On Thursday March 31st (an Friday, April 1st in some regions of the world) Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla Motors has finally revealed and explained the latest Model 3 in its current automotive lineup.
Model 3 facts
Let’s start off with the facts about this vehicle. The Model 3 is a mid-sized car with 5 seats and capable of fitting 5 adults comfortably. It is an all-electric vehicle that is powered by Lithium-Ion batteries and an electric motor. Future options are most likely to include all-wheel drive and possibly dual motor options as well. Its design is based around the concept of a rather practical, less idealistic or sporty car. It reminds a little of the Tesla Model X, but lower. It also shares the vehicle category of the BMW 3series Gran Turismo, in my opinion. The rear window is an elongated glass roof that extends towards the front to increase the headroom for rear passengers and provide a feeling of openness. Storage compartments will be available in both the front and rear of the vehicle. Overall it can be said the car will be rather spacious for its outer proportions and size.
The Model 3 includes Autopilot hardware and all Autopilot safety features by standard. The car is said to complete a 5-star rating not only with the car as a complete unit on average, but a 5-star safety rating in every category. Safety is a big theme with the Model 3. Current estimations for EPA rated range is at a minimum of 215 miles (346 kilometers), that Elon Musk suggested they might be able to surpass. Supercharger capabilities are included and furthermore, it now offers a sophisticated system that let’s you charge the Model 3 anywhere in the world where you can find an electric power output. A very versatile and smart move as this has already become a problem for other electric vehicles on the market. By no means is it a slow Tesla. With a promised acceleration of 0-60mph (0-100kph) of less than 6 seconds in its base configuration, you are looking at sports car performance data.
Nothing has been mentioned about its interior, but the images suggest, that it’s not completed yet on the inside. While it seems that there might be a floating design for the main interface panel (large display monitor in landscape mode), the steering wheel might not be final yet. But then again, this could surprise the market even more with such a sleek, modern and simple interior.
The Tesla may be reserved by visiting a Tesla Motors store or online at https://www.teslamotors.com with your credit card. The required, refundable deposit is 1000$ (or 1000€), which will reserve your position in the queue of deliveries. Keep in mind that within the first 24 hours, over 115,000 reservations have already been made. The deliveries are planned to begin by end of 2017 on the west coast of the United States of America and then extend east as production volume increases. Base price for the Model 3 is listed as 35,000$ and will feature a better list of standard options, features and quality than any other vehicle in this price range, according to Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors.
Secret Master Plan
The Model 3 is Tesla’s final step in its secret master plan to achieve its goal in providing a eco-friendly and sustainable way of personal transportation. It was a three-step process that began with the Tesla Roadster, a high-priced and low volume sports vehicle. While the roadster was the first electric car that showed the world that they do not have to be ugly, slow or with low range, it also sparked the development of other electric vehicles. The second step is the mid-volume, less high-priced luxury sedan and its SUV sibling, the Model S and Model X. The main take-aways from this range of vehicles were superb luxury, comfort, the fastest four-door saloon in the world with astounding performance and an excellent range capability with EPA ratings of more than 288mi (463km). And finally, the fourth child in the three-step process was the Tesla Model 3 – being the first electric vehicle for that masses with a production goal of over 500,000 electric cars per year for Tesla Motors.
Being able to manufacture an insane amount of electric vehicles each year, the requirements for lithium-ion batteries demands radical changes in logistics and manufacturing of battery cells. For the production goal of the Tesla Model 3 you would need all of the worlds current battery manufacturing capabilities combined. In order to solve this problem, Tesla Motors has built a Gigafactory with the largest footprint for a building world wide. As of today, this battery factory is already in operation. Its goal is to ramp up the production to 35GWh of batteries per year by 2020. To put this in perspective, this would equal to 388,889 90kWh battery packs in the Tesla Model S or 1.62 million BMW i3 battery packs per year.
Personal Thoughts on Model 3
I am looking forward to the Model 3, but I do not expect deliveries of the Model 3 before summer of 2018 in Europe. The biggest difference the Tesla Model 3 will be able to make is its excellent infrastructure for electric vehicles. Planning to upgrade their supercharger network to 7200 stations worldwide by 2017, this makes an electric vehicle the ideal car for long journeys throughout America, Europe or Asia. Fun to drive, zero emissions and very low running costs for the long trips. I don’t consider taking a 30′ break every 2-4 hours a bad thing. You shouldn’t be driving non-stop that long anyways as it seriously affects your decision capabilities, reaction times and safety in general.
Image courtesy of Tesla Motors, Inc.