By Jerry Mooney
The much anticipated Tesla Model 3 was revealed tonight in a relatively short presentation. It was much anticipated because people have been waiting for the disruptive car company to finally produce a compelling car for the general public and this is it. Expected to cost $35,000 before tax incentives, the Tesla 3 truly becomes an affordable electric car, with the cache of the Tesla brand and the convenience of the Tesla Supercharger network, which will continue to expand. Tesla expects the network to double by next year.
Tesla models leading up to the Model 3 were amazing but expensive. The Model S costs upwards of $70,000 and the Model X can put you back $140,000 when fully equiped. These cars were designed to be expensive and for a limited target consumer. By selling these high priced cars, Tesla was able to fund the creation of the Model 3 while improving their mass production process and lowering costs.
This also gave Tesla time to create their own battery production operation, the Gigafactory, to reduce production costs through streamlining the process and economies of scale. Currently, Tesla is the largest consumer of batteries in the world, which is astounding considering Apple and Samsung have millions of battery reliant products worldwide. Elon Musk showed updated footage of the factory and said it is currently functional even though it is also under construction.
The large and increasing demand for batteries made the Gigafactory necessary, and the Gigafactory makes the Model 3 at $35,000 with a range over 200 miles possible. This bold marriage seemed to require the vision of Elon Musk, the eccentric CEO of Tesla. Musk claims to find inspiration from unconventional sources like The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, so taking on seemingly impossible tasks comes from fiction, not normal business manuals.
Before tonight’s unveil, Musk knew the Tesla 3 already a succeeded, even before a single car was sold. This is largely due to his unconventional way perceives success. The mission statement of Tesla is to advance the advent of sustainable transport, which Elon emphasised. The Tesla 3 has already inspired competition, like the Chevy Bolt to begin production of competitive models. Now, all of the major car manufacturers are following Tesla’s lead. Which leads us to the Model 3.
Now that we have seen the unveil, what have we learned? Things we expected: the Model 3 has an EPA estimated mileage of over 200 (215). The price will be $35,000 before tax incentives and be available at the end of 2017. The design is similar to the Model S but about 20 percent smaller (apparently a shortened frunk and trunk).
Some nice surprises: The Tesla 3 has a 5 star safety rating in all categories. It also has free access to the supercharger network. There is a large (I’m assuming a 17 inch) video console like in the Models X and S, but mounted differently (it apeared external to the dash). The Model 3 can go from 0 to 60 in six seconds. It will be equipped with autopilot hardware and software. Even though it is 20 percent smaller than the Model S, because most of the space was taken from the frunk and trunk it will still seat 5 adults comfortably.
This car has been so anticipated and followed in the footsteps of the Model S and Model X, there was almost the expectation that Tesla might become a victim of its own reputation. However, the car looked awesome! For an inexpensive electric car with range and performance, this appears to set the bar high for the competition.
Jerry Mooney is co-founder and managing editor of Zenruption and the author of History Yoghurt and the Moon. He studied at the University of Munich and Lewis and Clark College where he received his BA in International Affairs and West European Studies. He has recently taught Language and Communications at a small, private college and owned various businesses, including an investment company that made him a millionaire before the age of 40. Jerry is committed to zenrupting the forces that block social, political and economic justice. He can also be found on Twitter@JerryMooney