Tesla will sell 500,000 cars annually thanks to a Model 3-based compact crossover

Tesla Motors has confirmed the upcoming entry-level Model 3 will be available as both a sedan and a crossover. Surprisingly, the family-friendly 3 could be presented to the public next March at the same time as its four-door counterpart.

Aimed squarely at the BMW X3, the yet-unnamed compact crossover will be Tesla’s fourth model line, after the 3 sedan, the S, and the X (pictured) that’s scheduled to land in showrooms before the end of the year. It could quickly become Tesla’s best-selling model because the compact crossover segment in the United States has been growing almost exponentially for several years.

The crossover will arrive at a crucial time, as rivals like Ford, General Motors, and BMW are currently developing their own all-electric vehicles, and this market trend promises to significantly lower the cost of pricey components like lithium-ion battery packs. Tesla expects to undercut its competitors by building all of its batteries in-house in a giant factory located on the outskirts of Reno, Nevada.

“Electric powertrains will become the predominant and primary fuel for light vehicles,” predicts Tesla.

Tesla will likely fit the 3-based crossover with the innovative falcon doors found on the Model X in order to benefit from economies of scale. Like the sedan, the crossover will be powered by a state-of-the-art electric drivetrain that will offer a driving range of at least 250 miles. Rear-wheel drive will come standard, and a dual-motor all-wheel drive system will likely be available at an extra cost.

Look for the Tesla Model 3 crossover to make its debut early next year alongside the Model 3 sedan. Both cars will go on sale shortly after with a base price of about $35,000 before hefty federal and local government incentives are factored in, but production isn’t scheduled to kick off until early 2017.

What’s next?
The Model 3 is just the tip of the iceberg for the California-based company. Tesla plans on developing a full lineup of electric cars including a long-awaited successor to the Lotus-based Roadster, its very first model. All told, executives boldly assert that Tesla will be able to sell half a million cars annually just five years from now, and they estimate that there will be over a million Tesla-badged cars on the road in 2020.

Cars

Consumer Reports bumps the Tesla Model 3 off of its list of recommended models

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the six new cars that have lost their coveted Recommended rating from Consumer Reports over reliability concerns. In 2018, Model 3 owners reported body trim falling off and problems with the car's glass.
Cars

Tesla will release fully self-driving cars in 2019 — with a big asterisk

Tesla reaffirmed its goal of releasing a fully self-driving car by the end of 2019, but it warned the system won't work perfectly 100 percent of the time. Convincing regulators that it's safe to use will require some effort, too.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.
Cars

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.
Cars

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…
Cars

Mercedes lets the sun shine in one last time with SLC Final Edition convertible

The Mercedes-Benz SLC convertible sports car is going out of production. Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the model has been a fixture in the Mercedes-Benz lineup across three generations.
Cars

Aston Martin’s next hypercar, due in 2021, will pack a hybrid powertrain punch

Aston Martin will follow up the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro with a new hypercar, code-named Project 003. The car will debut in 2021, with production limited to 500 units worldwide.
Cars

Apple opens up about its self-driving car program in letter to NHTSA

Apple has traditionally kept details about its self-driving car technology under wraps, but it has revealed details about the program in a rare instance of openness. The company takes safety seriously.