Tesla rolls out the ‘af­ford­able’ Model 3

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Northeast Jobs - WITH CHRIS FEBVRE,

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.

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