Tesla is about to unveil the affordable and practical Model 3 in two months' time, and it can be considered as the carmaker's most awaited electric car.
So far, all the specifics of the vehicle in question haven't been disclosed yet, but there have been a lot of public reveals and announcements. Here are the details of the Model 3 to date:
Two Models: Third-Generation Platform
To add fuel to the anticipation, claims that the Model 3 will come in two different versions have been cropping up. The company is said to be able to "build multiple variations on the third-generation platform, specifically a sedan and, later, an SUV."
According to the rumors, a Model Y crossover will also be unveiled at the March event, but people familiar with Tesla's plans say only the Model 3 will make an appearance.
A Range Of More Than 200 Miles
On a single charge, the Model 3 is expected to go for over 200 miles. Similar to the case with the Model S and the upcoming Model X, it can be charged up through Supercharger stations free of charge, providing approximately 170 miles' worth of juice in about 30 minutes.
On that note, these charging stations increased from 2,000 units at 400 sites to 3,439 and 593 respectively in 2015, and the figures continue to increase.
Tesla's "Most Profound" Car
Not only is the size cut down compared to the Model S, but the intended price of the Model 3 is also considerably reduced as well.
"It's a smaller version of the Model S. It won't have quite as many bells and whistles, but it will be at a much lower price point ... I think really that is going to be the most profound car that we make because that will be a very compelling car at an affordable price," Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, said at the StartmeupHK Festival in Hong Kong.
Considering how huge the Model S is, the Model 3 should still have more space than most compact cars despite the downsized form factor.
Emphasis On "Affordable Price"
To start things off, $7,500 is the Federal tax credit, resulting in a $27,500 price. Californians who are below 300 percent are eligible for a $4,000 rebate, coming to a $23,500 value.
Lifetime gasoline savings amount to $9,000, which is based on an assumption of 12,000-mile usage on a yearly basis with 30 MPG at $3 a gallon. This comes to $1,200 annually, and if that value is multiplied by 7.5 from the 8-year warranty the Model 3 has, that results in $9,000 in this department.
Next, the Model 3 is eligible for a white sticker in California, allowing drivers of the vehicle to use the High Occupancy Lane (HOV) or carpool lane even with only the driver inside. Though the HOV sticker doesn't have an exact price, people estimate it to be worth $5,000.
To quickly go through the math, $35,000 minus $7,500 from Federal tax credit, $4,000 from rebate, $9,000 from assumed gasoline savings and $5,000 from the white sticker equals a $9,500 Model 3.
Tesla intends to build new factories across China and Europe sometime in 2018.
Model 3 is due in ~2 yrs. A China factory for local demand cd be as soon as a year after. A factory in Europe wd happen for same reason.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 25, 2015
With the goal of delivering 500,000 vehicles annually by 2020, the carmaker has plans to start a Gigafactory in Nevada to supply the most limiting factor for EV growth: the batteries.
Ultimately, these projects will allow Tesla to produce numerous Model 3 units efficiently, meeting the demands on the market.
The Model 3 is undoubtedly going to be a tech-forward vehicle, and it's likely Tesla will cram in sensors for self-driving purposes.
Interestingly, Musk wanted to name it Model E instead of Model 3. Why? Well, it's because the full lineup of the Model series would spell SEX, which will eventually become SEXY thanks to the Model Y.
Unfortunately, that didn't pan out, as Ford did not give up its trademark.
The Model 3 is right on track, and it will be unveiled and up for preorder in March and will go into production in 2017.
This car is inarguably Tesla's biggest endeavor yet, as it marks the carmaker's first efficient and affordable car geared toward the mass market.