We saw a number of updates from Tesla during the past few days as Elon Musk couldn’t seem to get himself to put down the keyboard and step back from Twitter. Progress on the Model 3 and an update on its solar panel roof suggest things are moving along nicely for the Palo Alto-based company.
Here is everything we learned Friday courtesy of @elonmusk:
Musk shared a short video on Twitter of what he calls a “release candidate” of the Model 3. There really isn’t much to the video. You can see a black Tesla Model 3 accelerate rather quickly before stomping on the brake. Just six seconds long, the clip’s 9,800 retweets and some 30,000 likes make it a pretty efficient hype video.
First drive of a release candidate version of Model 3 pic.twitter.com/zcs6j1YRa4— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2017
More juicy details follow in the comments, where Elon Musk regularly engages with his followers. Musk responded to a comment about needing “more cowbell,” a reference to a Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken.
Damn straight we do! Coming with 8.1 next week.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2017
The first “cowbell” feature turned the in-dash display of the road ahead into Rainbow Road from Mario Kart, complete with flashing colors and loud music. Expect more of that next week with Tesla’s 8.1 update.
Musk also tried to clear up some confusion that the name “Model 3” stirred up. He made it clear the Model 3 is not the successor to any Model 1 or 2, like how the iPhone 3 followed the 2 (there wasn’t an iPhone 2, but you get the idea).
Am noticing that many people think Model 3 is the "next version" of a Tesla, like iPhone 2 vs 3. This is not true.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2017
He admitted to the naming mistake, and he called himself a “dumb idiot” for not recognizing how it might cause confusion. He said a good way of thinking about the Tesla models is to relate them to BMW’s iconic naming conventions with the Model 3 as a 3 Series or Audi A4, while the Model S would be similar to a BMW 5 or 6 Series.
Because I was a dumb idiot and didn't realize at the time that it would cause confusion— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2017
He confirmed the Model 3 was going to be called the “Model E” for “obvious dumb humor reasons,” but Ford sued to block it. A tongue-in-cheek exchange between the CEO and one of his followers confirms a Model Y might be in the works to keep the joke alive.
Oh Model Y is coming too in a few years. Kinda have to.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2017
Other details on the upcoming budget-friendly(er) car: The Model 3 will predictably be less advanced than the Model S, with shorter range and less power. There will be a performance or dual-motor option as well as an all-wheel drive model, but those won’t be available until next year. The Tesla CEO says the Model S will always be the fastest Tesla until the next-generation Roadster becomes available in a few years. That said, the Model S understandably remains the business magnate’s car of choice.