Tesla is set to finally take the wraps off the highly anticipated Tesla Model 3 and deliver the first 30 vehicles at a handover event in California set to take place tomorrow.
The event will be live streamed at the company’s website from 1:45PM tomorrow (AEST), but, what do we know so far?
While local pricing is yet to be announced, we do know that it will kick off from US$35,000, meaning it should sneak in locally at around $50,000 before on-road costs.
Given the low starting price, there’s likely to be an extensive options list, which could include things like air suspension, AutoPilot functionality, leather interior trims, a high-end sound system and different wheel options.
The Model 3 will launch initially with one motor option capable of propelling it from standstill to 100km/h in under six seconds. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, said that a dual-motor variant won’t be available at launch and is likely to come in 2018.
With that being the case, it’s also not unreasonable to expect a go-fast version that utilises similar technology to the ballistically quick Model S P100D, which is capable of accelerating from standstill to 100km/h in around three seconds.
Simplicity is the key for Tesla. The interior is best described as minimalist, with a large colour touchscreen mounted almost like an iMac in the centre of the dash. (‘The Apple of cars’, indeed…)
It’s unclear at this stage how a driver is meant to read their speed, although reports have suggested a corner of the centre display is permanently allocated to speed and other key driver information.
Images that emerged recently also show rear air vents and two USB ports for device charging. But that’s all we know at this stage, with the full details expected to be revealed tomorrow.
The biggest hurdle for Tesla with this car will be range anxiety. Given its smaller frame and inability to fit the same amount of battery cells as the bigger Model S, it comes at the cost of drivable range.
Tesla says the Model 3 at launch will travel 345km per charge, with supercharging likely to be a cost option.
Model 3 will be Tesla’s first model to feature a new 2170 battery cell that offers double the current draw of equivalent cells in Model S and X. According to Musk, it’s the highest density energy cell in the world.
Spy photos of prototype Model 3s show a larger charge port that opens vertically, instead of sideways, which could suggest a different charger plug or greater charging capabilities thanks to the new battery cells.
Tesla’s ability to mass produce vehicles remains largely unknown. It certainly doesn’t help that over 350,000 pre-orders exist for the Model 3, with Australia one of the first markets to secure pre-orders.
According to Musk, after the first 30 deliveries tomorrow, production will grow exponentially, with 100 in August, over 1500 in September and 20,000 per month in December. Those numbers are still well short, though, of the 500,000 cars per year Musk plans to be build by 2018.
Tesla plans to roll out Model 3 deliveries starting from the west coast of North America, moving to the east coast, then Europe and then Australia Pacific. Estimates place local delivery as the second half of 2018.
Do you have a Tesla Model 3 pre-order? Are you excited for this more affordable electric car?