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Tesla Model 3 Unveiled Today – Despite Cost Cuts, Still Feels Like a Tesla

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Tesla Model 3 has finally been unveiled a few hours ago at the Hawthorne SpaceX studio, as usual. This has been Elon Musk’s promise from the beginning: build a low-volume, high cost car, then a mid-volume mid-cost car, after which they’ll build what everybody wants: The Model 3 – a high-volume, low-cost Tesla.

How many miles of range?

tesla-model-3-back

Well, Elon said the car will go at least 215 miles (344 km) before needing a recharge. This is beating even the best dreams Nissan has with its Leaf, and even approaches the Model S territory.

Elon said this will be the minimum figure – so expect somewhere between 215 and probably 300 miles of range in the Model 3 – it all depends on the development of the Gigafactory in Nevada and how low they’ll be able to go with the price

Autopilot?

You bet.

Will Model 3 have Supercharging?

Sure it will. All Teslas after the Roadster and a few 40/60 kWh Model S have Supercharging capabilities. So you’ll be able to charge your car while you wait for your coffee, and in half an hour the Model 3 will be good to go for another 80% of its battery capacity.

What will be the Model 3 acceleration figures?

Elon promised that even the low-end version of the Model 3 will sprint to 60 mph (100km/h) in less than 6 seconds – which is fast car territory. Not supercar, but fast car. A 6-second acceleration is enough to put a grin on mostly anyone’s face, trust me. I had one of those. And that super-instant torque will kill all the germs that are still dictating to people’s minds to buy a gas car.

How safe will the Model 3 be?

It will be the safest car in its category. Elon said it will score 5 stars not on average, but on each of the categories. It has to be better than equally-priced Audis, BMWs and Mercedes Benz.

When will the first Model 3 be delivered?

Taking into account that so far Tesla Model 3 is only a prototype, it’ll take a while until they’ll figure out which functions will remain there and which will not. Moreover, the development of batteries is very important to them, so Elon promised we’ll be riding this beautiful baby (some say it’s even prettier than the Model S) by the end of next year.

How is the Model 3 different from Model S/X?

model-3-interior

Well, first of all, it’s shorter. And no steering wheel controls (see image). Despite its size, it still fits 5 people easily. To do that, Tesla moved the front console more to the front of the car, along with the driver’s seat. That allow for bigger leg room in the back.

This was possible, of course, due to the fact that Tesla’s cars don’t have a big engine in the front, and allowed for a “frunk” to exist in Model 3, too. Elon also said this is will be the car with the largest cargo space in its class.

One thing I didn’t like was that they ditched the front cluster panel, and simply hanged a monitor in the middle, which I find not very sexy. Model S had it done better, only because you don’t have to take your eyes from the road to see the speed you’re travelling at. But who knows, maybe they’ll put up a HUD by the end of 2017. My Prius has one, why wouldn’t Tesla?

Others say the trunk has a rather impractical format:

model-3-trunk
Tesla Model 3 trunk. Image (c) Jalopnik

Competitors

General Motors hasn’t been sleeping all this time, and knowing what Tesla will be up to in the following years (not that their plans were a secret to anyone), they designed the Chevy Bolt.

chevy-bolt

However, I tend to think I’m not the only one who thinks, while looking at the Model 3 and the Bolt, that the second is downright ugly compared to the Tesla. It simply doesn’t compete, even if it has range and feel and maybe build quality. They’ll both be priced about the same.

 

People have been able to test drive the new Tesla Model 3 right after the presentation, I’m curious about opinions, few have appeared yet, here’s one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csvDFBn5o-g

 

The video confirms to me the fact that they’ll have to put some dash in front of the driver, that was one of the main attractions in the Model S, imho. I’m not Elon Musk, but this is a must have for any car, after the brakes and steering wheel. Otherwise it may look like a toy with a monitor or, heck, look worse than the BMW i3! The monitor should also be more integrated with the body.

The final version should look better than the prototype. After all, this is the ultimate goal of Tesla: to actually produce an electric car that sells. A big dream from a once small Silicon Valley company that’s succeeded time after time after time. It’s got to pull things right this time, too.

Also, here’s the full 22-min presentation by Elon Musk. Light shows and music were standard, as usual.

all pictures screenshot youtube

Update: GreenCarReports is one of the few that did a test drive in a Model 3 on Thursday night. Here’s their video:

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