There are relatively few confirmed facts relating to the 200-mile Tesla Model 3 electric car, but one known item is that it will be offered as a sedan.

However, that may not be the only version of the $35,000 Model 3 Tesla decides to build.

Tesla is likely to offer a Model 3-based crossover, further expanding the potential reach of what will be by far the company's highest-volume model yet.

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The idea of a Model 3 crossover has been discussed before, but it was reconfirmed by Tesla chief technical officer JB Straubel, who spoke with The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) on Monday at a conference in Washington, D.C.

Straubel also said Tesla will sell 500,000 electric cars per year by 2020, echoing long-term sales projections first issued by CEO Elon Musk.

This would bring the company's cumulative output to 1 million vehicles by that point.

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

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

Tesla expects to put the Model 3 on sale in 2017, although the company has not yet met any of its initial deadlines for a car launch.

When it does go on sale, the Model 3 is expected to cost around $35,000--a much lower price point that's meant to attract a broader base of consumers than the Model S.

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The least-expensive Model S right now is the $75,000 70D, which has 240 miles of range--40 more than the Model 3 is expected to have.

The Model 3's low price point is largely contingent on the production of massive quantities of lithium-ion cells at Tesla's "Gigafactory"--currently under construction in Nevada.

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

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

Adding a crossover will give Tesla a lower-cost alternative to the Model X crossover, which Tesla hopes to launch in about four months.

Tesla will reportedly have to negotiate a tricky "balancing act" with the crossover's launch as it makes future plans.

MORE: Tesla Model X To Arrive In 'Three To Four Months,' Autopilot In Testing: CEO Musk

New-vehicle launches consume a large amount of cash, and even a short delay could tie up resources needed to continue development of the Model 3.

In an April proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange commission, Tesla said it had not yet completed an "alpha" engineering prototype of the car.

Tesla will likely still be able to meet its 2017 target--the Model S "alpha" wasn't completed until 20 months before launch--but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence either.


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