The Tesla Model 3 will arguably be the most important electric car launch in the history of the industry. Admittedly, the electric car industry can certainly be described as an embryonic one, with Tesla having really become the first company to create viable electric vehicle products. But according to Tesla’s own proclamations, the Model 3 will be the most advanced car that the corporation has produced thus far.

Designer Releases New Tesla Model 3 Renders [PHOTOS]

Tesla Model 3 – 2017 release mooted

It is expected that the Model 3 will finally arrived in 2017, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Tesla pushes this release date back. Indeed, previous cars from the market-leading electric car manufacturer have been delayed due to logistical reasons, and no-one should underestimate the complexity of producing a roadworthy electric car.

Considering the massive anticipation for the Model 3, many fans of Tesla are already wondering what this vehicle will look like when it does indeed see light of day. There certainly hasn’t been any confirmation from the brainchild of founder and CEO Elon Musk yet, but one designer at least believes he has an idea of what the Model 3 will look like physically.

Renders emerge

Designer Theophilus Chin has recently sketched his own striking impression of this forthcoming electric vehicle. And of the most interesting aspect of Chin’s design is certainly the front end of the vehicle. It has been noted that his design is akin to something that one might expect to see on the Star Wars Stormtrooper, with the remainder of the vehicle somewhat resembling the existing Model S.

While this particular design should certainly be taken with a liberal sprinkling of salt, it is reasonable to expect something dramatic from Tesla once the Model 3 is released. This vehicle will be up against some serious competition when it finally goes public, with the Model 3 very much in the same category of vehicle as such heavyweights as the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A3.

Autonomous driving expected

Aside from this render, we have also recently learnt of another major aspect of the Model 3 once it is released. A recent interview by the aforementioned Musk suggests that Tesla is currently beavering away in order to deliver autonomous driving in the Model 3. It is well known that Tesla has been working on this technology internally over the last few years, but now Musk believes that it will be possible to deliver this in time for the release of this forthcoming vehicle.

Indeed, Musk stated during a public appearance recently that Tesla will eventually deliver complete autonomy, and that this could be possible in a timeframe as short as merely two years. This represents a massive step forward for the electric car giant, as it was previously suggested that autonomous driving could take as many as six years for Tesla to deliver adequately.

A space-age design coupled with technology that is literally unique would give the Model 3 a massive boost over its competitors. The challenges that Tesla will face in the auto market in the coming years should not be underestimated, as several of the most prestigious and established vehicle manufacturers in the world pile into the electric car niche.

Logistical issues

Tesla also faces certain logistical problems. The electric car corporation has always been a firm that faces cash flow issues, and this certainly hasn’t altered recently. Tesla needs to produce an inexorable stream of new product lines in order to generate satisfactory revenue to keep its head above water. This is a constant challenge for the corporation, particularly when one considers the technical and technological complexity of what Tesla attemps to do.

In addition, Tesla vehicles are naturally reliant on an extensive charging network and related technology, and this has proved problematical for the company, even though it has taken massive strides in this area. But the Gigafactory required to support the production of the Model 3 is seemingly causing Tesla significant difficulties at present.

Tesla has been rather vague about how large the factory in question must be in order to support the production of the Model 3. The company has a pilot facility under construction, but industry analysts have asserted that this factory is clearly inadequate for the scale of production required. Additionally, it is estimated that Tesla is roughly two years behind its own schedule for committing crucial suppliers and subcontractors to partner with the company in producing and operating this Gigafactory.

Analyst scepticism

There is also growing scepticism that Tesla can deliver some of the promises that it has made with regard to the Model 3. Musk has stated from day one that the Model 3 will be available at a base price of $35,000. It was always understood that more spec-heavy variants of the Model 3 would cost more than this figure, but even the base price point is now been challenged by some analysts.

It has been asserted recently that a base price for the Model 3 of $45,000 should be considered more realistic, and that Tesla may struggle to shift the 500,000 vehicles by 2020 that it has set itself as a target. This would be a worrying precedent for the corporation if indeed it comes to pass, as the Model 3 is very much intended to be a mass-market vehicle that thrusts Tesla into the mainstream of automakers.

The quality and quantity of competition that the Model 3 will face will have a significant impact on the success of the vehicle. Tesla’s Model S and Model X dominated the luxury EV market, with established corporations unwilling to divert resources into the uncertain electric car market. This has changed and is changing, and by the time the Model 3 arrives there will be a considerably more complex market picture than existed previously. While it will not have arrived by 2017, the Apple Car will also be on the horizon by this date, and suddenly Tesla may not be the coolest ride in town any more.

So the appearance of the Model 3 may now be slightly clearer, but the long-term future of Tesla is increasingly murky.