Well, the hype about this car was huge and comprehensive and finally, the waiting game has ended. Tesla just delivered the first Model 3 sedan and the production of the rest is in the full swing. If you recall the preorder of the Model 3 started in early 2016 and now everyone who has been counting days until it arrived can take a breath because their brand new vehicle is on the way. Besides the good new for everyone who pre ordered their Model 3, there is some new good news for everyone else. We can now finally answer some of the questions that remained unknown before and report back some first impressions of the car. Let’s start from the business end.
Tesla Model 3 Price
The pricing for the Tesla Model 3 starts at $35.000 which is the price tag before federal or state incentives which can hugely lower the end the price of the car. Its range is 220 miles, but there is something for those wanting more and it comes in the form of the Long Range edition. It will, of course, cost you additionally ($9.000 to the price to be exact) but it will add 90 miles to the tank, meaning if you pay $44.000 you will go 310 miles on a single charge. If you recall Musk promised a few configurations of the Model 3 that will be available initially and he delivered. As of now, the Long Range car was available at launch with rest coming pretty soon. You will be able to choose six colors – black is standard, but there are two silvers options, a blue, a red and a white if you’re willing to spend additional $1.000. You can also opt for 19-inch wheels ($1.500) and even pay another $5.000 for the Premium Upgrades package which will offer you power-adjustable and heated seats, a better sound system, LED lighting and a tinted glass roof.
If you thought that the spending spree is over you couldn’t be wrong. If you want the famous Tesla Autopilot (allows advanced driver assistance on the highway and well-marked back roads) you will have to add another $5.000 to the overall price. And yet again that is not all. Musk offers you an option to add extra sensors to enable future full autonomy when Tesla actually finishes developing it, and for a “small” fee of $3.000. Well isn’t that nice of him?! With all of this ticked off in the order menu, you end up with a sum of $59.500. Yes, it looked like there will be a lot more but the Model 3 is actually a lot cheaper than any Model S available now.
Now the performance part. The Tesla Model 3 is capable of accelerating to 60 MPH in just 5.6 seconds and it will continue to a top speed of 130 MPH. The Long Range edition is a little quicker with 5.1 seconds sprint to 60 MPH and the top speed rising to a modest 140 MPH. It is hardly anything when you compare the Model 3 with the Model S P100D’s and its sprint from 0-60 MPH that takes just 2.4 seconds. You have to take into consideration that this is still an EV and that acceleration is instant when you press the gas pedal, with another fact – this is a sedan, not a sports car.
Half of the numbers we wrote about above can tell you only one side of the story. The other side hides behind the sheer numbers, consumption or acceleration. The other side is the feel of the car, the look outside and inside, the interior comfort and accessibility and lots, lots more. Here it goes. When you first approach the car it automatically unlocks based on your proximity to it and it connects to your phone using Bluetooth LE meaning you actually do not have a physical key. The door handles are manual and you have to push them back to swing them out. When you eventually get inside you are graced with Premium seats which are low-slung and comfortable, and are power-adjustable using traditional controls, but that is all of the traditional that this car has. When you want to adjust the steering wheel or the side mirrors you use the two thumbwheels situated in the spokes of the steering wheel that can be rolled up or down or pushed from side-to-side. Neat! When adjusting the side mirrors the left wheel controls the left mirror, the right one controls the right. All of these options, and much more, are situated in the settings section on the 15-inch touchscreen.
With this Musk managed to bring in a very intuitive solution that greatly reduces the number of physical controls and adds a whole lote to the overall purity of the interior and easiness (as well as low costs) when manufacturing it. The company even made the air vents, which run the full width of the dashboard, adjusted by the same 15-inch touchscreen.
The Tesla Model 3 is somewhat smaller than Model S but it does not give that feeling when you climb aboard. It is actually very spacious and it drives just like the rest of same class vehicles. It is sharp on the throttle and it is fairly easy to control in dense traffic, even on the straights and in the corners it is planted to the ground and firm. In part that is thanks to its battery pack back which is situated down low. The steering is firm and responsive and it is very easy to get used to, but one thing is not that easy to get used to, though, and it’s the HUD display, most of us expect a traditional speedometer or the like behind the wheel.
Tesla Model 3 cargo space
Although the passengers do not classify as cargo, we must admit that most were concerned with the headroom space in the rear bench as well as the cargo space in the trunk. Thankfully Tesla managed to resolve those issues cleverly by adding a nothing but glass over your head in the back instead of traditional roof liner. Because of that glass in the rear most were concerned about the trunk lid and space. We are happy to report that there are no problems there because of the trunk, though shallow, opens up high and gets well out of the way. There’s actually a very large trunk opening and a plenty-deep trunk.
As far as we managed to find out, mostly thanks to Mr. Musk, Tesla received “somewhere over a half-million reservation” and that magic 500.000 number also happens to be the rate of annual production Musk hopes to achieve for the Model 3. The Model 3 will be built at the company’s Fremont factory along with Tesla’s Model S and X. We also found out that the overall plan is to produce somewhere around 5.000 Model 3 sedans weekly. The Model 3’s creator stated that “It’s an amazing car”, and added, “but we’re going to go through at least six months now of manufacturing hell”. We can only wish them all the best and a smooth work from now on because setbacks are the least thing anyone would want right about now. That is why Musk made sure that everything from the simplification of the interior to the number of connections on the coolant system was minimized, all with the intent of making the car simple, fast and cheap to build.