After years of speculation and eager anticipation, Tesla finally revealed the Model 3. Or, at least, a version which indicates what the final production model will look like, somewhere between what traditional carmakers call a concept and a production version. The reaction has been overwhelming, with some 180,000 people putting down a $1,000 deposit within 24 hours to get in line for the new EV. So, is the Model 3 really all that great?
Personally, I think the Model 3 is a wasted opportunity for Tesla to advance its design language from that introduced on the Model S and utilized subsequently on the Model X. Of course, I understand the company’s decision to pursue this approach – much like Mercedes styles the C-class as a mini S-class, Tesla wants the Model 3 to feel like a small version of a larger, more expensive vehicle. That said, the front is different to that on the Models S and X, pretty handsome once you get used to the weird non-grille, though it looks a bit too close to the upcoming Panamera Mk II in my opinion. And while the full-length panoramic roof should give the interior a very airy feel, in its current execution it looks like it does not allow for a rear hatch.
Details are still scarce, but here is what we know from the Californian carmaker:
- Price of base model around $35,000
- 0-60 in less than 6 seconds
- 215-mile range for the base model
This sounds almost too good to be true, as it makes the Model 3 cheaper, faster and gives it a longer range than the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt. If, despite my skepticism, Tesla delivers on these claims, the Model 3 may be the transcendent model Musk claims it is. And that’s before you consider class-exclusive features such as the gigantic touchscreen inside or Tesla’s futuristic, if flawed, Autopilot feature.
If the success of the Model S is anything to go by, the substantially-cheaper but only slightly-less-capable Model 3 could stand on the brink of becoming a true market leader. There are potential pitfalls, however. First, while the Model S had the market pretty much to itself, the Model 3 will face quite a few competitors once it comes to market. Second, to sell in truly large numbers the Model 3 will have to be good-enough to be the only car to many people, while the Model S was often bought as the second or third car by many.
At the end of the day if Tesla can sell it for $35,000 than the Model 3 should become the most-successful EV so far. It is impossible to deliver a final verdict, however, as there is still a lot of uncertainly around the car, its engineering, the final price and how long it will take Tesla to bring it to market (the Model X was two years late to market, after all). In the meaning, an interesting question is what does the Model 3 tell us about the future of Tesla, both as a car brand and as a company. But that’s a topic for another article…
How successful do you think the Model 3 will be?
- Easily the most successful EV yet (100k+ annual sales globally) (60%, 74 Votes)
- Should better the Nissan Leaf (50-100k annual sales globally) (27%, 34 Votes)
- It will be swamped by competitors from established car brands (fewer than 50k annual sales globally) (13%, 16 Votes)
Total Voters: 124