Elon Musk got the motoring world talking this morning when he announced that he expects the first production model of the Model 3 will be ready this Friday, two weeks earlier than planned. The Tesla 3 is highly anticipated because it is the first electric car the company has made and priced for the mass market.
Tesla was founded in 2003 by Elon Musk and several other engineers who hoped to create an electric-powered sports car that would be more sustainable than everyday gasoline-powered cars. The idea was to eventually create a car which would become more affordable by each generation, and finally to create a more eco-friendly and sustainable car for the 21st century. The Model 3 is the company’s first car that is affordable for the mass market.
A brief history of Tesla
In 2008 Tesla produced its first model known as the Tesla Roadster, which was the world’s first electric sports car. Tesla produced a further 500 of the Roadster vehicles in 2009, before unveiling a 2010 Roadster model which was the first major production upgrade of Tesla’s design. Tesla claimed the Roadster could drive 200 miles on a full charge.
However, TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson was unconvinced by that claim. “Although Tesla say it will do 200 miles, we worked out that on our track it would run out after just 55 miles and if it does run out, it’s not a quick job to charge it up again,” he said on BBC motoring show Top Gear.
Tesla attempted to sue Top Gear for defamation and malicious falsehood, but its complaints were rejected by the courts. Musk, who is the company’s chairman and CEO, later admitted that the earlier Tesla Roadster model was “completely unsafe”, “broke down all the time” and “didn’t really work”.
In 2012, Tesla launched the Model S, which it called the world’s first premium electric saloon. The car can achieve 0-60 mph in five seconds and can travel 265 miles per charge, according to Tesla.
Tesla’s vehicles are produced at its factory in California, which is capable of producing around 2,000 cars per week. The company is also planning to expand its manufacturing into other areas such as Tilburg and the Netherlands. It has an assembly facility in California, where it has a specialized production plant.
Tesla’s increasingly specialised production plant in California, on top of the declining costs associated with the lithium ion battery packs that power the cars, has allowed the company to create a much more affordable car in the form of the Model 3, it claims.
What can we expect from the Tesla Model 3?
Tesla claims the Model 3 will be able to drive at least 215 miles on a single charge. The car can also accelerate to 60mph is under 6 seconds. Musk said more expensive models of the car will have longer ranges and faster acceleration time, however we are still waiting for these later models to be announced.
The Model 3 will be packed with eight cameras, a single radar sensor, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and a new Nvidia Drive PX2 supercomputer which will support Tesla’s second generation of an autopilot system. Tesla has revealed that the ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ mode will eventually allow the Model 3 to almost be self-driven, a major ambition for Musk, allowing the car to match speed with traffic conditions, park itself and even change lanes without any driver input.
It is estimated that it will cost around $5,000 to activate this Enhanced Autopilot feature. While it’s widely expect that this new hardware will eventually allow the car to be self-driven, Tesla will still charge $4,000 for the feature if a fully driverless system isn’t possible.
How much does the Tesla Model 3 cost and what options are there?
As promised, the Model 3 is the most affordable Tesla car yet and is expected to cost $35,000 (£26,924). The first 30 customers of the Model 3 are expected to receive their car at a handover party on 28 July. Then production is expected to grow quite considerably. In August, it is predicted that 100 models will be made, by September it is expected there will be around 1,500 models and finally by December numbers are expected to accumulate to around 20,000 per month.
On Musk’s popular Twitter account, he tweeted this morning: “Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements two weeks ahead of schedule.” He also confirmed that the car will be a much simpler model than his earlier designs. He said Tesla’s earlier models, including the Model X, caused unnecessary complexity which was “very foolish” but have been avoided in the new model. Musk said more news on Sunday will be shared about the release date for the new car.
Tesla is yet to release information on the different options available for the Model 3, but it has confirmed that the car will be available in red, silver and black. The Model S had three battery-packed options, six different interiors, four different types of wheels, two roof options, and allowed customers to choose between rear-wheel drive or dual motor.
If I order a Tesla Model 3, when will I get it?
Musk announced last year that 130,000 pre-orders are available for the new car model. Customers must make a prepayment of $1,000, before finally being able to be able to purchase the vehicle later this year.
When you place an order for your Tesla Model 3, you will be given the option of providing a preferred delivery date. This option is usually deflated to the earliest possible date and with the earlier models such as the S and X, it can be moved out to three months. However, with the Model 3, it’s unlikely you’ll actually get your hands on your new car keys until the latter half of 2018, possibly even 2019.
About a month before your personalised Tesla enters production, you will be assigned a vehicle identification number. Your estimated delivery date for your Tesla will likely change several times due to production schedules and option availability.