The Wait for the Tesla Model 3 Is Nearly Over

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The wait is over… well, almost. Over the weekend, Elon Musk shared images on Twitter of the first Tesla Model 3 to roll off of the production line. (And yes, the car is now his. This isn’t because, as Tesla’s owner, he gets first dibs. The person who paid a full deposit, granting himself rights to the very first car, actually gifted those rights to Musk as a 46th birthday present!)

This is the beginning of an extremely important six to twelve months in the history of the company. The Model 3 stands out from the rest of Tesla’s lineup because it’s their first mass-market vehicle. It’s an electric (obviously) sedan that goes on sale at the end of this month. It’s going to cost $35,000, which will make it the cheapest Tesla car on the market. In fact, its starting price is less than half that of the Model S, which will be their second cheapest model.

 

Some remain skeptical about the smoothness of the production process for the Model 3, due to some of the problems that Tesla have had in the past. Their launches for both the Model S sedan and the Model X SUV suffered delays in production; there were also some regulatory and quality issues that slowed things down. However, Musk recently confirmed that the Model 3 got the regulatory nod two weeks ahead of schedule, so hopefully it will be smooth sailing! (Or, at least, smoother sailing.)

It’s worth noting, however, that though the Model S did have some problems during its opening weeks of production, Tesla did eventually exceed initial expectations, delivering 22,442 units in its first year (2013) as opposed to the 22,000 units they had promised. While this may be seen as a good reason to be a little more optimistic about the production of the Model 3, Tesla have missed their expectations in the following years – even if only slightly.

While the Model X was certainly plagued by quality problems, with misaligned panels, door and seat issues, and software glitches being reported by consumers, these problems were quickly addressed. Seeing as the Model X is currently the fourth best-selling luxury SUV in the United States, their reputation can’t have been damaged too much. Despite some hiccups, Tesla ultimately delivery on quality.

Pre-order numbers for the Model 3 are looking strong. Model 3 deposits cost $1000 each, and Tesla have confirmed that they’ve taken in around half a billion dollars worth of deposits. Some quick math tells us that this means around half a million Model 3s have been pre-ordered – all of which they’re hoping to deliver by late 2018 or 2019, although nothing has been confirmed yet. Let’s hope they’re working with a good vehicle transport interstate company to ensure speed and a lack of blemishes on those beautiful bodies! (Yes, the Model 3 is a gorgeous thing, in case you haven’t seen it yet.)

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The Model 3 doesn’t just mark an important step in Tesla’s business history. It also marks an extremely important and telling step in the electric car industry at large. As someone who, presumably, has an interest in cars and has, thus, at least heard of electric cars, you probably don’t need to read another rant about how important it is to protect our environment. In fact, the increase in interest and sales of electric cars seems to suggest that there are fewer people than ever who need to hear such a rant! More people are taking notice and are making moves to invest in more environmentally-friendly products.

When it comes to electric cars, however, this has been somewhat prohibitive. Tesla are the undisputed leaders of this field, but the prices of their cars have put a few people off (which isn’t to suggest that they’re not worth the price; they are very luxurious, after all). But after a few years of proving to the world that electric cars can be luxurious, sexy, and extremely good when it comes to performance, Tesla have now made the move towards affordable versions of their cars – without sacrificing the luscious qualities that made people really take notice of the company in the first place.

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How well the Model 3 does, considering its mass-market status, is going to have profound implications on the future of electric car production and investment in the decades to come.

The current production projections seem fairly reasonable in the next couple of months, but the numbers are really going to ramp up. After handing over thirty cars at a launch celebration on the 28th of July (that’s the plan, anyway), August will see a hundred cars being produced. September will bring 1,500 cars. After that, the rate of production will soar, with Musk claiming that 20,000 cars a month by December. This is an ambitious schedule; it will more than double Tesla’s current total production rate by the end of the year, and will quintuple it by the end of 2018. If these goals are met, than Tesla will be building more electric cars in 2018 than all other car manufacturers did in 2016 combined.

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Perhaps what’s surprising about all of this is that a full list of specifications for the Model 3 still hasn’t been released by Tesla. Still, we do have some information, and what we’re seeing so far is certainly pretty impressive.

The Model 3 can go from 0 to 60mph in 5.6 seconds – not bad for a car with the price tag it has at all. In fact, the base model BMW 3 Series, as well as the Mercedes-Benz C Class, can’t boat such acceleration, and they’re the leading cars in the compact luxury field! It will have two trunks with a combined storage space of about 14 cubic feet. (The rear seats will fold down if you need more room!) This is less space than the Model S – but, hey, that price! The current estimate when it comes to mileage from a single full charge is at least 215 miles. This was confirmed last year, but Musk stated that they would be aiming for even more – so that may have improved in time for the Model 3’s release later this month!

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