Tesla has finally unveiled its much anticipated fourth car this month. This is the company’s first attempt at creating an affordable car. CEO Elon Musk is now putting all his eggs in one basket in the hope that this car will save not only his company but the planet.
In classic Tesla style thousands crammed in front of Elon Musk to see the unveiling of the next Tesla automobile. Fans think this car will be its future and critics will point to it being its last hope, but the expectation from both sides was palpable. The unveiling was after a short description by Musk on the aims of Tesla and how they came to this point.
He explained the strategy of getting to this point of a mass market car needs to take stages. First a sports car to prove electric can bring performance. Then the Model S which has showcases luxury electric travel and also an SUV based off of it, which is a huge segment of the car market these days. The sales from these cars have all been for the ultimate goal according to Musk, the Model 3. The name was supposed to be ‘Model E’ and make all Tesla models spell the word sexy, but Ford denied the rights to the name and threatened to sue. The car itself received plenty of adulation from the crowd when revealed and the looks were in keeping with recent models. Most notable was the lack of a grill, but apart from that the styling is what we have come to expect from the Silicon Valley company.
So what is the Model 3? It is a small executive saloon, a market dominated by ze Germans. Tesla hopes that its USP (All Electric) and Tesla branding will help it compete against the big boys. The model 3 will also host most Tesla features. Autopilot Driving system will come as standard and the 0-60 is to be 6 seconds on the base level model, because as Musk told the audience “Tesla don’t make slow cars”. The range is expected to be 215 miles (as a minimum) and if achieved would make it head and shoulders above rival all electric vehicles.
The power will come from an electric powertrain to the front wheels, and another model will have two engines on a four-wheel drive combination. Regenerative breaking is also part of the car. The technology was born in Formula 1 racing. The dominant Mercedes car for instance contains the tech which claims back electricity from braking and stores it, to use as a power boost at a later point. That car is on its way to a third championship already! So the Tesla can claim to contain one of the highest tech available to any four wheeled cars on the planet.
The price will make or break the car. The $35k price is likely to be higher when extras are included. Tax rebates will cut the price, but it is yet to be seen if the car will be truly ‘affordable’. Charging will always be an issue currently and in a car with no combustion added range anxiety will always be present. Musk promises that his supercharger infrastructure will double by 2017. With Tesla track record of late delivery, don’t expect the car to make it’s 2017 deadline, but if Tesla want this to be the Super car and planet saver making the car available ASAP will be key to its success.
This car is the biggest the company will ever make considering Tesla has never turned a profit and drained most of Elon Musk’s wealth. This car is special and certainly one for the history books, but time will tell whether that history will be a success or the end of Tesla.
And in case you weren’t convinced that Tesla cars were super cool, just watch this.