Elon Musk hands over first 30 Tesla Model 3s

Posted July 29, 2017

Tesla has already sold more than 126,000 vehicles since 2008, according to estimates by WardsAuto, so not everyone who buys a Model 3 will be eligible.

The base model, with 220 mile range (354kms), and 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds, wills ell for $US35,000, while the model with a 310 mile range (498kms) and 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds, will retail for $US44,000 - reflecting the bigger battery. About half a million people have put down a thousand dollar deposit on the Model 3. After the initial 30 units that were delivered on Friday, hundreds more Model 3 electric vehicles will roll out in the coming months.

Tesla boss Elon Musk says the company's motoring business is a step closer to realising its aim of becoming a profitable, mass-market electric vehicle maker.

If Model 3 production can match Musk's goals, its price and technical capabilities could enable it to revolutionize modern transportation across the globe. Early cars will be rear-wheel drive to simplify production, with four-wheel drive coming as an option later.

Tesla Motors Inc. unveiled its $35,000 Model 3 sedan and delivered 30 of the vehicles to employees on Friday night. Tesla said Friday it has at least 500,000 advance deposits on the vehicle.

Unlike the Model S and Model X, however, owning a Tesla Model 3 won't grant you free access to the company's network of Supercharger rapid-charging stations. Also, there's a variable, speed sensitive power steering set-up, and the suspension system employs double wishbones at the front with an independent multi-link arrangement at the rear end.

Limits on the $7,500 USA tax credit for electric cars could also hurt demand.

The base Model 3 will face off against a fierce competitive set of entry-level luxury sedans from the likes of Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes.

In terms of range, you'll get 345km on a full charge.

"The rate of the Model 3's production ramp up has never been accomplished, even by high-volume automakers with far more experience", Karl Brauer, executive publisher for Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, said in an email.

Tesla's CEO nonetheless is standing by Model 3 production plans, including making 20,000 a month in December.

The Model 3's speed and gear selection will be shown in the top portion of this screen, with mapping and audio information in the middle, and climate control settings sitting at the bottom. The standard color, like the original Model T, is black. Those additional features include self-driving hardware and enhanced autopilot software.

Tesla is predicting that a fully self-driving feature will eventually be available for the Model 3.

Eighteen-inch wheels and tires are standard, with sport wheels and 19-inch all-season tires a $1,500 option.

"Everything we do at Tesla has to be handsome", Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhausen is quoted by CNN as saying. It'll have roughly 345km of range, a sub-6-second 0-60mph (97km/h) time, and cost an estimated circa $55,000 once it lands in Australia. "It's one thing to have a great vehicle, it's another thing to actually manufacture them, deliver them, and make a profit". We never saw the $35,000 base auto without the Premium Upgrades package, for example. Musk reiterated that they expect the dual motor all-wheel-drive version of the vehicle to become available later on - again in order to simplify the early production ramp up.