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February 18, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 5:18pm

Tesla’s Elon Musk opens up about EV Model 3 roadmap

News: Company also launches latest software update, and unveils ‘baby-sized’ Model S for children.

By Joao Lima

Tesla will not be debuting a new car at the Geneva Motor Show next month, however, CEO Elon Musk said the low-cost $35,000 Model 3 will be revealed on March 31.

On Twitter, Musk said that "Model 3 reservations ($1000 down) will be accepted in Tesla stores on March 31 and online on April 1".

He also said at an event at the company’s French base in Chambourcy, that Tesla will only be revealing pictures of the Model 3, and not a working model, next month.

"The first pictures of the Model 3 will be end of March" Musk said. "I am being a little coy here, we are not going to show everything about the Model 3 until a lot closer to production time."

The CEO said production is expected to start in 2017.

Last year the company also started production of its latest car series, the $130,000 Model X SUV, however, the company limited the manufacturing of the SUV and only 206 vehicles were delivered as of Q4 2015.

Tesla said it opted to impose a limit for an undisclosed period of time as it is looking to improve the car’s efficiency and maintain "quality production standards".

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Musk said the company could possibly be in the position to manufacture between 700 to 800 cars per week by the end of Q2 2016.

Tesla is already building a $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory in Nevada, US, in partnership with Panasonic, to help with the car’s component production.

Tesla has also launched the latest version of its Autopilot software, Tesla 7.1. On top of enhancements to the driverless experiences around cruise control and autonomous lane changing, the company has also introduced Summon.

Summon is a self-parking feature that the company believes could help reduce over 900 death and 52,000 incidents by vehicles parking (stats from NHTSA for the US alone between 2008 and 2011).

According to the company, Summon addresses the safety risk inherent to driver-operated vehicles in tight quarters, helping to maneuver in blind stops.

The system shows the driver a direct line of sight to the danger zones around it on the 17in touch screen installed in the car’s cockpit.

Ultrasonic sensors placed around the vehicle guard against unseen or moving hazards and enable the car to stop upon detection.

Tesla said in a statement: "Summon lays important groundwork for an increasingly autonomous world. One where the convenience and safety of transport vastly exceed what we are used to today.

"Autopilot began this process on the highways. Summon begins it in your garage. As the technology advances, the complementary capabilities of each will converge."

Tesla has also said that as the cars are yet not fully driverless, drivers are urged to still pay attention and remain engaged.

Tesla Communications Representative, Alexis Georgeson, told ABC10: "The hardware that was put into the cars at the time are these 12 ultrasonic sensors. They see 360 degrees in every direction around the car.

"A long range radar that sits in the front of the car and sees a few hundred feet in front of the vehicle, and then a forward facing camera reads the lines in the road and can see other cars and read road signs like speed signs."


In other news, in a partnership with Radio Flyer, the company will also be releasing a "baby Model S" in May 2016.

The $499 small vehicle will, like its £82,000 adult-size version, run on electric power using a Flight Speed lithium-ion battery.

The car will have two different speeds of 3 MPH and 6 MPH, and will be produced in three different colours, red, blue and midnight silver metallic. Children will also be able to connect their music devices to the car’s sound system.

Musk said on Twitter: "This baby Model S really is quite fun."

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