On Thursday evening, Tesla Motors unveiled the long-awaited Tesla Model 3 at its design studio in Hawthorne California. What was shown this evening is more than was promised over the last couple years. More range, 215 miles EPA range minimum, and more capabilities, including autopilot and supercharger as a standard feature on all Model 3’s. The company will continue on its aggressive growth rate, and should more than double their global footprint over the next year.
During the unveiling event Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk revealed they’d received over 115,000 reservations over the last 24 hours. At that moment none of those people had even seen the car, and were putting their money down based on “faith” that Tesla Motors would deliver the goods. That faith has been validated.
The car bears a strong resemblance to the Model S. The exterior shape and lines show it’s part of the same family lineage. It will have both a front and rear trunk (Elon did not repeat that “frunk” word). It will have seating for five, indicating the Model 3 will not have an option for a 3rd row of seats. It is somewhat smaller than a Model S, but due to ingenuous arrangement of passenger cabin space Musk promised everyone will have good legroom. An important feature is the all-glass panoramic roof that’s designed to give more headroom in the rear. The glass has been designed with multiple layers for good rejection of UV radiation, hence little heat build-up.
In the past, Tesla Motors had only said “200+ miles range” and “$35,000 MSRP”. While Tesla Motors cannot have finished EPA efficiency certification, Musk did say they expect 215 miles (or more) of EPA certified range. Minimum. EPA certifications are made when a car is close to final production, and the Model 3 is at least a year from reaching that stage. As for the price, Musk reiterated the $35,000 MSRP figure.
Obviously Tesla Motors will have a long list of options, which will bump the price upward. The base car will have a single motor, for example, with a dual drive package as an option. And there will be battery pack size options for longer range.
It had been possible that to achieve an “affordable” price point some key features, like Supercharger support, might be optional for the Model 3. Musk said that Supercharger support, and autopilot hardware, is included in every Model 3. He did not say whether enabling those features will cost extra, just that the hardware would be present. It may be possible Model 3 owners will pay a fee to use the Supercharger network, unlike the Model S owners have free access.
Even with a single motor, the base Model 3 will be speedy, delivering a 0-60 miles/hr time under 6 seconds, and upgrades giving much faster performance. As Musk said, Tesla Motors does not build slow cars.
In short, the Model 3 continues the Tesla Motors legacy of cool looking fast electric cars. They’re reiterating a commitment to building the best car they possibly can. Doing so serves the master plan laid out over 10 years ago in which the goal is to make a significant contribution to correcting environmental and climate degradation by accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles.