After six thousand years of hype, speculation and anticipation the very first Tesla Model 3 owners have finally taken delivery of their vehicles. Fans are already calling the event a “historic landmark,” and while I’m not sure we need to go that far, it’s certainly an interesting moment in automobiles.
As you’ve probably heard, the Model 3 is the “everyman Tesla”, a five-passenger sedan with tentative specs that include a 215-mile range, a sub 6-second 0 to 60 time, hardware for autopilot autonomous operation, supercharging capability, and a price point of $35,000.
And as you may recall, Tesla whipped up a nice little money grab and marketing move in one fell swoop by offering Model 3 pre-orders for refundable $1,000 deposits to anybody who wanted one back in the spring of 2016 . Right around the same time, drivable prototypes of the vehicle were trotted out for the press (myself included) and the company’s stock prices soared.
But since then, customers and hopefuls haven’t had much luck getting their big question answered: “Where are our cars, Elon?” As of earlier this week, all anybody outside the company seems to know is that mass-distribution probably isn’t happening until 2018.
As I write this the first 30 reservations, all held by Tesla employees, are being fulfilled at a big party at Tesla’s facility in Fremont, California. In addition to that, Musk confirmed that the car will actually ship in two trim levels:
Standard Model 3
- $35,000 starting price
- 220 mile range
- 0-60 in 5.6 seconds
- 130 mph top speed
- Supercharging rate: 130 miles in 30 minutes
- Home charging rate: 30 miles of range per hour (240V outlet, 32A)
Long Range Model 3
- $44,000 starting price
- 310 mile range
- 0 to 60 in 5.1 seconds
- 140 mph top speed
- Supercharging rate: 170 miles in 30 minutes
- Home charging rate: 37 miles of range per hour (240V outlet, 40A)
Shortly after the presentation, Tesla’s website was updated to include a fairly comprehensive breakdown of the Model 3’s options and features list:
- Solid Black: Standard
- Midnight Silver Metallic: $1,000
- Deep Blue Metallic: $1,000
- Silver Metallic: $1,000
- Pearl White Multi-Coat: $1,000
- Red Multi-Coat: $1,000
- 18” Aero: Standard
- 19” Sport: $1,500
Premium Upgrades Package - $5,000
Upgraded interior with additional features and premium materials.
- Premium heated seating and cabin materials throughout, including open pore wood décor and two rear USBs
- 12-way, power adjustable front seats, steering column and side mirrors, with custom driver profiles
- Premium audio system with more power, tweeters, surround speakers and subwoofer
- Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
- Auto dimming, power folding, heated side mirrors
- LED fog lamps
- Center console with covered storage and docking for two smartphones
Enhanced Autopilot - $5,000
Model 3 will match speed to traffic conditions, keep within a lane, automatically change lanes, transition from one freeway to another, exit the freeway and self-park at your destination.
Additional features will roll out over time through software updates.
Full Self-Driving Capability - $3,000 (requires Enhanced Autopilot)
In the future, Model 3 will be capable of conducting trips with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat.
This feature is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary by jurisdiction.
Dimensions & Weight
- Length: 184.8”
- Width: 72.8” (76.1” with mirrors folded)
- Height: 56.8”
- Wheelbase: 113.2”
- Track (wheel center): 62.2” front and rear
- Ground clearance: 5.5”
- Head room, standard: 39.6” front row, 37.7” second row
- Head room, glass roof: 40.3” front row, 37.7” second row
- Leg room: 42.7” front row, 35.2” second row
- Shoulder room: 56.3” front row, 54.0” second row
- Hip room: 53.4” front row, 52.4” second row
- Seating capacity: 5 adults
- Luggage capacity: 15 cubic feet
- Curb weight:
- 3549 lbs. (Model 3)3814 lbs. (Model 3 Long Range)
- Weight distribution:
- 47% front, 53% rear (Model 3)48% front, 52% rear (Model 3 Long Range)
As to that pesky question of when the “everypeople” this car is supposedly designed for will actually be getting it, Musk didn’t offer much beyond “Fall 2017,” his condolences and a plea to “keep going through hell” with him. Production hell, that is.
“[The] first and foremost [concern] of engineering the car was safety,” Musk said at tonight’s event. The second was apparently production. “Frankly, we’re going to be in production hell,” he continued. “That’s going to be where we are for six months or longer.”
That “hell” he’s referring to is Tesla’s Gigafactory, which several presenters at tonight’s event were sure to mention, “is the second-largest footprint building in the world.”
Musk mused that the facility would be turnout out “half a million” Model 3s and 100,000 Model Ss and Xs, but did not specify a timetable. He did detail that the Model 3 uses “10,000 unique parts” and indicated that his supply chain was complex, which, sure. Any car construction operation takes a lot of logistical legwork.
Basically, Tesla is “building [Model 3s] as fast as we can,” but as a consolation prize, Musk did claim that by the end of next year there will be “three times as many superchargers as there are today.” though he did not specify where.
Tesla has been coy about letting journalists drive the Model 3 in its current state, we certainly haven’t been invited, but Leilani Münter says the Model 3 is “FABULOUS”. So it’s got that going for it, which is nice.