Electric cars have been around for a while but so far the market has been dominated by two groups of people: the extremely wealthy and eager early adopters. All that may be about to change with the release of the Model 3, an affordable alternative to the Model S and Model X.
Tesla Motors has scheduled the unveiling of the Model 3 on March 31. Priced at $35,000 before tax benefits, the Model 3 will compete in the same class as the Audi A4, BMW 3-series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Though $35,000 is still outside the price range of a significant portion of the general public, Tesla is hoping that, with government tax breaks and tax credits in place (which can result in savings of up to $8,000), the Model 3 can target the average car buyer and have mass-market appeal.
Central to the $35,000 price point is the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, where Tesla hopes to reduce the cost of designing and manufacturing lithium-ion batteries. But the factory has run into union problems and other issues, likely spelling delays for the Model 3 release. Like with Tesla models in the past, the announced release date is probably more of a ballpark estimate.
As far as features go, we shouldn’t expect the base version of the Model 3 to have the same bells and whistles as the Model X or Model S. That’s just not feasible at the $35,000 starting price. While self-driving capabilities are all the rage right now, the standard Model 3 probably won’t have an autopilot or summon feature. They could be available as upgrades, though, if you’re willing to spend a little more than $35K.
Tesla plans to start accepting $1,000 deposits for the Model 3 on March 31, and to start shipping out sometime in late 2017. The company is playing its cards close to the vest until then, revealing almost no firm details about the Model 3, such as 0-60 specs, gas mileage, or standard features, but we’ve got an idea of what you can expect and are here to set the odds!
Tesla Model 3 Odds:
Odds delivery is delayed into 2018: 7/13
Over/Under on number of pre-order deposits placed between March 31 and the end of 2016: 50,000
Odds that the line-ups to pre-order at Tesla stores are longer than the line-ups at Apple stores for the next iPhone: 300/1
Odds on which features from Models S and X will be included in the base Model 3:
Panoramic roof: 1/3
Adjustable suspension: 3/7
Auto-retracting door handles: 13/12
Insane Speed Mode: 49/1
Ludicrous Speed Mode: 49/1
Falcon Wing Doors: 49/1
Bioweapon Defense: 99/1
Over/Under on 0-60 acceleration time announced at the unveiling: 3.7 seconds
Over/Under on on EPA-estimated miles per charge: 190 miles
Spread of the predicted difference in price between the base and fully-loaded Model 3: $21,000
(Photo credit: Tesla Motors Inc. (Tesla Motors Inc.) [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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