Tesla Model 3
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 should already be crisscrossing the nation’s roads, but significant production problems have forced Tesla to delay volume production by three months.
Unlike conventional cars, the Tesla Model 3 is controlled by a smartphone companion app, says Bloomberg, which allows you to unlock it.
All you have to do is walk up to the door with your mobile in your pocket and the Model 3 will unlock itself automatically.
While old spy shots of the entry-level electric car appear to be “flat, Spartan and lifeless”, the site says the production version feels “expansive” and “refreshing” because of the absence of dials and buttons on the dashboard.
These have been replaced with a single 15ins touchscreen above the centre console, which The Times says is “liberating”. But being “faced with just a steering wheel and pedals” is “unnerving” at first.
The two directional scroll wheels that are inset in the wheel itself are the only physical buttons in the cabin, says TechCrunch, along with a “shift column” mounted just behind the wheel.
The Verge says a heads-up display would have been a welcome feature as some drivers could find it difficult using the touchscreen to access all the car’s information. They might also get distracted by it.
A heads-up display, which projects information such as the car’s speed and battery life in front of the driver, could prevent drivers from looking at the 15ins display while driving and therefore help them focus on the road.
Performance and range
Despite its focus on autonomous technology, the driving experience in the Model 3 “remains enjoyably analogue”, says Car magazine, while the vehicle’s acceleration performance easily matches its more expensive sibling, the Model S.
Drivers may find themselves using only their right foot to drive the Model 3, thanks to its regenerative braking system, which automatically applies the brakes when coasting in order to charge battery.
The batteries themselves come in two different options, says Top Gear – offering a 220-mile-per-charge range or 310 miles per charge. The former has a 0-60mph time of 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 130mph, while the larger battery option drops the acceleration time by 0.5 seconds and reaches up to 140mph.
The Model 3 also features Tesla’s Autopilot feature, says the website, which can automatically change lanes on the motorway and assist drivers on tight country lanes. And the Smart Summon feature enables the car to autonomously park itself in a garage
Price and release
Prices are expected to start at around £30,000 “after government grants”, says the Daily Mail, although UK deliveries are not expected until next year.
In the US, where the car has now been released, The Verge says two versions are available for $35,000 (£27,000) and $44,000 (£34,000). The cheaper model comes with a battery range of 220 miles. The range-topper brings that up to 310 miles.
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 S, 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 BMW 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.