After a long and arduous wait – with more than 100,000 people even ordering the car blindly – the youngest publicly traded US automaker, electric manufacturer Tesla Motors, has finally unveiled its latest vehicle, the Model 3.
The Model 3’s introduction might very well trigger a small revolution in the electric segment – the start of the affordable game. That’s because Tesla is billing the Model 3 at the base of its model range as its most affordable electric car so far and the competitors are also preparing their own introductions – to name just one we have to think about the Chevrolet Bolt. Tesla took the wraps off the Model 3 during an event last night at its design center in Hawthorne, California. This is Tesla’s fourth model since billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk co-founded the company: first was the high-priced low volume Roadster (based on a Lotus chassis), second was the Model S luxury sedan and the latest was the very fashionable Model X crossover – which bodes well with the current popularity of high-riding models.
The Model 3 is expected to hit dealerships next year starting from $35,000, with about 115,000 units already ordered during the first 24 hours after people put an upfront of $1,000 each. Design wise, the Model 3 looks like a smaller, more modern brother of the Model S but uses the no-grille approach of the Model X for the front fascia. On the other hand, inside the Model 3 ups the ante and surpasses both predecessors with a bigger infotainment screen. If you look carefully at the pictures, you can imagine the display is the 4K monitor of a graphic designer. Musk also said safety and high tech features will be top notch – it should get the maximum rating in every category of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s regular tests and also have standard no matter the trim level the company’s Autopilot hardware and safety systems.
Performance is also top notch – even the base version will reach 60 mph (96 km/h) in under six seconds and the sprint times only go down from there as the owner shells out more cash. The entry-level model is also EPA-rated at more than 215 miles – which is just a hair ahead of the Chevy Bolt with its 200 miles certification. The Model 3 also gets access to the Supercharger network, which is expected to reach a global level of 7,200 stations by the end of 2017, with 15,000 destination chargers.