The $44,000 electric version of Tesla's Model 3 can travel at a range of 500km. It is a jaw-dropping new benchmark for a cheap range in an electric car, and it is just one of the several surprises that Tesla had in store as it handed over the keys to its first 30 customers.
Tesla has taken in more than 500,000 deposits at $1,000 a piece and this created a daunting backlog that could take more than a year to fulfil. Tesla has simplified the manufacturing process "dramatically". In the same factory space where Tesla can build 50,000 Model S or Model X cars, it will soon be able to produce 200,000 Model 3s. The car also comes in two battery types; standard and extended range.
The Standard battery option is priced at $35,000 can travel at a range of 220 miles, it's supercharging rate is 13 miles in 30 minutes and can go from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. The Long range battery option is priced at $44,000, can travel at a rate of 310 miles, it's supercharging rate is 170 miles in 30 minutes – same as the Tesla Model S – and can go from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
There is only one other electric car in the world that has broken the 300-mile range barrier: the most expensive version of Tesla's Model S, an ultra-luxury car that costs more than $97,500. The new Model 3 has cheaper range availability than the current record holder, the $37,500 Chevy Bolt, which is outclassed in nearly every way by the Model 3.
The Standard Model 3 won't be available until Fall and the Longer range version is available now for the thousands of Tesla employees who placed reservations last year. A $5,000 premium option package includes an all-glass roof, open-pore wood decor, premium sound, heated seats and premium seat material.
All cars will be identical from the outside, with no additional badging indicating battery size or premium options. The plan is for the Model S and X to eventually do the same.
Tesla also aspires to be the world's safest automaker and the Model 3 is no exception. The Model 3 is an all-new auto platform for Tesla, with novel motor technology and unique battery architecture. The Model 3 is designed for ease of manufacturing, and almost everything is controlled with the touchscreen, which accepts inputs from voice commands and the two control knobs on the steering wheel.
The key challenge, of course, is making all of these cars quickly enough and without the problems that plagued the launch of its more complicated Model X. Tesla aims to make 500,000 cars a year and is counting on its battery factory under construction near Reno, Nevada, to drive down battery costs.
If the Model 3 is successful, it would signal the completion of the Master Plan and a new era of electric-cars for the auto industry. Have a look at the video as Elon Musk introduces the Tesla Model 3.