In a surprise announcement late this week Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors
made a splash by announcing he'll be offering online sales ONLY of the Model 3 and closing its retail stores! You'll have 1 week or 1000 miles which ever comes first to test drive the car. If you hate it you can walk away no questions asked with a full refund.
Musk has found a way to cut costs and offer its entry model at an affordable 35k with delivery in 2 to 4 weeks. The already lower optioned car is losing the maps feature upgradeable for an extra fee.
The lower cost, mass production, all electric vehicle went on sale starting at an affordable $35,000. Orders are expected to be filled in about 15-18 months which apparently has lead some 60,000 people to cancel their orders!
As a base mode, its features, while modest compared to the many upgrades available, still offer a clean and appealing package. Some of these include:
onboard maps and navigation, Wi-Fi and LTE internet, connectivityKeyless entry and remote climate control using the Tesla appVoice to name a few. The interior is best described as minimalist but not in cheap, low end sort of way. As seen below, it appears well crafted and stylishly uncluttered.
"Wired" put together a nice video of Tesla's electric car history including Model 3:
The standard battery range is 220 miles. At home, it will charge at a rate of 30 miles of range per hour. The model 3 has respectable acceleration going from
0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds with a top speed of 130 mph. It's quite an attractive vehicle.
While Model 3's appeal is undeniable, Tesla has some hurdles to clear in order to meet demand of 500 k cars. Its factory will be manufacturing 3 different models simultaneously for the first time. This can prove to be a logistical nightmare especially since parts for the Model 3 are mainly foreign. Additionally, its workers are among the highest injured in the entire industry. They are also the lowest paid of all U.S. auto makers and that could brew a labor dispute in the coming months. These are all interesting speed bumps on the road to full speed production. Only time will tell if the sun will set on a man driven by battery power alone.