Tesla Model 3: Elon Musk's first bet on mass market cars

Posted July 30, 2017

Electric-car maker Tesla unveiled the first of its Model 3 saloons on Friday as the company drew closer to introducing the vehicle - which is priced for mainstream consumers - to the United States market. Much of that enthusiasm is tied to the potential of the Model 3, which carries a price tag that allows it to compete directly with many traditional petrol- and diesel powered cars and sport utility vehicles.

In case the battery of the smartphone just ran out of juice, was misplaced, or a valet parks the Tesla Model 3, the auto comes with an NFC-equipped to unlock the door and start the motor. While Tesla has already started production of the Model 3, production is going to take a while to ramp up.

Until now, Tesla has operated as a niche producer of luxury electric vehicles, with a charismatic, showman CEO who regularly interacts with fans on his Twitter account. It's striking just how minimalist it is, even compared to Tesla's previous cars. A discussion that one Redditor had earlier today with Tesla customer service also sheds light on possibly delivery dates.

For the base price, customers will get a Model 3 with 220 miles (322 km) of range.

"To those who lined up to buy a Model 3". The Model 3 features a seamless wood-panelled dashboard without any instrument - except for a large centrally-mounted touch-screen.

"We're going to go through at least six months of manufacturing hell", Musk told reporters Friday at Tesla's Fremont factory.

Tesla is predicting that a fully self-driving feature will eventually be available for the Model 3.

Tesla faces major hurdles living up to the Model 3 hype.

The Model 3 will jump from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, with a top speed of 130 miles per hour.

Tesla has secured an estimated 500,000 pre-orders for the Model 3 since the vehicle was first unveiled in March 2016.

Maybe we're nitpicking a bit, but Musk said at a press conference earlier Friday that Tesla now has more than 500,000 reservations for the Model 3. This battery not only boosts your range to 310 miles, it also supports faster charging, better acceleration and a higher top speed.

Pricing would begin at US$35,000, with Aussie Model 3s expected to lob with a 3-Series rivalling circa-$55k base sticker.

The interior is extremely simple, with a single 15-inch touchscreen sitting proud of the dash that includes virtually all of the car's operating controls aside from the pedals and a couple of buttons on the steering wheel.

Finally, forget about needing a key fob to start your vehicle.

Sam Abuelsamid, a senior researcher with Navigant Research, said even if it doesn't meet its ambitious targets, Tesla has done more than anyone to promote electric vehicles.

At about $1,000 of deposit per reservation (it differs in different countries), it represents over $500 million and a potential of roughly $22 billion in sales at an average price of $42,000 per vehicle.