As electric car fans look forward to the release of the Tesla Model 3, an email has circulated in recent days that has got a lots of tongues wagging. However, despite the exciting nature of this particular revelation, it seems that it is ultimately something of a red herring.

Tesla Model 3: Is this fake or real? [IMAGE]

Tesla Model 3 Image leak

Nonetheless, an anonymous individual claiming, with satisfactory evidence to support this assertion, that they were a Tesla employee had seemingly led the Model 3 cat out of the bag. The person in question claims to be a disgruntled Tesla worker, and had decided to trip the company up in a rather spectacular way as a result.

The email that was distributed among media proclaimed to present an image of an upcoming Tesla crossover vehicle, which is naturally assumed to be the hotly anticipated Model 3. Naturally enough, Tesla has already moved to deny the accusations made by this individual, stating that the image in question is certainly not the Model 3.

When issuing the email, the source had claimed that the Model 3 will be 18 percent smaller than the existing Model X, and that there will ultimately be multiple variants of the vehicle. The distributor of the email claims that Tesla treats its employees shoddily, and that this was the reason that this critical information has been leaked.

It is notable that the image features a similar wheelbase to the existing Model X, resulting in an almost identical interior volume. However, Tesla has extremely emphatically denied the claims made by the apparently angered individual, and has pointed out several key points which completely debunked the information provided (although it has seemingly made no comment on whether or not the email did indeed emanate from a Tesla employee).

Tesla debunks email

Firstly, the electric car manufacturer points out that the email in question was distributed widely, suggesting that numerous outlets were targeted with the express intention of simply getting attention. Tesla states that it is not an image that has emanated from within the company, and implies that it is not even a Tesla vehicle. Instead, Tesla suggest that it is a photo shopped image of a Model X press picture, and concludes by stating clearly that it is not the forthcoming Model 3.

What is interesting about this case, though, is that the evidence provided by the employee that he is indeed genuinely under the employ of Tesla was pretty convincing, and even described by some sources as “watertight”. The email provided an entire confidential staff directory with the phone numbers and email addresses of around 800 Tesla workers. Tesla itself confirmed that this directory is simply not available outside of the company, which suggested that the individual distributing the email at the very least has some direct connection with, or access to, Tesla.

This would pose the question of what precisely Tesla has done to so upset someone that they are willing to cause massive difficulties for the company. Of course, some will point to industrial sabotage, but this would seem to be a rather unlikely possibility considering the potential consequences were a paper trail to lead back to any competitor.

The excitement around the Model 3 is really due to the fact that the vehicle is said to be the first ever mass market release from the market-leading electric car manufacturer. Tesla has already boasted that the Model 3 will have an accessible price point coupled with premium specs, and it would be reasonable to assert that the Model 3 is the most anticipated electric vehicle in the history of the technology.

While the forthcoming unveiling of the Model 3 is thus anticipated with baited breath by many, the reality is that we do not yet know how much of the Model 3 will be revealed by Tesla at its launch event. Recent reports have suggested that the entirety of the vehicle will be on show at this critical conference, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Tesla held something back for further teasers in the future.

Functional vehicle at launch event

Chief executive Elon Musk first suggested that attendees will be able to enjoy a quick spin in the vehicle, suggesting that the prototype available for examination will be something of a functioning electric car. But Tesla is clearly keeping control over information at this session, with no question and answer with executives planned, and reports indicating that the unveiling will be extremely tightly controlled.

In the region of 650 Tesla owners will be chosen via a lottery draw to attend the unveiling of what has been deemed the most important product to emanate from Tesla in its 13-year history. The Model 3 is expected to have a range of around 200 miles when it is ultimately launched in 2017, although it wouldn’t be surprising if this launch date is pushed back in the manner of previous Tesla vehicle releases.

With the Model 3 available at a base model price of $35,000, and $7,500 of tax credits available in the United States, this can certainly be described as an extremely affordable vehicle. When compared to previous Tesla releases, it is clear that the Model 3 is aimed at the average consumer, with Tesla hoping to shift 500,000 vehicles by the end of the decade.

According to early reports on the Model 3 ahead of its unveiling, the vehicle could achieve a level of performance similar to the BMW M3 and M4. The vehicle will make use of the massive torque electric motors can provide in order to ensure that the vehicle can achieve 0-60 mph in a time rivalling the benchmark laid down by German performance saloons.

And with Tesla having extended its charging network, it seems that the Model 3 will be a considerably more convenient option than previous Tesla vehicles have been at the time of their particular launches.

While it doesn’t seem that this latest leak is legitimate, the images of the Model 3, even though ultimately fake, have certainly whetted the appetite ahead of the March 31 unveiling of the actual vehicle.