Tesla rolls out the ‘affordable’ Model 3
TESLA have rolled out their long promised affordable electric car, the Model 3, to its first 30 customers - all employees of Tesla - at a company party last Friday night.
But supply issues and other manufacturing constraints could make it difficult for Tesla to reach its target of making 500,000 cars by next year.
“We’re going to go through at least six months of manufacturing hell,” CEO of Tesla Elon Musk said last Friday at Tesla’s Fremont factory. “It’s going to be quite a challenge to build this car.”
With a base price tag of $35,000 (U.S) and a range of up to 498 kilometres (in the high bracket loadouts) before the need to recharge, the Model 3 opens Tesla up to a much broader market of customers, bringing the company into the mainstream automotive market.
Already, 500,000 people worldwide have put down a deposit of $1000 or more to reserve a Model 3, but customers in the U.S could be required to wait until 2018.
Meanwhile, customers requiring a right hand drive model, such as in Australia, will need to wait until 2019 before receiving their car.
Nonetheless, it’s exciting times for electric car enthusiasts, and for Tesla, it’s a big step further to completing one of their long term goals.
In 2006, Mr. Musk declared the company’s aim to supply “affordably priced family cars”.
“It was never our goal to make expensive cars. We wanted to make a car everyone could buy,” Mr. Musk said. “If you’re trying to make a difference in the world, you also need to make cars people can afford.”
While Tesla’s egalitarian aims are certainly commendable, there are some questions about whether the market will respond to the Model 3 with enough enthusiasm to make it a commercial success.
With the global market shifting toward SUVs, including all electric SUVs, the compact Model 3 may not appeal to enough buyers.
That, along with concerns about manufacturing delays cooling buyers eagerness, has raised doubts for Karl Brauer, executive publisher for Cox Automotive.
“There are more reasons to think that it won’t be successful than it will.” Mr Brauer said.
But Mr. Musk is confident in his company’s product, stating that Tesla has worked hard to make the Model 3 simpler and cheaper than previous, high- end and more exclusive models.
The entry price Model 3 will have a range of 322 kilometres and come in standard black, while other colours or increased range will cost customers more.
Whether the Model 3 becomes a commercial success or not, Tesla has done some remarkable work in the electric vehicle industry, and the Model 3 seems ready to set the bar for all affordable electric cars to come.
NEW SPARK: The Model 3 is Tesla’s first foray into the realm of affordable electric cars.