One of the biggest criticisms placed one electric vehicles is their high cost. Today that all changes as the first batch of Tesla’s more affordable and first-mass production vehicle, the Model 3. being delivered to the first 30 customers. If you want a fully tricked out Model S, you’re up fore the best part of $200k in Australia, but the Model 3 arrives at around the $50-60k mark, depending on options. The number of people who buy cars in that price range is massive and that now makes EV in reach of many Aussie families.
When it comes to performance, the Model 3 will pretty much destroy anything else at the price point in an acceleration race. 0-100km time is sub-6 seconds. While performance is certainly important and will definitely sell some customers, its the smarts of the car, in Autopilot, that really set itself apart from everything else on the road. The Model 3 will have the hardware necessary for Autopilot and you can choose to software enable it either from the time of purchase, or later for a fee. Being able to receive over the air updates means the capabilities of this autonomous vehicle will continue to improve over time, not something you can usually say about a vehicle purchase.
There are 2 variants of the Model 3, the standard and long range. Essentially they have different sized batteries and obviously the longer range version is a little more expensive. Thanks to the bigger battery the 0-100 times are slightly better on the larger battery version.
When I reviewed the Model S a year and half ago, Autopilot was a complete revolution and at that stage it was only capable of driving itself down the freeway. Now we’re talking about moving to level 4 and quickly to level 5 where you, the driver won’t be needed much longer as the complex array of cameras and sensors, layered with proprietary Tesla software enables the car to drive itself. Whatever you have to do to afford the Autopilot option, make it happen, it is absolutely worth the price of admission. While the rest of the industry chases a release date of 2020/2021, Tesla are delivering now.
In terms of range, you’ll get 345km on a full charge. Firstly this is plenty for day-to-day running, but for that weekend road trip, Telsa’s investment in their own Supercharger and destination charger network, will allow you travel pretty much anywhere you want along the east coast of Australia.
When it comes to running costs, day-to-day recharging will happen in your garage on a standard 240v outlet overnight, costing just a few dollars. If you’re living in the future, you’ll recharge for free via solar and battery storage. The other big aspect of vehicle ownership is servicing costs. Thanks to the dramatic simplification of an all-electric powertrain, servicing is required less often and there’s less components to service, making it far cheaper, something that should be accounted for in your purchasing calculations.
Today’s launch event for the Model 3 also provided the long awaited unveiling of the interior. Amazingly the car had more than 400,000 pre-orders before we really knew what’s on the inside. There’s a 15″ horizontal orientated touchscreen, as opposed to the vertically mounted 17″ touchscreen display of the Model S.
Tesla went to pretty extraordinary lengths to optimise aerodynamics on the Model S, evidenced by the retractable door handles. The Model 3 iterates on this with new patented aerodynamic wheels to lower drag and increase range.
So now the Modle 3 has launched, you may still be thinking the price tag is still out reach. Its important to understand this is just a milestone in EV vehicles in Australia, not the end of the story. The single biggest component is the cost of battery and as the technology improvements and mass-production continues to rapidly drive prices down, expect a $20-30K price to be a reality in the not too distance future.
If you didn’t pre-order until now, Musk says you’re in for a long wait, like end of 2018 long. Tesla will spend the second half of this year ramping up production and the ramp will be steep. Musk says he understands people want their cars now and says they’re working day and night to deliver it. He also said that all of the profit from Model S and Model X is being funneled into the production of the Model 3, so be in no doubt, the company is all in on the Model 3 being a success.
Now we have the full detail of what you’re buying with the Model 3. These details are only provided in US details (and prices) for now. So you’ll have to do your own conversions at this stage.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (Price – $35,000)
- Range: 220 miles (EPA estimated)
- Supercharging rate: 130 miles of range per 30 minutes
- Home charging rate: 30 miles of range per hour (240V outlet, 32A)
- Deliveries begin: Fall 2017
- 0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds
- Top speed: 130 mph
- 15” touchscreen display
- Dual zone climate control system
- FM/Internet streaming radio
- Textile seating
- Front center console with open storage and two USB ports
- Onboard maps and navigation
- Wi-Fi and LTE internet connectivity
- Keyless entry and remote climate control using the Tesla app
- Voice activated controls
- Bluetooth hands-free calling and media streaming
- 60/40 split folding rear seat to maximize cargo options
- Back-up camera
- Auto dimming rear-view mirror
- One-touch power windows throughout
- Power-adjustable side mirrors
- 12-volt power outlet
- Full LED exterior lighting
- Eight cameras, forward radar and twelve ultrasonic sensors enabling active safety technologies including collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking
- Six front row and two side curtain airbags
- Three-point safety belts with belt-reminders for driver and four passengers
- Two LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) attachments in second row
- Electronic stability and traction control
- Four-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic parking brake
- Child safety locks
- Anti-theft alarm system
- Tire pressure monitoring system
- Vehicle: 4 year, 50,000 mile limited warranty
- Battery warranty: 8 year, 100,000 mile (120,000 mile with Long Range Battery)
Long Range Battery – $9,000
- Range: 310 miles
- Supercharging rate: 170 miles of range per 30 minutes
- Home charging rate: 37 miles of range per hour (240V outlet, 40A)
- 0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds
- Top speed: 140 mph
- Deliveries begin: July 2017
- Solid Black: Standard
- Midnight Silver Metallic: $1,000
- Deep Blue Metallic: $1,000
- Silver Metallic: $1,000
- Pearl White Multi-Coat: $1,000
- Red Multi-Coat: $1,000
- 18” Aero: Standard
- 19” Sport: $1,500
Premium Upgrades Package – $5,000
Upgraded interior with additional features and premium materials.
- Premium heated seating and cabin materials throughout, including open pore wood décor and two rear USBs
- 12-way, power adjustable front seats, steering column and side mirrors, with custom driver profiles
- Premium audio system with more power, tweeters, surround speakers and subwoofer
- Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
- Auto dimming, power folding, heated side mirrors
- LED fog lamps
- Center console with covered storage and docking for two smartphones
Enhanced Autopilot – $5,000
Model 3 will match speed to traffic conditions, keep within a lane, automatically change lanes, transition from one freeway to another, exit the freeway and self-park at your destination.
Additional features will roll out over time through software updates.
Full Self-Driving Capability – $3,000 (requires Enhanced Autopilot)
In the future, Model 3 will be capable of conducting trips with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat.
This feature is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary by jurisdiction.
Dimensions & Weight
- Length: 184.8”
- Width: 72.8” (76.1” with mirrors folded)
- Height: 56.8”
- Wheelbase: 113.2”
- Track (wheel center): 62.2” front and rear
- Ground clearance: 5.5”
- Head room, standard: 39.6” front row, 37.7” second row
- Head room, glass roof: 40.3” front row, 37.7” second row
- Leg room: 42.7” front row, 35.2” second row
- Shoulder room: 56.3” front row, 54.0” second row
- Hip room: 53.4” front row, 52.4” second row
- Seating capacity: 5 adults
- Luggage capacity: 15 cubic feet
- Curb weight:
- 3549 lbs. (Model 3)
- 3814 lbs. (Model 3 Long Range)
- Weight distribution:
- 47% front, 53% rear (Model 3)
- 48% front, 52% rear (Model 3 Long Range)
- Hybrid steel/aluminum body
- Drag coefficient of 0.23
- Double wishbone, virtual steer axis front suspension with coil over twin-tube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar
- Independent multi-link rear suspension with twin-tube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar
- Variable ratio, speed sensitive electronic power steering
- Electromechanically boosted four wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution
- 18” Aero or 19” Sport wheels with all-season tires
- 240 volt NEMA 14-50 adapter
- 120 volt NEMA 5-15 adapter
- J1772 public charging adapter
- 20 foot mobile connector with storage bag
Pre-orders require a $1,500 deposit from tesla.com/en_AU/model3/reserve.