The Tesla Model S. Reuters

UPDATE: Which electric cars could face off against the Model 3 when it comes out by 2017?

Telsa Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) has announced the name of its $35,000 electric car due out in 2017.

The lower-cost electric car aimed at buyers of the BMW 3 Series sedan will be called the Tesla Model III after Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) sued the Palo Alto, California, car company for using the letter “E,” according to an exclusive provided by Tesla Motors to British site Auto Express. The Roman numerals resemble the look of the "E" in the company's logo.

“We were going to call it Model E for a while, and then Ford sued us, saying it wanted to use the Model E. I thought this is crazy; Ford’s trying to kill sex!” Tesla CEO Elon Musk joked to the site, referring to the Model S and the coming Model X utility vehicle. The E would have spelled out “sex” for the three electric cars.

Until now, the working title for the vehicle was the “Gen 3,” because the car will be the third generation of Tesla’s game plan: to provide reasonably priced electric cars that would be embraced by a much larger audience than the one targeted by the Model S, which starts at about $70,000 for 208 miles of range.

Back in January a Tesla insider told IBTimes that it would be difficult to believe that the Gen 3 wouldn’t have at least the same range as the current Model S.

The vehicle will be smaller than the Model S. If all goes as the company plans, a proposed $5 billion battery factory would lower manufacturing costs for the most expensive component of an EV, the battery that powers it.