It’s been almost 10 years in the making, but Tesla’s Model 3 has finally been unveiled. For those that don’t get why the model 3 is such a big deal, it’s because it’s Tesla’s “affordable” all electric vehicle. How affordable you ask? Tesla has quoted the base model to be only $35,000. With government subsidies, the price might be even less than that depending on where you live. People have been lining up at Tesla dealerships for days just to reserve their Model 3. For just a $1,000 refundable deposit you too can be first to receive a Model 3 in 1.5 years time. The response was overwhelming with over 150,000 reservations in the first day alone. At the same time people were reserving their cars the press got to experience the Model 3 firsthand.
For only $35,000 you might be wondering how much car you can really get. The reviews have been largely positive. Tesla promises that the Model 3 base model can get 215 miles on a single full charge. There are other options for bigger batteries and other premium features which will probably run the total cost of the car up to about $50,000 to $60,000. The press had limited access to the car, and by limited we mean about a minute ride in one as well as floor models to take pictures of. But one reporter said that despite there being 4 grown men in the car the Model 3 was surprisingly fast and responsive. Though, the car that press got to ride around in was the premium model with a larger battery and dual motors the reporter was confident that even the base model would be relatively fast.
Performance aside, the styling was definitely Tesla all over. Many people said that it would be instantly recognized as a Tesla even without the Tesla badge. It is pretty obvious that many of the style decisions were made with cost saving in mind but overall it is a sleek good looking car. One of the biggest differences between the Model 3 and the other Tesla cars is the touchscreen. There is no more 17 inch long portrait command center that people loved from the Model S. Instead, there is a 15 inch landscape touchscreen floating off the dashboard where traditionally you’d find either a radio, or nothing at all. Other normally standard features of the dashboard like tachometer, speedometer, and fuel gauge are now gone. The dashboard behind the steering wheel is now completely bare. All of those functions are now transferred to the single touchscreen that controls everything from climate to entertainment.
Then, there are the little things that make up the overall design of the car. It is very spacious despite being physically smaller than it’s big brother the Model S. The wide open glass roof found in the Model X also makes an appearance. The word that comes to mind is elegant, and then another word comes right after that, simplistic. Now, simplistic can be both good and bad. In a race to make new cars more modern and tech friendly, car makers often have a million features in their cars with just as many controls. It can become a bit overwhelming and cluttered. The Model 3 has a minimalist design that is quite refreshing. But, it might have gone a bit far and it pushes past minimalist and feels slightly unfinished. Tesla has said that they may make a few tweaks here and there between now and when the first cars ship out, but they are adamant that the car that was unveiled is fully mass producible and more or less what you’ll get by the end of 2017.
Is this the EV game changer that we’ve all been waiting for? We’ll just have to wait and see when the first cars roll off the assembly line and into people’s driveways.