Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple months, you have probably heard that Tesla is releasing details on the fourth model in their car lineup at the end of this month. Tesla’s referring to it as the Model 3. The car will go into production in late 2017 and will cost $35,000 before tax incentives. This will be Tesla’s first car that appeals to a larger market price point and will help Tesla in reaching their goal of producing 500,000 cars by 2020.
So what do we already know?
As far as the look of the car goes, it’s expected to be a sedan, similar to the Model S that is already on the road. Tesla has done a great job keeping the design under wraps. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, stated at an event in late 2015 that the Model 3 will be roughly 20% smaller then the Model S. We probably wont see the distinctive falcon wing doors that the Model X offers. The biggest question I have had regarding the Model 3 is how long will the charge last? The base line Model S has a minimum range of 240 miles per charge. I imagine the Model 3 wont go quite that far due to the smaller battery to keep the cost low. Tesla has to provide a battery that offers enough mileage per charge where the driver wont get range anxiety every time they get in the car. Musk has been quoted saying that “200 miles should be the minimum range for any electric car.”
On February 10th, Musk stated that Tesla will be holding back on some of the features offered in the Model S in order to bring the car to market quicker. “In retrospect, it would have been better to do fewer things with the first version of the Model X, and then roll in new technologies over time” Musk said during a Tesla conference. It’s safe to say we probably wont be seeing the notorious 17” screen in the center console found in the Model S and X. Unfortunately, some of Tesla’s most talked about features cost thousands of dollars, making them impractical for a moderately priced car. For example, Ludacris mode that allows the Model S to go 0 to 60 in just 2.8 seconds, costs an additional $10,000 dollars and the autopilot feature adds $3,000. These two features alone cost almost half of what the Model 3 will be priced at after tax incentives.
At the $35,000 price point, the Model 3 will cost roughly half of what a baseline Model S costs. Fortunately, those interested in purchasing a Tesla will receive a $7,500 tax deduction, bringing the price down to $27,500. Some states like Arizona, Delaware and Tennessee offer additional $2,500 credit. According to Kelly Blue Book, the average price of cars coming into market now are $34,000, so Tesla is coming it at the perfect price point. Tesla is starting to take preorders for the Model 3 April 1st (not an April Fools joke) with a down payment of $1000. Even if you are the one of the first to throw down a payment towards a Model 3, increasing production takes a while so it could easily be early 2018 until you lay eyes on your Model 3. Musk has always been a little overly optimistic about when Tesla products will be ready for release.