I was sold on the electric car the second I experienced 0-84mph in a Tesla Model S P85D. It’s not just brutal acceleration, it’s brutal acceleration you can actually use from any speed, available immediately. Even just squirting from 0-30mph off a city stop light is a total riot. It is the kind of enjoyment you can only have in an electric car. There is no engine, no gears, and no delay. Thrills come simply at a push of the button, or pedal, in this case.
I thought Elon Musk summed up Tesla’s path brilliantly. Prove electric can be fun with the Tesla Roadster, then prove them practical and desirable with the Model S and Model X. But now comes the make or break moment for Tesla Motors, a truly affordable, mass-production car, the Tesla Model 3. It must be practical, it must be dependable, and it must be quite desirable to out-compete fierce competition.
Only time will tell for dependability, an issue that Tesla has been working on. Any new car company should expect some bumps in the road, it’s how they deal with them that counts. This factor gets greatly amplified as you move into the mass-market realm.
What we did find out last night in the short part one of the Tesla Model 3 reveal is that the car will be quite desirable and quite practical… so long as Musk’s promises are kept.
In terms of practicality, Musk says the Tesla Model 3 will seat 5 people comfortably, and has the most interior room of any car it’s size. He even said you can fit a surf board inside the car. We only got a brief look into the interior of the Tesla Model 3, but it seems pretty clean and simple.
Looks wise, I think the Model 3 looks like a mini Model S, and that’s perfect. It’s sleek, egg-shaped look reminds me a lot of the Porsche Panamera. I’ve always liked the Panamera, and I think the shape suits the new affordable Tesla well. It will surely distinguish the Model 3 from the rather vanilla crop of similar sedans it’s up against.
All Tesla Model 3s will come standard with autopilot capability.
As for performance, Elon joked that “Tesla doesn’t build slow cars.” He said the slowest of the Model 3s will be able to run 0-60mph in under 6 seconds, and it will be able to go at least 215 miles on a charge. He didn’t go into what the higher spec Model 3s could do, but current rumors suggest 0-60 in under 4 seconds, and a range of 300 miles.
Musk also claims that the Model 3 will be top-rated in all parameters of safety.
The big detail has to be the price, though. Tesla maintains that the base Model 3 will start at $35,000, and be well-equipped as standard.
My take on the Tesla Model 3 so far
Looking at what we know from Musk’s presentation, we can see that the Tesla Model 3 is going to be quite desirable. $35,000 gets you a quick, fun, practical electric car that will turn heads and go 215 miles on a charge. What’s not to love about that?
What’s more, people seem to trust Tesla so much that there were 115,000 pre-orders placed before the car had even been seen. That’s $115 million in capital for the company, or “HUUUUGE!,” as Donald Trump would put it.
The reveal of the Model 3 is the big moment that Tesla has been working toward, and I’d say the numbers speak for themselves so far. That said, the biggest challenge comes now in delivering on that huge, and fast-growing, stack of Model 3 orders. Tesla’s execution is going to have to be top-notch for long term success.
I do think the Tesla Model 3 is a stunner, though. It’s got the right Tesla flavor, and the “want” is very strong with it.
So now the question is, does anyone still want a Chevy Bolt after seeing the Tesla Model 3?
I thought not…
PS: I’m loving how all of us media collectively decided to just take screenshots from the live Model 3 reveal. Journalism at it’s finest, folks!