The latest news on the Tesla Model 3 suggests that this long awaited vehicle will appear at the Geneva Motor Show, which is being held between March 3 and March 13 this year. The annual international car exposition will be held at the Geneva Palexpo, and it will feature numerous vehicles from major auto makers, including this year the hotly anticipated debut of the Model 3.
Tesla Model 3 – Doubts over Tesla claims
Yet despite this claim from Tesla itself, not all analysts are convinced that the Model 3 will indeed appear in Geneva. This 200-mile plus electric vehicle is also supposedly an affordable variant to the existing Tesla range, but the electric car manufacturer has experienced numerous technical problems in developing the Model 3. This is nothing new for Tesla; it has repeatedly been forced to push back the release date of major vehicles.
What we do know for certain is that Tesla will definitely have a presence in Geneva, which is a departure from previous years for the corporation. Tesla usually does not participate in major auto shows, and thus the fact that it will even have a booth in Switzerland is a positive sign for fans of electric vehicles.
However, historically Tesla has chosen to show off its new electric products at its Fremont facility. This is where both the Model S and Model X were revealed for the first time, and also where the Powerwall received its initial public revelation. Some analysts believe that although Tesla is reportedly unveiling the Model 3 in Geneva, this is in fact a red herring, and it is more likely to follow the pattern of previous vehicle releases.
But assuming for the sake of argument that the Model 3 will indeed form part of the Tesla portfolio in Geneva, can this more affordable vehicle be the massive success for the company that Tesla is hoping? The Model 3 is an affordable sedan that is particularly notable for its impressive driving range and performance. Coupled with the fact that its release price has been mooted to be around $35,000 by the corporation – although this is for the base model with other additions certainly costing extra – and this vehicle has the potential to be a mass-market winner for Tesla.
High volume vehicle
There is thus no doubt that the Model 3 will be manufactured in a high volumes, as Tesla believes that the vehicle has the potential to attract more gasoline guzzling drivers to the greener electric niche. But it should be noted that the major consideration for a lot of consumers is not being environmentally friendly, but rather convenience, reliability and performance. Although Tesla has achieved a lot in its relatively short life, It has yet to establish electric vehicles as a truly mainstream option, and the same considerations which have prevented this will also influence the success or otherwise of the Model 3.
However, one perennial concern with electric vehicles is that the cost of repairs can be considerable. But it seems that the Model S will trump previous Tesla releases in this department, also delivering an impressive driving range. Tesla has already committed itself to an outstanding maintenance service with this vehicle, and this should go some way to reassuring consumers that the Model 3 is an excellent buy.
Another positive for the Model 3 is that the drivetrain of the vehicle is largely plug-and-play, ensuring that this should not be a major obstacle for the company. Tesla has already produced numerous drivetrain and battery pack combinations for front, rear, and all-wheel drive vehicles, and this means that the Model 3 will be based on familiar home turf, and probably make its appearance at the Geneva motor show more likely.
In addition to creating drivetrains for its very own Roadster, Model S, and Model X, Tesla has also done the same for the Toyota RAV4 EV and the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive. This means that producing a Moto, controller and battery pack of appropriate specifications for the Model 3 should be extremely straightforward for Tesla, possibly also reducing development costs for the vehicle. This will be a big advantage for the Model 3 over previous Tesla releases, and could help ensure its success.
Tesla has also stated previously that the Model 3 will be constructed from steel instead of aluminum. This should help keep the production costs of the vehicle as low as possible, considering that steel is typically easier and cheaper to work with than the metal utilized previously. Aluminum is known for being fairly delicate, while steel is more forgiving. This will be another significant plus point for the Model 3.
Another positive sign for Tesla and the Model 3 is that there currently seems to be an extremely strong demand for an affordable and small electric car. Although Tesla may not have established the electric vehicle as a truly mainline proposition, it has nonetheless at least placed the concept firmly in the public mind with previous releases. The Model 3 would seem to be the ideal vehicle to convert this increasingly positive perception into real-world sales, particularly if Tesla is able to honor the $35,000 target price.
The early performance signs from the Model 3 are extremely positive, if indeed Tesla can come good on its promises, with specs for the vehicle impressing both prospective consumers and critics alike. But there will certainly be challenges for Tesla to deliver the Model 3 as intended, and perhaps the largest of these is related to the Tesla supply chain.
Tesla has massive experience now with manufacturing electric vehicles, and building a cheaper alternative to its existing product range will require the corporation to make significant adjustments to its operations. The Tesla Gigafactory will be absolutely critical to the success or otherwise of the Model 3, and it is rumoued and anticipated that the factory will indeed be operative by 2017. This will make it more plausible for Tesla to improve the production of cheap batteries, ensuring that the vehicle can retail at the target price.
Doubts till remain over whether the Model 3 will be a success, or even appear in Geneva, and thus fans of electric vehicles will certainly be watching the event closely for more clues on this revered Tesla release.