The Tesla Model 3 has been one of the most anticipated road vehicles of recent years, and quite possibly the most talked about electric car in the history of the niche. This affordable sedan is intended to ensure that Tesla enters the mainstream auto market for the first time, and a $35,000 price point certainly reflects this ethos.
With the first deliveries of the vehicle due before the end of next year, pre-orders are already online, and many consumers will be looking forward to getting to grips with the Model 3 for the first time. So what do we know about this Tesla vehicle at the time of writing? Here is a rundown of the capabilities and specs of this massive electric car.
Model 3 Competition
The Model 3 is expected to compete with some of the biggest sellers in the compact executive car class, meaning that BMW’s 3 Series, Audi’s A4 and the Mercedes C-Class can be considered rivals. However, the low price point for an electric vehicle will certainly be threatening for this triumvirate of German superpowers, and it be interesting to see how the Model 3 fares when it is released.
It had been expected that the Model 3 would deliver a range in the region of 200 miles, but the advanced lithium ion batteries included in the Model 3 ensure that it has a minimum range of 215 miles on a single charge. This is a real boost for those who are interested in purchasing the Model 3, and the powerful all-electric powertrain also enhances the viability of this vehicle.
Tesla presented Model 3 prototypes in red, matte grey and silver at the unveiling event.
Tesla has prided itself on the performance of its electric vehicles, and indeed the notorious CEO and founder of the corporation, Elon Musk, has made the explicit mission statement that Tesla simply doesn’t manufacture slow cars. Thus, the Model 3 was expected to perform admirably, and it certainly appears to be the case based on figures released by Tesla. The Model 3 accelerates from 0-60 mph in just six seconds as standard, but faster versions of the vehicle are also available.
It is not hugely surprising that Tesla has been relatively conservative with the design of the Model 3, and thus the vehicle strongly resembles a downsized Model S. With electrical gear in the vehicle taking up a relatively small amount of space, it was logistically feasible to reduce the size of the Model 3 in comparison to the Model S, shifting the front seat forward in order to ensure that there is more room in the rear of the vehicle.
In common with previous Tesla releases, the Model 3 offers two boots, front and rear. And the vehicle has no explicit grille, ensuring that the aerodynamic performance of the car will be outstanding.
The interior of the vehicle has been particularly praised by the analysts who have observed this new offering thus far. The electrics look particularly interesting, with the cabin of the Model 3 being noticeably dominated by a huge touchscreen, which is mounted horizontally rather than the vertical approach that has been the case in previous Tesla iterations. Speed and gear selection will be displayed in the upper right corner of the display, and there is a strip of climate controls at the bottom of the screen.
However, Tesla has stripped down the instrumentation in the vehicle significantly, with the interior actually resembling a concept car in the opinion of many observers. However, the car which went on display at the unveiling event is in fact close to the final production released, at least according to Tesla sources.
Rear windows in the Model 3 extend above the roof, while a large sunroof offers the impression that the vehicle features an entirely glass top. This design also ensures that rear headroom is significantly improved, while front seats have been slid forward in order to enable more legroom for passengers in the rear of the vehicle. Thus, the level of headroom and legroom in the vehicle is actually generous in what is ultimately a compact vehicle. Clearly the comfort of passengers has been assiduously taken into consideration.
The Model 3 features an autopilot system and impressive supercharger fast charging, which ensure that despite the affordable price point of the vehicle that this delivers an excellent overall package. Musk suggests that Tesla will be capable of manufacturing 500,000 vehicles annually in the foreseeable future, once production of the Model 3 is stepped up. By the admission of the corporation, this would involve Tesla absorbing the entire lithium ion battery production of the planet at present, but evidently Tesla believes that this is possible.
Once the knew Tesla Gigafactory is opened in the Nevada desert, it is believed that Tesla will be able to produce 50 GW-hours of batteries, which will amount to more lithium ion batteries then all the factories in the world combined. With the Tesla charging network also expected to double in size in the coming years, it is clear that the convenience and technicalities of this vehicle have been deeply considered.
The unveiling of The Model 3 can be viewed as a massive success, as Tesla had already announced within two hours of the end of its Model 3 presentation that 135,000 pre-orders have been taken. This is excellent news for the company, of course, but it does impact upon consumers with regard to the pricing of the vehicle.
Price and release date
As had been suggested, the Model 3 will retail at $35,000, and a tax credit is available from the United States government of $7,500 for a certain period of time. However, it is clear that this period will not be particularly lengthy, as the full $7500 discount is only available until 200,000 pre-orders have been received. It is quite possible that this number will even be exceeded as these words are being written, so those wanting to pick up a Model 3 for $27,500 must indeed pre-order one immediately. Musk made no mention of charge times or price points for the higher-performance dual-motor version at the unveiling of the Model 3.
The Model 3 is expected to be available before the end of 2017, but previous Tesla releases have been moved back due to logistical reasons.