Last night may be remembered as the night cars and technology officially became one.
In the hours leading up to Tesla’s unveiling of the Model 3, CEO Elon Musk sent out a series of Tweets saying that online orders would be opened up an hour before the unveiling event kicked off. The company also announced via Twitter that orders would be welcomed from India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Slovokia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Ireland, in addition to the United States, but that a 2 car-per-household limit would be in effect.
It sounds more like a tech unveiling than an auto event, but the hype evidently worked. As of last night, more than 133,000 people put down at least $1,000 each to reserve a car.
But enough about that. This is the car that’s been hyped for about a decade and could change EVs as we know them.
Ten years ago Elon Musk laid out his plans for Tesla in a blog post. It seemed so simple, but nearly impossible at the same time. He envisioned three steps:
Last night’s unveiling of the Model 3 is the culmination of a decade’s worth of work.
The base car, priced at $35,000 before any tax incentives, will do 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds, with more expensive versions that will go much faster. Range will be at least 215 miles, and all Model 3 cars will easily connect to Tesla’s high-speed Supercharging network.
The Model 3 will fit five adults comfortably, come in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions, and come standard with Tesla’s Autopilot feature. A 15-inch horizontal touchscreen fits inside the sparse interior.
Like the Model X, the Model 3 will have a massive piece of glass up front. In fact, it will be one continuous piece of glass from the windshield all the way to the trunk. It will even have front and rear trunks for storage, just like the Model S. Musk says the car will have “more cargo capacity than any gasoline car of the same external dimensions” and can even fit a 7-foot surfboard inside.
During the presentation Musk said he is “fairly confident” that deliveries will begin by the end of 2017, and that buyers will “not be able to buy a better car for $35,000, even with no options.”
Judging by Tesla’s past failures to deliver cars on time, we can be reasonably sure it’ll be well into 2018 before people receive their vehicles. Two years is a long time and Tesla is sure to make additional changes as it gets closer to production.
Last night’s event gave us a pretty clear idea of what the Model 3 will look like, how much it will cost in base trim, and what features will be included. Given the car is still two years away, though, we should probably consider this the first of a long series of announcements regarding the Model 3.
Now is when the real work for the Model 3 begins. With more orders than it can possibly fill anytime soon, Tesla needs to begin production and deliver at least some cars on time. Elon Musk has bet billions on it and the future of Tesla Motors rides on its success.
What do you think of the Tesla Model 3?
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