Welcome to the future of affordable electric cars. Is this another nail in the coffin for the combustion engine?
Last week Tesla Motors launched the long awaited Model 3. Elon Musk officially unveiled the Model 3 in front of Tesla employees outside Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California on Friday night. Musk is no Steve Jobs or Steve Ballmer when it comes to high energy, exciting launches, but nevertheless, his employees love him and you can see his passion for the project and the Telsa company.
Tesla had a number of delays with the production of the Model S and Model X, so when Musk spoke at a Ted event in April this year, and announced to the world that the Model 3 would launch in July, I for one was slightly skeptical. But, they did it!
The Model 3 is simply remarkable. Designed to attain the highest safety ratings in every category, Tesla has over 500,000 orders for the $35,000, 350km-range vehicle. It has the capability to be run autonomously with the autopilot system and you can choose upgrades such as a larger battery, colour scheme and more. Of course you will pay more too!
Production is going to be challenging as the demand is tremendous. The half million vehicles Tesla is looking to produce next year are nearly six times its 2016 production.
“We’re going to go through at least six months of manufacturing hell,” Musk told journalists. The over half a million reservations are up from about 373,000 disclosed in April 2016. Customers pay $1,000 refundable deposits for the car, which is eligible for tax credits (in the US). Any new buyers would likely not receive their car until the end of 2018, Musk said.
As they say, good things take time, and what a great start this is. The more of these type of vehicles we see on the roads, the better for the environment, less amount of accidents and most importantly less injuries in the event of an accident. Let's be honest, as these vehicles become fully autonomous, there will still be accidents, but the percentage rate of driver error accidents will drop dramatically.
Musk said in an interview in April this year that he expects all Tesla autonomous cars will have the capability to drive from Los Angeles to New York without the driver having to touch the steering wheel.
I love his optimism and if anyone can make this a reality, Elon Musk can.