Tesla Model 3 in Malaysia

American electric vehicle maker Tesla is making a renewed effort towards the more affordable segment of the electric vehicle category strengthen its stand amidst presence from established automakers in that segment, Autocar reports.

This is set to be a hatchback slated for debut in 2023, according to the magazine, and this will compete against models such as the Volkswagen ID.3 and Nissan Leaf. The forthcoming hatchback is aimed at being more affordable, said Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

“One of the things that troubles me the most is that we don’t have a truly affordable car, and that’s something we will have in the future. For that, we need cheaper batteries,” Musk said at the Tesla Battery Day last September when its introduced its tabless battery cell design.

Tesla Battery Day, September 2020

The forthcoming hatchback could be the “compelling $25,000 (RM104,177) electric vehicle” that Musk alluded to during the Battery Day, which he said would also be fully autonomous. That car’s planned arrival in three years from its mention during the Battery Day event appears to line up with the 2023 target for the Tesla hatchback.

The new battery manufacturing method has been said to reduce manufacturing costs by 50%, while providing a 16% increase in range per full charge and up to five times the energy, as mentioned by Tesla at its Battery Day event. Series production of the new tabless battery cell could become possible as soon as next year, Tesla was reported by Autocar as saying.

Benefits of the new Tesla battery pack design are several; the new battery shell casings themselves serve to stiffen the bodyshell of the vehicle by connecting the upper and lower layers of the floorpan, and because the battery cells can be located closer to the centre of the vehicle, the does away with the need for additional reinforcements, thus offering volumetric gains for packaging and centralised mass for better handling.

The base variant Model Y was removed from the line-up in February

The forthcoming Tesla compact model has been tipped to offer “highly competitive” range as a result, and Musk had also previously said that a range of 250 miles (400 km) in “unacceptably low” and would not meet the “Tesla standard of excellence”; the Standard Range variant of the Model Y crossover was dropped from the carmaker’s line-up as a result.

This has been rumoured to wear the Model 2 moniker, indicating its future entry-level positioning below the Model 3, which Musk has said “makes sense for Europe.” There has also been an early rendition of a hatchback based on the Model 3 shortly after it made its debut.

Tesla updated its smallest model, the Model 3 for the 2021 model year last October with revisions to its exterior, interior and battery specifications, the latter offering gains in battery range and performance. The Standard Range Plus (SR+) grew its battery range from 402 km to 420 km, while the Long Range (LR) variant increased its range from 518 km to 564 km; the Performance variant followed with an increase to 504 km of range.

GALLERY: Tesla Model 3 Standard Range in Malaysia

GALLERY: Tesla Model 3 AWD Long Range in Malaysia