Hate The Tiny Opening On The Tesla Model 3 Trunk? Elon Musk Says It “Already Has Been Taken Care Of

By the time Tesla CEO Elon Musk officially unveiled the Tesla Model 3 sedan late into the evening on March 31, 2016, the California company had already received more than 115,000 pre-reservations from customers eager to get their hands on Tesla’s next electric car, regardless of what the final specifications were. Since then, the number of pre-reservations for Model 3 has skyrocketed, reaching more than 375,000 by the time Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] held its annual shareholder meeting on June 1.

The Tesla Model 3 is getting a larger boot opening... we think.

The Tesla Model 3 is getting a larger boot opening… we think.

That figure, far larger than auto industry experts or even Tesla expected, shows without a doubt that demand is high for Tesla’s first mass-market, affordable electric car. But while plenty of Tesla fans were overjoyed with the idea of buying a Model 3 based on the short glimpse offered them by the Tesla Alpha prototype we saw back in March, many — some of the Transport Evolved editorial team included — felt that the lack of hatchback option on the Model 3 prevented the $35,000 electric car from being the practical everyday vehicle they’d hoped it would be. Although most agreed the performance and range specifications promised by Tesla were spot on for an affordable, everyday plug-in, the tiny trunk lid and lack of hatchback option became a deal-breaker for those with children, dogs, or a need to carry large, bulky things on a regular basis.

The opening to the trunk has been criticized as being too small.

The opening to the trunk has been criticized as being too small.

If like us, you fell into that category (and had made peace with the fact that it was okay for the Model 3 to not fit your lifestyle), you may have written off the Model 3 as a potential future car for your family. But over the weekend Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted that the tiny, impractical boot (trunk) lid on the Model 3 may be larger on the production version of the car.

As usual, Musk dropped the hint on Twitter when responding to a comment from a British software engineer who asked him if the Model 3 would ship with a larger trunk opening. While Musk’s response didn’t detail specifics, it gave hope to those who had feared the size of the Model 3 trunk lid.

In response, @nickG_Uk thanked Musk for his “great news,” commenting that “I hope you offer a hatchback at some point too (more popular than sedan cars in Europe).”

Sadly, Musk chose not to respond to the second tweet.

It's one of several tweaks likely before the Model 3 goes into production.

It’s one of several tweaks likely before the Model 3 goes into production.

Being smaller than the Model S in size, the large panoramic glass roof we saw on the prototype Model 3 unveiled in March was just one of the many design features designed to make the inside of the mid-sized sedan feel larger and more airy, allowing Tesla to push the rear seats further back than would normally be possible with a metal roof, increasing legroom and headroom for passengers. At the time however, Tesla said that large single-piece glass roof made it tough for Tesla to give the Model 3 a hatchback design, since the mechanics of the hatchback would impinge on rear seat headroom.  At the time of the Model 3 unveiling, Musk said that it was possible to fit a full-size bicycle in the trunk of the Model 3, presumably with the rear seats folded down, but that hasn’t stopped many Tesla fans from worrying about the limitations of what will fit through the tiny trunk aperture.

Given that Tesla has set itself an initial deadline of July 1 for finalizing Model 3 design (which may have been pushed back a little, some reports suggest) it’s conceivable that the automaker has found a better way to engineer the trunk lid, or perhaps has managed to reengineer the rear of the car without causing the overall vehicle shape or interior volume to change.

Is a hatchback on the way? That’s still difficult to say, but given how imaginative Tesla’s engineers are, we think it’s a distinct possibility.

Does a larger trunk opening on Model 3 change your views on this affordable long-range electric car? Or does it not bother you at all? Or perhaps you’re one of the many who is only interested in electric hatchbacks?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • Chris O

    One size won’t fit all of course and to sell in the numbers Tesla is aiming for Model 3 will have to come in different sizes. So maybe a sporty hatchback:


    Or maybe a nice wagon:


    • Electric Bill


      If you did these renderings, very good. I personally think I might prefer such a configuration, although the original design may yield better aerodynamics and therefore better range. I supposed I would have to try both out, and seeing their comparative range before choosing.


      • Chris O

        Not my designs! The watermarks in the pictures are googlable…

        As high-utility versions of Model 3 go these are still better than crossovers from an efficiency viewpoint.

    • Jeff Laurence

      Love the hatchback. That would appeal to more buyers I would think. Gotta fix the nose though.

  • Martin Lacey

    An improved rear hatch design has got to be good news. We know the nose and the trunk were the main gripes post launch and making these changes can only be good for sales figures.

    How refreshing for an auto manufacturer to listen to the general public and not just their focus groups.

    • Jeff Laurence

      Totally agree. Different strokes. The design for my needs just wouldn’t work. A hatchback would be a necessity for me although I like the looks of the type 3 for a sedan. The one complaint is the nose. I get it that no grille or intake is needed and aerodynamics is a concern but throwing a steel blanket over the front and calling it good just doesn’t do it. It looks unfinished and dare I say it, ugly. Tesla needs to finish what is otherwise, a good looking car.

  • Quote : “Elon Musk hinted that the tiny, impractical boot (trunk) lid on the Model 3 ”

    He did no such thing. At no point did he or Tesla call out the trunk as “tiny” or “impractical”.

    BMW sells a lot of 3 series non-hatches, so if you don’t want a Model 3 due to your (questionable) needs, fine with Tesla, 400,000 people don’t agree with you on this one, and neither do I.

    Your protestations from the reveal to now on this subject are over the top IMHO.
    Like your work, but elements of this article were sloppy and misleading.

    • The small trunk lid is a valid complaint since it makes the car much less practical in real life. It is stupid to say the need for a hatch is ‘questionable’. Ever heard of Ikea?

      • ProudLiberal

        I don’t believe that 400,000 reservationists made said reservation on hopes that each and every one of their individual idiosyncratic demands as to features, grills (or lack thereof), and/or minimum ingress/egress dimensions should be met by an adoring Elon (or any other manufacturer for that matter). You’re wrong when you state they’re “probably not ok with it” but are willing to compromise and “hoped for a fix.” On the contrary. A hatch wouldn’t be more practical for me – it would simply be – different. That’s the difference between people like you and the rest of us. We don’t go around demanding we get our way all the time.
        Just so that you know, Musk did not say this car was now suddenly evolving into a hatch.
        If a hatch is what you’re after Tesla sells a perfectly acceptable (albeit pricey) model with that feature, along with an SUV. Outside of those being viable options for you, Toyota, Chevrolet, and Nissan all offer affordable (albeit inferior) hatches that you are free to purchase. Try asking one of THOSE companies to change their design for you (get laughed clear into next year).
        YOU can always cancel and get a full refund.
        And another thing, what the heck does IKEA have to do with the price of tea in China? Did they start manufacturing electric hatches?!?!