Focus at Tesla has been on the forthcoming Model X for some time, but a new Model 3 vehicle could be about to gain prominence. When announcing the recent earnings of the company Wednesday, Elon Musk revealed that this new vehicle is now on the horizon, and could be unveiled as early as March next year. This revelation would be ahead of a ramping up in production of the vehicle somewhere around latest 2017.

Tesla Model 3 Announced, Model X Delayed

Tesla Model 3 to be populist

It is obviously still extremely early days for this project, but the very suggestion of its existence has already caused a lot of excitement among fans of the Tesla range. According to analysts of the electric car sector, the Model 3 vehicle, which is effectively a smaller version of the Model S without the sticker shock, could retail for around $35,000.

This would place the Model 3 in the category of a more affordable vehicle, and it is clear that Tesla is thinking about this end of the marketplace with this forthcoming release. Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, stated in an interview with ABC News that the Model 3 would place Tesla right in the “meat of the market.”

The Model S is seen as being a more practical vehicle in the Tesla range, owing to its larger battery. This hefty unit insures that the Model S can travel around 270 miles on a single charge. One would expect, considering an expected advancement in battery technology and the fact that the Model 3 is a smaller vehicle than the Model S, that it will travel significantly further on a single charge should it feature a similarly sized battery.

However, Musk dampened down expectation at the event where the Model 3 was announced, instead stating that it will be able to travel at least 200 miles in normal driving conditions. Although he didn’t rule out a much larger figure than this, it was clear that the CEO and founder of the company was setting a base expectation for the Model 3.

It is perhaps somewhat unreasonable to expect the Model 3 to deliver the same level of performance and specifications as the Model S considering that Tesla is releasing it at effectively half of the price. But Musk stated during the announcement of the Model 3 that he does expect the vehicle to deliver a cohesive Tesla experience which will ensure that this car stands out significantly from the increasing vehicle competition at this lower price point.

Musk also confirmed features included in this vehicle are, aside from a decent battery life, a large touchscreen display featured, and a raft of driver-assist features. The physical design of the vehicle is also certain to be top-notch, as firstly Tesla has been associated with this quality from day one, and secondly this will be an essential feature of the vehicle if it is to succeed against gasoline-driven cars.

Model 3 indicates shift in Tesla strategy

The Model 3 is expected to complete with such vehicles as the BMW 3-series, thus Tesla is expected to make this very much its mainstream vehicle. This is unquestionably an incredibly competitive field to be entered into, but the fact that Tesla is releasing a more mainstream car indicates two things. Firstly, the company is obviously emboldened about its ability to compete with conventional vehicle manufacturers. And secondly, Tesla may be directly reacting to investor and city concerns about its long-term potential for profitability and growth.

Tesla’s share price has taken a bit of a kicking since reaching highs during 2014, and Musk is doubtless keen to demonstrate to the market that Tesla can produce vehicles that reach a genuinely mainstream audience.

Meanwhile, Tesla is currently working on its long awaited Model X. This highly anticipated SUV has been in the pipeline for quite some time, but there are recent concerns that the vehicle has run into another delay.

When speaking to investors, Musk stated that Tesla is currently in the process of validating the Model X, which will involve millions of miles of travel testing being completed. It has been speculated by the analyst community that this will necessitate the vehicle being delayed somewhat from its prospective release date.

Model X – A tale of setbacks

Fans of electric cars will probably be willing to wait a little longer, but it must be stated that the Model X has been subjected to persistent setbacks. Musk however stated in response to the latest concerns about the Model X that investors shouldn’t be particularly concerned about any potential delays. The CEO instead suggested that Tesla could easily fulfill some delivery orders on time for its July release date, but that the corporation wanted to ensure that all issues with the vehicle are ironed out before ramping up deliveries possibly in August or September.

There is a lot of excitement about the release of the Model X, as it is said to be a first for electric cars; an SUV that truly handles like a sports car. Musk has talked up the performance level of the Model X since it was first conceived, and once testing had taken place and Musk had experienced a vehicle directly himself, he was keen to emphasize that its performance was incomparable to anything else currently available on the market.

With the Model X coupling high-performance with outstanding environmental credentials, it is hoped that the extremely enthusiastic initial response to the release of this vehicle will be sustained over a significant period of time. Tesla has done extremely well to achieve a significantly prominent position in what is a hugely competitive industry, but the long-term future of the company will be predicated on its ability to penetrate new marketplaces significantly, in Europe and East Asia in particular.

Meanwhile, as it looks increasingly possible that Apple will enter the electric car marketplace, the future for Tesla looks increasingly competitive. However, with two new vehicles on the horizon, the company is clearly bullish about its prospects.