Tesla is getting ready for the biggest and most important reveal in the brand’s short history with the Model 3 on March 31.
This is going to be the most affordable model in their line up and the car that’s supposedly going to turn EVs into the fully-blown mainstream products we’ve been waiting for.
So what do we know about the Model 3? Well, for starters we have a starting price. Elon Musk said that his new baby will ask for $35,000 before any government incentives, and that translates to a real sub-30k price tag, once all the state or federal tax incentives are included.
This will make the Model 3 not only cheaper than the only other comparable electric model in the market, the Chevrolet Bolt, but crucially more affordable than any of its premium sedan rivals, like the Mercedes C-Class, the BMW 3-Series or the Audi A4.
The big boss himself said that the Model 3 is going to be a genuine electric alternative to the German executive sedans rather than a competitor to the similarly-priced Chevrolet Bolt. The new electric sedan itself is going to be 20 per cent smaller and lighter than the Model S, thanks to a totally new platform which will make it easier for mass production and offer a driving range of around 200 miles (320km).
That new platform will eventually spawn at least one more model, probably a mid-sized crossover, while the Model 3 will also get new battery architecture and a new electric motor as well. The new battery pack will be made at Tesla’s Gigafactory which is going to operate by the end of this year, according to the company.
What we really don’t know yet is how the Model 3 will look like, with the company remaining tight-lipped about the design of it and no leaks so far (so far…) to give us any clue. Even the official teaser image is believed to show not the actual Model 3 silhouette but that of the Model S, further adding to the mystery.
The company will start taking reservations on the same day of the reveal, either online or in a Tesla store. Prospective customers will be asked for a $1,000/£1,000/€1,000 deposit, depending on their geographical location, with existing Tesla owners offered priority over the others, as a thank you for their loyalty.
As for the on-board tech, the Model 3 is expected to feature some of the bells and whistles of the Model S, with the majority of them remaining a privilege of the more expensive and larger car. With that said, the entry-level Tesla will probably come with the autonomous driving tech equipped and the company asking for more money in order to enable the system.
Finally, Elon Musk plans to produce the Model 3 in China and Europe in order to satisfy the local demand, with Tesla already opening an assembly facility in Netherlands. Speaking of production, Tesla’s compact EV is not going to enter production before late 2017, with the reveal event to show us a working prototype of the Model 3.
Renderings via RMdesign