By Steve & Tamami Laser
Introducing an important new vehicle like this on “April Fool’s Eve” is risky business. However, Tesla is very serious about the all-new Model 3, billed as its “mass-market, affordable car.” The automaker staged the world premiere of the new mid-size hatchback at Tesla Motors design studio in Hawthorne, Calif.
Franz van Holzehausen, Chief Executive Designer for Tesla welcomed the huge crowd and introduced Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. Model 3 is called the next logical step of Tesla’s “secret master plan” and mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Tesla decided to eliminate unnecessary ornamentation, so the Model 3 has no grille. The bubble-like cabin is topped by huge glass panels. We think Tesla did a great job with the design that looks like the offspring of the larger Models S and X.
“The Model 3 is going to be an incredibly safe car,” said Musk. “We really believe that safety has to come first. The Model 3 will not only be five-star in average it will be five-star in every category.”
What about performance? “Even the base Model 3 will do 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds,” Musk claimed. “At Tesla we don’t make slow cars. And of course there will be versions of the Model 3 that go much faster. In terms of range, the range will be at least an EPA rating of 215 miles. I want to emphasize these are minimum numbers, we hope to exceed them.”
Watch Elon Musk introduce the new Model 3 at Tesla Motors’ design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. (video: Tesla)
Model 3 is designed to provide comfortable seating for five adults. “The challenge obviously with building a smaller car is, how do you still make it comfortable with a bunch of people inside? There are two important design steps we did with the Model 3 to achieve that. We moved the front seats forward and compressed the instrument panel. You’re sitting a little further forward, it actually feels great. That’s what gives you the legroom to have five adults, so first and second row have plenty of legroom.”
“The rear roof area is actually one continuous pane of glass,” he said. “The reason that’s great is it gives you amazing headroom and a feeling of openness. It’s the best roominess of any car in this size. Just like the Model S it has front and rear trunks. It has more cargo capacity than any gasoline car of the same external dimensions. Can you fit a seven-foot-long surfboard on the inside? The answer is yes.”
The dashboard is a remarkably simple affair with its slim design seen in this prototype. The center touchscreen is even bigger than the one in the Model S. Situated in “landscape” fashion, it almost looks too big for the car.
“All Model 3s will come standard with Autopilot hardware, and all autopilot safety features will be present in every car. You don’t need to buy an option, the autopilot safety features will always be there,” said Musk.
“All Model 3s will come with Supercharging standard,” Musk added. “The reason supercharging is very important as many of you know is that it gives you freedom of travel. We’re now at the point where we’ve built out over 3,600 Superchargers worldwide and about the same number of destination chargers.”
“By the end of next year, we will double the number of superchargers and quadruple the nuber of destination chargers,” he said. “You will be able to go virtually anywhere. And because the on-board charger is able to adapt to any country’s voltage and amperage, anywhere you go in the world, if there’s electricity, you can charge.”
How is Tesla going to make these cars? “We need to achieve high-volume production,” Musk said. “This is in two parts. First there is the vehicle factory. Our Fremont factory has in the past made almost 500,000 cars a year. So we’re confident that Tesla can achieve that number in the future in terms of vehicle production.”
What about batteries? “In order to produce half a million cars a year, we basically need to absorb the entire world’s lithium-ion production,” he said. “That’s why we are building the Gigafactory. To give you a sense of scale, the Gigafactory will actually have the largest footprint of any building of any kind. Volumetrically it will only be second to the Boeing factory in Washington. It will produce more lithium ion batteries than all other factories in the world combined. It’s a combination of high volume with the most advanced technology is what enables us to make the Model 3.”
What about the price? “In terms of price, it will be $35,000,” he claimed. “And I want to emphasize that even if you buy no options at all, this will be an amazing car. You will not be able to buy a better car for $35,000 or even close, even if you get no options.”
If Tesla is able to maintain the low starting price, it should have little difficulty finding buyers. It was off to a great start on the first day. “This is kind of crazy, but I just learned that the total number of orders for the Model 3 this past 24 hours have now passed 115,000,” Musk announced.
For more information visit Tesla Motors.
Model 3 prices, features, specifications and launch dates are subject to change without notice by the automaker.
News source, photos and video from Tesla Motors.
Story © 2016 CarNichiWa.com