Thirteen years ago, Tesla was founded with the dream of introducing affordable electric cars to the roads of the world. However, following the launch of the Roadster in 2008, that dream looked to be so far from reality, especially as the vehicle brandished a price tag of $109,000 – hardly likely to compete with the sale of small petrol-fuelled hatchbacks. Well, just nine years later the US-based manufacturer looks to be back on track with its latest release.
This Friday will see the launch of the eagerly anticipated Tesla Model 3, a fully electric car costing just $35,000. The announcement was made by the company’s CEO Elon Musk, who took to Twitter to report that the latest design had “passed all regulatory requirements” and was “two weeks ahead of schedule”. The South African-born business magnate also revealed that the first 30 Model 3 customers would be receiving their cars at a special handover party later this month.
Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule. Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 3 July 2017
Since Telsa’s inception, the company has worked tirelessly to produce an electric car that could take the world by storm. The Model S, first made available in 2012, may have raced from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds, but with its $90,000 price tag it was considered a plaything for the fabulously wealthy. Sadly, the Model X, which hit showrooms in 2015, took Tesla bosses further away from their dream, with the full-sized crossover SUV costing over $100,000; however, the vehicle did prove more popular, selling an initial 30,000 units compared to just 12,000 for the S.
What Does the Model 3 Offer?
After years of effort, is now hoped that the Model 3, which was first announced in March 2016, will answer the prayers of Tesla bigwigs. Panasonic engineered 2170 lithium-ion battery cells will reportedly allow the car to hit 60mph in 5.3 seconds and travel 215 miles on a single charge, while all-wheel drive will be available on some models for an additional cost. At the time of its unveiling, Musk was adamant that customers would “not be able to buy a better car for $35,000, even with no options.”
However, considering the type of cars $35,000 can buy these days, this still seems rather steep. For example, an Audi A3 costs just $30,700, a BMW 3 Series is available for $33,150 and a Volvo S60 comes in at a mere $34,150. With such competition, it remains to be seen whether Tesla can tempt drivers away from the more traditionally-favoured luxury petrol and diesel-fueled cars and into the unfamiliar world of electric propulsion.