Tesla’s Model 3: Here are 5 things we now know15 February 2016
Originally published on marketwatch.com by Claudia Assis on February 11 2016 – http://www.marketwatch.com/story/teslas-model-3-here-are-5-things-we-now-know-2016-02-11
Tesla Motors Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk kept certain information under wraps when he talked about the Model 3, including whether Tesla will unveil a prototype rather than just drawings of the car later this month.
But here’s what we know so far about the mass-market car that Tesla has in the wings:
The Model 3 is Tesla’s attempt to bring electric vehicles to the masses. Tesla recently confirmed the car will cost US$35,000 before any federal and state incentives.
Around that price point, the Model 3 will have several competitors. General Motors Co. plans to launch the Chevy Bolt around US$37,500, also before incentives, at the end of this year — a full year ahead of the Model 3, if Tesla keeps its timeline.
On the call, however, Musk aimed higher for Model 3 competitors. The real rivals are the more luxury electric models that BMW and Volkswagen AG’s Audi offer, he said.
Reservations coming soon
Those who plan to reserve the car will have to pony up US$1,000. Reservations start March 31 at Tesla stores (presumably, Tesla fans will line up just like Apple Inc.’s fans) and April 1 online, Musk tweeted late Tuesday. On the call following fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, Musk said Tesla expects the car to be “really well-received” and confirmed production and delivery at the end of 2017.
It will be easier to build than the Model X
Musk said that, being a sedan, the Model 3 will be less complex to build than the Model X (and those falcon wings). Unlike the Model S, Tesla’s first fully in-house made car, the Model 3 will be designed “for ease of manufacturing,” Musk said on the call. Tesla also expects economies of scale and design improvements for the Model 3.
Just don’t expect luxury trims right off
In a departure from the way Tesla did things with the Model S and Model X, the company won’t start off offering higher-end trims with the Model 3. It made sense to do so with the first two models, Musk said, since Tesla had to pay back the investment in all the factory retooling, but not so with the Model 3.
Tesla caught a lot of flak when the Model X fully loaded “signature” series started at $132,000 without any extras. Tesla later started offering cheaper versions.
‘Gigafactory’ and Model 3
Tesla needs its “gigafactory,” its battery factory under construction outside Reno, Nev., to be up and running to provide as many batteries for the Model 3. Analysts asked whether the gigafactory was a constraint for the mass-market car, and Musk said no. The factory is on track to start battery-cell production by the end of this year.