On March 18, Tesla applied for trademark protection on the logo it intends to use for the Model 3, according to Electrek. In its application, it described the logo this way: “The mark consists of three equal length horizontal stylized lines in the manner of a horizontal stylized roman numeral III.” The logo is an exact duplicate of the “E” Tesla uses in its official company name.

Tesla company name

The company always intended for the names of its first three models after the Roadster to spell the word S E X. Some say the next car from Tesla will be called the Model Y, which would make the full company lineup S E X Y. There was much disappointment in Tesla headquarters when it was learned Ford had claimed the rights the name “Model E.” Elon famously sniffed that “Ford tried to kill sex.”

Is it possible that Elon Musk, with his passion for seriousness and hard work, would let his attention be diverted for a single moment by a desire to have his car models spell the name SEXY? Absolutely. After all, this is the same fellow who uses dialog from the movie Spaceballs to name features of his cars. “Ludicrous Mode” comes from that movie, as does the next step in Tesla performance hierarchy, “Maximum Plaid.”

In truth, the official logo looks more like an upper case E than the letter 3. Clearly, Tesla has thought long and hard about how to get around the blockade on the name Model E imposed by Ford. Company insiders referred to the next Tesla as the Model E for many years and there is a good chance many members of the public will do so anyway, whether Ford likes it or not.

Here is the trademark filing as presented to the US Patent and Trademark Office.


The Model 3 logo was used at the top of an official announcement from Tesla Motors telling people what they need to do in order to reserve a Model 3 on March 20, two days after the trademark application was filed. The reservation process begins in Tesla stores worldwide at 10 am this Thursday, March 31.

Is it prophetic that the logo Tesla has chosen is similar to the Chinese symbol for the number 3? Certainly sales of the Model 3 in the Chinese market are very much part of the company’s future plans. Elon has even gone on record as saying the Model 3 will be built in a factory in China eventually, probably starting in about 3 years.

Photo credit: Tesla Motors