Electric carmaker Tesla revealed their highly-anticipated new entry-level offering, the Model 3, at an event in Hawthorne, California. Slipping in below the Model S sedan and the Model X crossover, the Model 3 is the cheapest Tesla on sale.
The Model 3 is expected to have a price tag of US$ 35000 when it goes on sale in late 2017. Tesla says that it also has managed to gather 115,000 pre-orders even before its debut.
Aesthetically, it is a mini Model S with no grille up front. The rest of the car looks similar to the bigger sedan. It retains the fastback-styled rear of the S, but comes with a small sedan-like boot lid, as the roof and the rear windscreen make up just one large piece of glass.
Inside, the Model 3 comes with a huge infotainment screen and that’s about it. The car is still in its early phases, so a lot of work is left to be done in the interior. Tesla has managed to eke out maximum cabin space by placing the batteries below the floor. This, along with a compressed dashboard, helped the front seats to be moved a bit forward, liberating space at the rear. The cabin can seat 5 or fit a 7-foot surfboard, Tesla claims.
All Tesla models are equipped with the company’s Autopilot hardware and safety systems. The Model 3 have managed to score 5 out of 5 in the every category of crash tests given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The slowest model in the lineup will take less than 6 seconds for the 0-100 kph run. Faster models are also available. And the 344 km range is 24 km better than the recently-revealed Chevrolet Bolt electric car.
Tesla also announced some details regarding the growth of its supercharging network in United States. The number of these stations, which help to charge the Tesla models in maybe half an hour, is expected to double by the end of 2017. They are also working on setting up new service stations so as to bring the total count up to 441 from the current 215 by the same time.
Tesla also says that this was just Part 1 of the Model 3 launch, so a Part 2 will follow, revealing more about the Model 3 and Tesla’s new plans.
Interestingly, reader Boris Joyston pointed out to us that the UAE is listed in the online pre-order form as an option when selecting a country. While the UAE still does not have any formal Tesla dealerships, there are a few privately-imported Model S cars roaming the streets, and it is likely Tesla will ship a car directly here if you have the money.