This month, delivery begins on what has become one of the most anticipated vehicles of all time. No, it’s not some exotic supercar or extreme performance machine. It’s the Model 3 from electric car-maker Tesla. Touted as the BMW Series 3 killer, this chic sedan generated nearly 400,000 pre-orders worth upward of $10 billion, all based on people’s reactions to a close-to-production prototype. No other automaker in history has been able to achieve such a feat and it shows just how much customers care about an affordable electric car alternative that doesn’t compromise on curbside appeal.
THE TESLA WAY
Tesla was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers who wanted to prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars. Ever since, they have been working hard to prove their case and build a passionate following along the way.
The company’s flagship vehicle, the Model S, was the world’s first ever premium all-electric sedan and has become the best car in its class in every category. It offers the longest range of any electric vehicle, over-the-air software updates that make it better over time, and a record 0-60 mph acceleration time of 2.28 seconds. This type of performance comes at a price however, putting the Model S out of reach for most.
ENTER THE MODEL 3
The new Model 3 from Tesla has been designed to address the premium price point issue of the Model S. Effectively, the Model 3 is a smaller, simpler, more affordable electric car, that still delivers a whole more bang for your buck than your average electric car. On the performance front, the Model 3 can easily match pace with the BMW 3 Series, which was once considered the gold standard in the sports sedan segment and among the best sports cars available.
All early deliveries of the Model 3 will come with a single motor powering the rear wheels, while an all-wheel drive version will be added as an option from 2018. There’s also take of a "P" performance model, however, not much information has been made available at this stage. The base model, equipped with a 50 kWh battery pack, offers 220 miles of range and a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.6 seconds, while the premium version with 70 kWh battery pack, offers 310 miles of range between charges and a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.1 seconds.
What has really gotten people excited, however, is the entry-level pricing. The base version starts at just US$35,000, with the longer-range battery (the 70kWh version) adding another US$9,000 to the price tag. There are also a whole host of upgrades available, including the Enhanced Autopilot suite of active-safety systems, 12-way heated and power adjustable front seats, a panoramic glass roof, an upgraded audio system and so on.
Still, a Tesla Model 3 equipped with every available upgrade will still only run to US$59,500, which is fantastic value for the money. Just like our Oceaner 41.