Tesla is certainly hoping that its forthcoming Model 3 vehicle will be its first truly mainstream breakthrough product. The electric car manufacturer has set aside the Model 3 as an affordable and attractive vehicle that can truly reach a mass market. In this sense, the Model 3 can be seen as a make or break product for both the company and its charismatic and notorious CEO Elon Musk.
Tesla Model 3 – Affordable price point
The price point of this electric vehicle has long since been rumored to be around $35,000, making the Model 3 by far the most affordable car that the corporation has manufactured, should it indeed launch at this level. Of course, Tesla has yet to confirm this $35,000 figure, and it is even conceivable that it hasn’t been set internally, considering the complex manufacturing process involved in producing a road capable vehicle.
Fans of Tesla will note that the electric car manufacturer has experienced numerous delays with previous vehicles, indicating just how complicated it is to produce a quality electric car. So it is not at all beyond the realm of possibility that the company might experience some price creep with regard to the final figure associated with the vehicle. The fact that Tesla is even aiming for a figure in the region of $35,000 suggests that the corporation indeed wants to make the Model 3 a fixture on roads around the world.
There have also been murmurings from inside of the company that Tesla is intending to ship as many as 500,000 vehicles in 2020. Although Tesla is already a successful electric car manufacturer, this would unquestionably be a massive step forward for the corporation. It also means that Tesla is placing a great deal of faith in the Model 3 to be a growth engine for the company, and a catalyst in the long-term commercial success of Tesla.
A car like no other
Aside from these factors, Tesla has given away almost nothing about the Model 3. We really know extremely little about how the vehicle will ultimately look, all we really know is that we should expect the unexpected when it is finally unveiled (not that we can be exactly certain of when this unveiling will be!).
The aforementioned Musk recently held a Reddit question and answer session on the popular social networking site, and was asked whether he could share anything significant about the Model 3. Prompted to provide information of which the public was not already aware, Musk simply stated that the vehicle will not resemble any existing vehicles. Thanks, Elon, that’s extremely helpful!
Nonetheless, we do have a few clues as to how the Model 3 may appear when it is finally released. The first one being the price itself, which will dictate that this is possibly a more pragmatic vehicle than some of the previous models released by Tesla. Ultimately, although this is a company which likes to brand itself as being state of the art, certain practicalities will have to be taken into consideration with the manufacturing of the Model 3, even if corners aren’t cut, as it were.
Another interesting nugget of information is that Electrek has recently published a report indicating that Tesla is putting significant effort into achieving a design with extremely low drag coefficient. Electrek has cited a source with close connections to the design group of Tesla, and the information provided by this source suggests that the Model 3 might be notable for some extremely avant-garde designs. This rumor would certainly mesh with the enigmatic comments of Musk.
Some analysts with particularly close connections to Tesla have also suggested that the CEO is intensely driving the engineering process for the Model 3. Musk is apparently demanding that engineers deliver a design with a drag coefficient lower than .2. This would effectively ensure that the Model 3 set a world record, making it the lowest figure of any mass production car in the world today. Even extreme vehicles such as GM’s EV1 and Volkswagen’s XL1 are yet to match this figure.
This will provide Tesla with something of a conundrum, as low drag coefficient vehicles often result in unconventional and clunky designs. Tesla must marry this reality with the fact that it has a reputation for sleek and aerodynamic performance and visuals, and this will be a significant challenge for engineers and designers.
It has also been reported that Tesla will deliver several different body styles when the Model 3 is released. This would ensure that the Model 3 could deliver both a sit down version and possibly a crossover that would compete with the BMW X3.
Some reports even go as far as suggesting that the Model 3 will furthermore deliver coupe, wagon, convertible, and even pick-up options. This could easily come to fruition, but the smart money is that any additional models will follow once the initial vehicle has been established in the marketplace.
And the affordable price point of the Model 3 does not mean that this vehicle will be lacking in pack and power. There have been suggestions that the Model 3 will be quicker to 100 km/h down the formidable BMW M3, meaning that the Tesla vehicle could be capable of breaking the four second barrier.
So when can we expect to get our hands on the Model 3? Well, in order to answer this question we have to balance the likelihood of possibility with statements from the company itself. Tesla claims that the Model 3 will hit the forecourts in 2017, Although it has declined to provide any further information other than this. Analysts generally believe that we would be looking at the second half of 2017 as a likely release schedule, and possibly even towards the end of the year.
However, fans of Tesla and electric vehicle enthusiasts in general will realize that Tesla has missed numerous deadlines previously. The underlying complexity of what the electric car manufacturer is attempting to do ensures that release dates creep on a regular basis, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Tesla failed to meet the 2017 targets. Indeed, the more shrewd analysts may suggest that 2018 is a likely date for this much anticipated vehicle.