Back in June of 2014, I made some predictions about what I thought the Tesla Model 3 would be like (Predicting the Tesla Model 3) and I feel I was wrong more than I was right, but guessing the future isn’t an exact science, and much of what I wrote was more about wish fulfillment than any rumours that were circling at the time.
I hoped it would have a base range of at least 300KM and at a stated starting range of 215 miles or 346KM, it beats that estimate. I didn’t think the base model would include any kind of sunroof, but the whole top is one giant piece of glass. I thought it would take 6.5 seconds to get to 60 miles per hour, but it will do it in 6 seconds or less. I thought it would have a touchscreen as large as the Model S, but they went a bit smaller for the Model 3.
I really like the Model 3. I stayed up to watch the unveiling at 11:30pm, watching the live stream in bed while Annie slept beside me. I woke her up for the unveiling at the end of the broadcast so she could see the car. At first, the fat lip front really threw me off, but we’d put a license plate on it anyways, so I’m not going to worry about it. Other than that small design weirdness, I think the car looks beautiful.
They say they’ve learned a great deal from the Model S and Model X production and have built in those lessons, and it is easy to see. I know that the initial event was one of two that Elon is planning on hosting about the car, the second being held closer to when the cars roll off the assembly line.
One of the biggest surprises for me was that the Model 3 is going to come with supercharger access for free and not as an option, even on the base model. That’s a really cool inclusion that I didn’t think they’d be able to do at the $35k price point. I thought lifetime access was going to be an additional cost, similar to how it was for early Model S users.
I also didn’t expect Tesla to make the price point they were talking about. With many of the competitors coming in a bit higher than the $35,000 starting point that Tesla was aiming for, I didn’t see how they could financially afford to compete at lower volumes than Nissan, Toyota and others. I still am not certain that it will be $35,000 Canadian as a base price as the current currency exchange says that $35,000 US is basically $45,000 Canadian.
The interior of the car is quite spartan though they have said that it isn’t complete yet and some details could change. I think the biggest change they’ll make will be to do some heads-up display for speed and whatnot as currently the speedometer is on the touch screen display off to the right of the steering wheel.
Of course, there are more than a few others that want this car as well. During the live unveiling, Elon Musk announced that they had passed 100,000 pre-orders. With people putting $1000 down to hold their place in line to purchase the final car. Since then, it has ballooned to over 350,000 pre-orders and growing. At this point, people will likely not have the car until closer to 2018 or 2019, even with increases in production that Tesla is trying to achieve in their factories.
For Annie and I, we aren’t in any rush to get another car yet, but by 2020, it will likely be time to be considering one, either to become a two-car family (yuck) or to replace our current car. I really hope to be able to purchase a Tesla Model 3 when that time comes, and I hope it is as good as I think it is…
Side note: I have a bit of a man-crush on Elon Musk and everything he is doing in the technology space. SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, and more… So I am not going to be rational about this car. I just hope I’m not blind to any technical, utilitarian or performance issues it might have. I can’t wait for real reviews!