Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the March date to a gathering of Tesla investors this week, but stressed that it was only a prediction at this stage.
And even when the covers are finally pulled from the new model, Musk said production was unlikely to begin until mid-to-late 2017, with ‘late 2017’ being the more likely starting time.
The Model 3 has long been touted as Tesla’s answer to the likes of BMW’s 3 Series, with pricing and features aiming to attract the attention of buyers seeking midsized models from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
A starting price of around US$35,000 has been rumoured for the US market, but Tesla is yet to confirm or deny this.
The ‘3’ is unlikely to match the larger Model S’s maximum range on a single charge which can stretch beyond 500km in ideal circumstances, but may instead offer a range beyond 320km.
But before the Model 3 arrives on the scene, Tesla is expected to unveil its first SUV in the Model X sometime this year.
Musk said Tesla would begin taking orders for the Model X in the US from July, and talked up the new model’s “sports car” handling.
The Model X is already on Tesla Australia's wish list for a local arrival at some stage, with pricing and features still to be finalised.
MORE: Tesla Energy 'Powerwall' Battery Pack Coming To Australia In 2016
MORE News & Reviews: Tesla | Model 3 | EV