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Next-Generation Tesla Electric Car Won't Be 'Model E' After All

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2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

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Tesla's third-generation car, currently planned for volume production in late 2017, is now officially nameless again.

According to Fortune, the company has abandoned its trademark application for the name "Model E," which had been widely assumed to apply to the new vehicle.

DON'T MISS: Tesla's Next Electric Car Line: Roundup Of What We Know Now

That car is anticipated to be a smaller all-electric sedan with a rated range of 200 miles and a starting price of around $35,000, according to company statements over the years.

Tesla Motors, Palo Alto, California

Tesla Motors, Palo Alto, California

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Ford had applied to trademark the same name several months after Tesla, but has kept its application active.

Simon Sproule, Tesla's new vice president of communications, told Fortune that "the matter has been resolved amicably."

Neither Tesla nor Ford would reveal to the business journal whether the two companies had discussed the issue, or whether Ford may have suggested that Tesla back off.

Both companies have a relatively long history of applications for the "Model E" trademark, as detailed in the article.

Tesla Motors has so far produced the 2008-2011 Roadster two-seat electric sports car, and the Model S electric five-seat luxury sedan that began production in 2012.

MORE: Tesla Sales On Target, Gigafactory Groundbreaking Next Month (Earnings Call Report)

The company has also announced the Model X electric crossover utility vehicle, which was expected to go into production late this year.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on the company's first-quarter earnings call last week that while pre-production "beta" validation prototype versions of the Model X would be on the roads by the end of this year, production wouldn't begin until the first or second quarter of next year.

Slide showing Tesla Motors gigafactory statistics, from Feb 2014 presentation

Slide showing Tesla Motors gigafactory statistics, from Feb 2014 presentation

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Meanwhile, Tesla executives are seemingly back to their drawing boards and will have to come up with another model name for the upcoming third-generation car.

ALSO SEE: Tesla Gigafactory Faces Skepticism From Panasonic, Analysts

The schedule of that car depends largely on whether Tesla can get its enormous U.S. "gigafactory" for mass production of lithium-ion cells up and running by the end of 2017.

Musk said on the earnings call that groundbreaking for that facility will begin next month--although Tesla hasn't yet announced where the plant will be located, or which of the four candidate states has been chosen.

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