The Model 3 will be a massive vehicle release for Tesla, as the affordable sedan is intended to be a mass market vehicle. One thing we know for certain about the Model 3 is that it is intended to attract a new class of consumer to the Tesla brand. And the latest news on the electric vehicle indicates that we will not have too much longer to wait for its unveiling.

Tesla Model 3: Everything We Know So Far

Tesla Model 3’s March 31 unveiling

Recent reports indicate that Tesla intends to deliver the first glimpse of the Model 3 on March 31. It will be fascinating to see what the leading electric car manufacturer has in mind for this next generation vehicle after a great deal of media speculation on the subject. Production and delivery of the Model 3 will begin in late 2017, with the vehicle priced at $35,000 for the base model.

Tesla has placed the Model 3 vehicle at the centre of its strategy for the coming years, and it is intended to play a major role for the corporation in its goal of selling 500,000 vehicles by the end of the decade. Notorious CEO and founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, has explicitly indicated that this is a target for the corporation, as Tesla aims o build on its already considerable success in the marketplace.

Audi A4 similarity

There also seem to be distinct similarities between the Model 3 and the Audi A4. The latest media reports on the subject suggest that the next generation sedan will be 20 percent smaller than the Model S, and in fact similar in size to the existing Audi vehicle. This would mean that the Model 3 will be approximately 15 feet in length, 6.6 feet in width, and 4.6 feet in height.

Jeffrey Straubel, part of the founding team and the Chief Technical Officer of Tesla Motors, gave indication of the similarity to the Audi vehicle at the IHS Energy CERAWeek. Straubel also commented that the Model 3 will “surprise people with the number of features it includes.” This suggests a vehicle with a large amount of optional extras that can be bought at a wide variety of price points, suiting both the motorist on a budget as well as the more premium consumer.

However, although Straubel was enthusiastic about the potential of the Model 3, he did also indicate that the new features included in the vehicle will likely not be directly related to range or performance. The key Tesla player indicated that performance is already exceptional in the vehicle, and that affordability concerns were central to this ethos. “We don’t really need more performance, we don’t really need much more range. We need to focus on cost,” Straubel commented.

Next gen tech

The next generation tag seems to be appropriate for the Model 3, as the CTO of Tesla also suggested that the vehicle would feature what he described as “next-generation technology”. This comment was not elaborated on in any tangible sense, but we do know that the corporation has recently been working on a range of advanced sensors and innovative cameras which are intended to support autonomous driving. Whether this would be a valid option for a budget vehicle such as the Model 3 remains to be seen, but it is certainly something that Tesla has strongly committed itself to in the past.

One thing that we do know about the Model 3 is that Tesla will not show all of its hand on March 31. Elon Musk has already indicated that not everything about the Model 3 will be displayed at the launch event, with numerous important details being made official closer to the production time of the vehicle. Effectively what we will be seeing at the March 31 launch event will be a pre-production Model 3.

And this strategy would seem to be prudent. It will enable Tesla to hold something back regarding the Model 3, which serves a dual-purpose. On the one hand, Tesla can build excitement for the vehicle steadily by releasing new features intermittently, and this will also prevent other manufacturers from learning information that they can respond to in their vehicle development. Finally, Tesla will be keeping its options open, and it is possible that some features that it intends to include in the vehicle are still not absolutely certain to appear.

Store-only launch

One of the interesting things about the March 31 event is that Tesla is attempting to push consumers to its range of stores. Online reservations for the vehicle will not begin until April 1, while it will be possible for people to make in-store reservations on the day of unveiling. This is an interesting strategy, and it will be intriguing to see whether other auto manufacturers follow suit in future releases.

Those interested in purchasing the Model 3 will have two put down $1,000 as an effective deposit. It is expected that the Model 3 will be extremely popular, and the initial production runs of the vehicle are extremely likely to sell out completely. Undoubtedly, this will be a massively important release for Tesla, as its share price has slumped 20 percent in the early months of 2016 alone. Tesla must demonstrate to investors that the Model 3 can indeed become a mainstream vehicle if it is to nudge its stock in the right direction once more.

Federal subsidy

Finally, one of the most important aspects of the Tesla Model 3 launch is the fact that the vehicle can actually be purchased for an even lower price point than the extremely competitive $35,000 advertised. Federal tax subsidies of $7,500 will apply to purchasers of the Model 3, meaning that green car consumers can pick one up for $27,500, at least as long as they respond efficiently.

The federal subsidy will only last until 200,000 eligible vehicles are shifted in the United States, at which point the tax credit will diminish significantly over the next 12 months. But there are plenty of reasons for both Tesla fans and the environmentally-conscious motorist to seriously consider pre-ordering a Model 3 on March 31.