Almost 400,000 pre-orders later and the very first Tesla Model 3 has rolled off the production line.
Described as the first ‘affordable’ electric car, the Model 3 starts at around £35,000, offers a range of 215 miles and a five-star safety rating.
While it is by no means the most expensive Tesla available it is by far and away the most ambitious car Tesla has ever embarked upon for one simple reason: Scale.
To even hope of delivering on the number of pre-orders that have been placed Tesla will need to build Model 3′s at a rate that no electric car has ever been built before.
Unsurprisingly, despite the staggering task ahead of it, Elon Musk believes that Tesla’s new factory along with its scaled production cycle will easily meet the task.
Investors, and the industry are sadly not as optimistic. The task ahead is so great that Tesla’s stock price has taken a considerable hit.
However if Tesla does pull this off, the Model 3 will become one of the most important vehicles of the 21st century showing that for the first time, electric cars can be built to a high-standard in extremely high volumes.
Everything you need to know about Model 3
The Model 3 is Tesla’s cheapest car available, but don’t let that price tag fool you.
Unlike other manufacturers who value technology at a premium, Tesla’s Model 3 embraces technology as a means of saving money, not grabbing it.
A huge 15-inch touchscreen on the centre console controls everything on the car, from acting as the speedometer for the driver to showing music controls for passengers.
Not only does this make mass-producing the car far easier (you literally have a wheel and a big screen) but it also allows the conversion from left to right-hand drive become much more seamless.
Next up is the air conditioning. You’ll notice a complete lack of AC vents, and that’s because it’s hidden, integrated into the dashboard as thin slits. This again not only reduces moving parts but, according to Tesla, allows you to better manage the climate for both driver and passenger.
We know that the Model 3 base version will give you 215 miles of range with a 0-60mph time of under six seconds. That’s less than the Model S or Model X but understandable when you consider that this is a smaller, and cheaper car.
That’s where the cost-cutting ends though. The Model 3 supports ultra-fast charging through Tesla’s now enviable Supercharger network and will come with the technology needed to enable Autopilot.
Initial orders will be limited to two per person and the options available for the car will again be fairly limited in order to help Tesla keep up with demand.
According to Tesla’s site deliveries for cars reserved now will begin in mid to late-2018.
So when will you see Model 3′s appearing in the UK? We’ve asked Tesla for something more concrete on this but judging from Tesla’s own website the line is that North America will start getting deliveries first and then it will head eastward as production ramps up allowing for right-hand drive vehicles to start delivering to the UK.
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