Tesla's Model S and Model X were supposed to be joined by the "Model E" to finally complete a word and you know it.
On its launch, however, Tesla released its new car with the name Model III, or Model 3, as the company's previous efforts to patent the "Model E" name was blocked by Ford.
Ford had already been applying for a trademark on the "Model E" back in 2000. This would continue on for a few years later as the company had seemed to have an on and off relationship with the name. Ford would abandon it, reapply for it and once approved, cancel it, until finally, in 2013, a few months after Tesla's application, the company took the name for itself.
Robin Bren, trademark Attorney and Partner at Intellectual Property Law Firm Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, had earlier explained that companies usually abandon trademark applications for two reasons: that the company may not be planning on using the name anymore, or that the company might be "mitigating" risk.
According to previous reports, Vice President of Communications for Tesla Motors Simon Sproule, and Ford spokeswoman Kristina Adamski revealed that the two companies had settled the matter "amicably." None of the two parties admitted if Ford had asked Tesla to abandon and give the name to the former. In another report, however, it seems Ford did.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Ford had called as soon as the company got word of Tesla's plans to adopt the "Model E" name, and they threatened him with legal action. Musk was quoted saying, "They are killing S.E.X." The Tesla CEO also added that the company had patented another name after "Model E," a "Model Y." Tesla's car models would've sported the letters, "S," "E," "X," and "Y," which actually make more sense than the other, less child-friendly, combination.
Nevertheless, Tesla's design team seems to have found a way around the snag in what reports assume to be an "eccentric" Elon Musk "inside joke." On its web page, the Model III's "III" is printed horizontally, faintly resembling an "E" without its vertical line. The company's name is also spelled out in this way, with the "E" and "A" missing its vertical lines. This suggests the company may have been prepared with a plan B had the original "Model E" not been pushed through.
In more recent news, Ford is finally pushing through with implementing its trademarked "Model E" for its allegedly upcoming electric car variant. Vice President of Global Forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions Sam Fiorani predicted in a report that Ford may be planning to build a model that can compete with the Toyota Prius hybrid in its new Mexico plant. The production could start in 2019 and could make 50,000 units annually of the site's 300,000 to 350,000 car output capacity. These "Model E" cars, Fiorani adds, may come in three variants: "a traditional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and [a] battery-electric vehicle."