high-end cars. As soon as Tesla ships a car that can be afforded on an average income, things will really get interesting...
That said, it never ceases to flat out amaze me how much others are willing to spend on cars. I imagine you're underestimating how many people buy cars in this price range who make half as much as the typical engineer or lawyer. Given this, I'm willing to bet folks who really have no business in a $35-45k vehicle will flock to it anyway.
A base model cheap Mercedes is $30k. That extra $5k does not equal high-end, it equals leather and maybe a sunroof on that $30k Mercedes.
I can see the Model 3 selling in California for $35k after tax credits (which is $45k before).
The sad thing is HOV lane access in California will be pretty much gone by then.
Besides the Cayenne, what other 80k car has sold as well as the MS? There are literally people who would never buy a Maserati or a Porsche who are buying Model S's. There are now 3 in our building.
Another example: the code name for SpaceX's future Mars launch vehicle is `BFR`.
aka, Big F*cking Rocket
BFTS the big fucking test stand.
"For those of you who do not yet know me, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Peter Weyland, and if you'll indulge me, I'd like to change the world."
BTW, they have 'y' as well. :)
Almost any new technology initially has high unit cost before it can be optimized and this is no less true for electric cars. The strategy of Tesla is to enter at the high end of the market, where customers are prepared to pay a premium, and then drive down market as fast as possible to higher unit volume and lower prices with each successive model.
Without giving away too much, I can say that the second model will be a sporty four door family car at roughly half the $89k price point of the Tesla Roadster and the third model will be even more affordable. In keeping with a fast growing technology company, all free cash flow is plowed back into R&D to drive down the costs and bring the follow on products to market as fast as possible. When someone buys the Tesla Roadster sports car, they are actually helping pay for development of the low cost family car.
In fact, I'm pretty tempted to just drive our oldest car into the ground and wait until the 3rd gen comes out as I can't imagine wanting anything else.
Which is one of the reasons you have to plug in a gas car in cold weather as well, the other being the oil freezing in the crankcase, a problem a Tesla doesn't have.
My second hope: that the Model III won't have a 3 month lead time like the Model S currently does.
Except actually being a founder. He provided money to an existing company, resulting in a controlling stake in that company. Certainly he is important aspect of Tesla as it is today, I'm not disputing that, but being important, perhaps even the single most critical aspect of Tesla today, does not make him a founder. It only makes him important.
Even Musk doesn't claim to have founded Tesla. He's said in the past the he was looking for a company like Tesla to become involved in. That Eberhard's dream (an electric sports car) overlapped Musk's (build affordable electric cars, but start with a high end sports car) is what brought them together.