Tesla Model 3: Performance, specs, and news

Tesla Model 3: Performance, specs, and news

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the most anticipated vehicles of all time. The Californian company received nearly 400,000 pre-orders worth upward of $10 billion simply by showing off a close-to-production prototype. No other automaker has ever pulled off such a feat. One investor even predicts the Model 3 will bring BMW 3 Series sales to zero — at least until Munich’s finest adopts some form of electrification.

That’s because the all-electric Model 3 is the car motorists all over the globe have been waiting for since the launch of the original Roadster — a Tesla designed and built for the masses. Production started ahead of schedule, and on July 28, Tesla delivered the first 30 cars during a special event at its headquarters. The Model 3 is already crisscrossing the nation’s roads.

From its range and features to its price and launch date, here’s everything we know about it.

Pricing and availability

The entry-level Tesla Model 3 costs $35,000 before the $7,500 federal tax credit and local incentives are factored in. Buyers can pay extra for additional features such as a bigger battery pack (which is a $9,000 option), the Premium Upgrades package, Enhanced Autopilot, 19-inch wheels, and metallic paint colors.

The Tesla Model 3 is the company’s most important model because it will make or break the brand; getting it right the first time is crucial. Consequently, the first cars are going to reservation holders who work at SpaceX or at Tesla. Musk expects his employees will be more tolerant of the issues that often plague new cars early on in the production run than customers coming from brands like Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Tesla raised $1.2 billion to launch the Model 3 and it went to great lengths to avoid costly delays. Series production started on July 7, and posting on his personal Twitter account, Musk predicted about 1,500 will be assembled in September, and 20,000 in December. That means many reservation holders won’t get their car until 2018 at the earliest.

Unfortunately, however, it would appear that even that timeline has been delayed. Tesla in early October gave a recap on its third quarter vehicle production and delivery numbers, and revealed that no more than 260 Model 3s had been produced, and just 220 were delivered.  That represents less than 20 percent of the company’s original goal.

So what’s going on? According to Tesla, prepping and operating some initial systems has taken longer than anticipated, creating a bottleneck. Sources told The Wall Street Journal that many of the Model 3’s parts were being built by hand due to the assembly line not being ready. Still, the company noted in a statement, “It is important to emphasize that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain. We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term.”

Delivery wait times are getting very long, and Musk warned that buyers who want one before 2019 need to make a reservation as soon as possible. He’s also been trying to anti-sell the car, worried it will cannibalize Model S sales.

To keep things simple and minimize delays, Tesla will only manufacture the rear-wheel drive variant of the Tesla Model 3 for the first few months of the production run. The all-wheel drive, dual-motor model will arrive at some point next year. Current reservation holders who don’t want a rear-wheel drive car will be first in line to get an all-wheel drive model.

Drivetrain and performance

According to Autocar, CEO Elon Musk has confirmed the Tesla Model 3’s battery packs — 50 kWh and 70 kWh. Furthermore, Musk stated a performance version is due in mid-2018.

Details about the performance edition are nil, but if the Model S is any indicator, it will use a dual-motor, all-wheel drive setup. Considering the Model 3 weighs 400 pounds less than the Model 3, the right battery could make the Model 3 even faster than the fastest Model S. Tesla previously confirmed the P100D’s 100kWh pack will not be available in the 3 because its wheelbase is too short, but the 3 will be available with the Ludicrous mode that cemented the Model S’s spot as one of the quickest vehicles on the planet. No, it is not one of the world’s fastest cars — but it is close.

As for the current version, Tesla’s Model 3 can easily keep up with the 3 Series, which was once considered the gold standard in the sports sedan segment and among the best sports cars available. We know that the $35,000 base model (50 kWh) offers 220 miles of range and a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.6 seconds, while a $44,000 version (70 kWh) ups the ante with 310 miles of range, a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.1 seconds, and a top speed of 140 mph. However, according to a new EPA document (via Electrek), the Model 3 achieved an EPA-cycle range of 334 miles, meaning Tesla might be underselling the vehicle’s performance to keep its customers happy with their real-world results.

The Tesla Model 3 benefits from advances in battery technology that were recently inaugurated by the ultra-quick P100D versions of the Model S and the Model X. The company’s newest battery pack is much denser than its predecessor, and it gets a comprehensively updated cooling system. Battery production takes place in the Gigafactory, a massive complex located on the outskirts of Reno, Nevada.

Model 3 owners can use Tesla’s network of Supercharger stations, but there’s a catch. Unlike Model S and Model X owners, they need to pay every time they plug their car into a Supercharger. Tesla says the service will “cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car,” though rates haven’t been announced yet. The company is expecting high demand, so it’s been increasing the size of its charging station network over the past few months. We might even see small convenience stores pop up at Supercharger stations to keep users occupied as they wait for a full charge.

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Published at Mon, 30 Oct 2017 04:15:39 +0000

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