On March 31, 2016, Tesla Motors unveiled the Model 3, the third step in a not-so-secret “Master Plan”, to which Elon Musk has referred to on many occasions. The first step was the Roadster, a low volume, high-priced sports car. The second step was the higher volume, lower-priced Model S and Model X. But the goal of the company has always been to make a difference with a high volume and affordable electric car — the Model 3.
What Makes This Different?
Who would stay up late at night to watch a live internet broadcast of the unveiling of a new car? Moreover, who would plunk down a deposit to reserve a vehicle before it has even launched? Even the casual observer noticed that something different was happening with the Model 3.
First, the reveal didn’t occur during an auto show, but at an exclusive, invitation only, Tesla event. Second, was social media. Tesla Motors has a Facebook following of almost 1.4 million people and a Twitter following of about one million @TeslaMotors and over 3.6 million @ElonMusk. This provided an excellent base from which to publicize the Model 3 reveal. To add to the anticipation, the company took a page from the Apple play-book, allowing in-person pre-orders of the vehicle in stores before reservations could be made on-line, which meant line-ups.
However, the real difference isn’t that Tesla makes cars and not iPhones, nor that it makes electric cars. and not gas cars. The real difference is that in just a few days, over a quarter million people have voted with their deposits to support what Tesla represents. It’s a statement of belief that Tesla is doing the right thing, which, if traced back to Tesla’s mission, is: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
This mission resonates with people around the world. Tesla’s focus on producing some of the world’s best vehicles has proven that electric transportation can be practical, efficient and appealing. The commitment to build two global charging networks to support their vehicles, Tesla Supercharger and Tesla Destination, is nothing short of brilliant. Tesla is also building an enormous battery factory in Nevada, which will supply the massive quantity of batteries needed to build its target of 500,000 electric vehicles per year.
All of these things make Tesla Motors a different kind of auto-maker. What some critics will raise as a shortcoming — offering only a small line-up of zero-emission electric vehicles — could actually be the company’s biggest advantage. There is a singular focus and steadfast commitment to the product, technology and ultimate mission of the company that no other auto-maker embraces.
What makes the Model 3 so special?
Now that the vehicle has been revealed, we know more about appearance, performance and range. But there are still more details to come. So reservation holders and those still on the fence, can anticipate “Part-2” of the Model 3 reveal sometime before the target production launch at the end of 2017. For now, this is what we know:
- Have a total range at least 344 km
- Accelerate 0-100 km/h in 6 seconds
- Offer seating for 5 adults
- Provide superior cargo handling with front and rear trunks
- Include Supercharging capability
- Include Autopilot hardware and safety features
- Have a starting price of $35,000 USD (Canadian Price hasn’t been disclosed)
As for the design, the vehicle appears to be as beautifully sculpted as the Model S. While watching one of the live streams of the unveil event, I was initially unsure about the lines from certain angles. But after viewing several more videos and numerous photos from the event, the more I saw, the more I liked. Why was I among the hordes of streamers bogging down the internet that night? Put simply, I believe that Tesla is changing the world. I wanted to be a part of it. And if I could, I wanted to help.
Until the vehicle has been finalized, we won’t know which features will make it into production:
- Will it still have an all glass panoramic roof for superior headroom?
- Will it retain the controversial floating 15″ centre-mounted user interface?
- Will it achieve the promised 5-star safety rating in all categories?
Of course, we will all have to decide for ourselves about appearance. But at this stage, it certainly seems that Tesla has designed another home-run. I didn’t wait to place my deposit. Did you?