Tesla's mass-market model is finally out and being delivered to customers across North America. The Model 3 slots in below the Model S and X as the entry-level model, competing with the likes of BMW's 3 series.
The Model 3 will be priced at around US $35,000, making it the most affordable offering from Tesla yet. To cope with the extra demand that the 3 will undoubtedly have as a result, Tesla is planning on a production plan that is targeting around a 100,000 cars made annually, or around 2000 per week. That price also means the Model 3 will enjoy more sales in other regions of the world including Asia, which has largely been left out of the high-end electric car craze. Some might even make it into Bangladesh, considering the latest proposed budget is extremely friendly towards the import of electric vehicles.
What about the specs? Unlike the huge amount of options for the Model S, the 3 receives relatively fewer goodies, a tactic no doubt meant to lower cost. The interior is completely devoid of buttons, toggle switches, visible vents and gauges – all functions of the car are controlled by a huge 15-inch display in the middle of the dash. The lithium ion battery pack delivers 350 km of range on full charge, while the car has traditional Tesla acceleration – 100 km/h takes just 5.6 seconds, with a top speed of 210 km/h. Unlike the adjustable air suspension in the Model S, the 3 gets conventional springs and dampers, and they've seen fit to get rid of the motor-generator unit for the front wheels as well, rendering the Model 3 rear-wheel-drive only.
The 3 is the weakest in the looks department, as the high roofline and slab-sided design is a big departure from the Model S' taut, handsome lines. It's a design that maximises interior space and minimises drag, and for what it is, it somehow works. For the style conscious, there's always the S and X, provided they're willing to pay the much higher price.
The Model 3 has been a long time coming, and if Tesla are able to scale up production, we might be one step closer to displacing petrol power in favour of electrics. That makes the 3 a hugely significant car, not just for the rest of the world, but for Bangladesh as well.