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Review: Tesla Model 3

The Model 3 isn’t just another Tesla. It’s Elon Musk’s most promising answer to making electric cars truly mainstream. This is our Tesla Model 3 review, and reasons why it’s going to be a real game changer.

Key Specifications

  • Make: Tesla
  • Model: Model 3
  • First available: June 2017
  • Electric/Hybrid: Electric
  • Seats: 5
  • Acceleration to 100km/h (60mph): 5.6s
  • Range: 220 miles
  • Price: $35,000

Range & Battery

Innovation & Self-driving

AUTOPILOT SYSTEM:

Model 3 has 8 cameras, 12 sensors, and forward-facing radar to support Autopilot system (same package as Models S & X)

ACCESS TO CAR:

No key fob; access is by smartphone app or a programmable key card with valet mode option

Additional Info from July 28th Handoff Event

LONG RANGE MODEL

  • Price: $44,000
  • Range: 310 miles
  • Acceleration 0-60 mph: 5.1 sec.
  • Top Speed: 140

DUAL-MOTOR ALL-WHEEL DRIVE MODEL

Available with both standard and long range models. Price not yet announced

STANDARD CHARGING ACCESSORIES INCLUDED:

  • 240 volt NEMA 14-50 adapter
  • 120 volt NEMA 5-15 adapter
  • J1772 public charging adapter
  • 20 foot mobile connector with storage bag

WARRANTY:

4 years/50,000 miles

Battery Warranty: Standard Model 8 years/100,000 miles; Long Range Model 8 years/120,000 miles

SELECTED OPTIONAL UPGRADES

Complete Specs HERE

19” wheels – $1,500

Exterior paint finish (no charge for black, choice of 5 optional other colors +$1,000)

Premium Interior Package – $5,000

  • Premium heated seating and cabin materials throughout, including open pore wood décor and two rear USBs
  • 12-way, power adjustable front seats, steering column and side mirrors, with custom driver profiles
  • Premium audio system with more power, tweeters, surround speakers and subwoofer
  • Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
  • Auto dimming, power folding, heated side mirrors
  • LED fog lamps
  • Center console with covered storage and docking for two smartphones

Enhanced Autopilot – $5,000

  • Includes semi-autonomous lane keeping, lane changing, adaptive cruise control, transitioning from one freeway to another, exiting the freeway, and self-parking at your destination
  • Additional features to be added in future through over-the-air updates

Full Autonomy Option – $3,000 (not available at this time)

Tesla 3 price with every current option will be $59,500, higher when all-wheel drive option is priced and added

Production and estimated Delivery dates

PRODUCTION PLANS:

50 cars have been produced, all long range models; 30 were delivered at event to selected Tesla employee owners, and the other 20 will be used for validation testing, so none of these are really out in the world yet. They will all essentially be early production test cars, which makes sense at this early stage. They need to catch any issues early, before they ramp up production to 10,000 cars per week next year!

Long range model will be produced first – standard model will follow in 2-3 months

FUTURE MODEL 3 PRODUCTION PLANS:

  • 100 in August
  • 1,500+ in September
  • Monthly production rate of 20,000 cars by the end of 2017.

LATEST ESTIMATE OF NUMBER OF RESERVATIONS: 500,000+

ESTIMATED DELIVERY DATES (for reservation placed on earliest possible date of March 31, 2016):

Long Range Model with rear-wheel drive, $49,000: Nov. 2017 to Jan. 2018

Standard Model with rear-wheel drive, $35,000: Jan. 2018 to Mar. 2018

Both Models with dual-motor all-wheel drive: Sep. 2018 to Nov. 2018

Reservations made now will see delivery in late 2018

Tesla Model 3 Driving Experience

Extended e-car range with new battery

The innovation that’s going into the model 3, has been made possible from all the learnings and cashflow made available through all the previous Teslas sold. This is the car they’ve been waiting to put their focus into.

The most important new advancement in the Model 3 has been the batteries. The Model 3 will feature Tesla’s 3rd generation of battery packs. Or in other words, the most advanced batteries in the world.

These are the most energy dense batteries yet, so they hold more charge at less weight, giving you a 345km range. On top of that, every Model 3 will be equipped to work with superchargers.

A Car of The Future: Smart and Minimalistic

The whole car is a bit shorter and narrower, much like any other standard city car. This makes for easier manoeuvring in city traffic, and with a low centre of gravity. It handles well.

Inside the car it’s another story. The interior is actually quite spacious. It fits 5 people comfortably with a generous amount of leg room.

The futuristic glass panel roof on top allows for natural sunlight and also gives you more headroom. There is storage space available in both the front and back.

Tesla has gone for a very minimalistic interior. The car is going to feature one 15′ landscape touchscreen display that provides an unobstructed view.

The only catch is that in trying to make things simpler, they have removed the display in front of the steering wheel. That is, the instrument cluster which displays the speed, range, energy consumption and direction. Like the one currently available on the Model S.

Some drivers do find this slightly unnatural, having to look to the right to view their speed for instance. But all we know for sure is that, the design isn’t finalised yet. Tesla may have plans to include a Heads Up Display. We’ll have to wait and see.

How Does The Tesla Model 3 Drive?

Pretty well – it’s a decently fast road car. The Model 3 will do 0-100km an hour in under 6s. It comes rear wheel drive as standard, but for a little more punch. You can get front motors as an add-on, to make it All-Wheel Drive and a lot faster. Not to mention ludicrous mode.

Complete self-driving capabilities will be available on every Model 3.  This even includes safety features such as automatic braking which prevents accidents. The Model 3 will be one of the safest cars of its time, with a 5-Star safety rating in every category.

It’ll come in multiple versions, but the base model packs quite a lot by itself. And the price? $35,000 only.

Big Plans For The Future

This is really a Tesla for the masses. In fact, even before people saw the car. There were 134,000 reservations in the first 24 hours! How’s that for demand?

Tesla’s goal with the Model 3 is to really get people excited about switching to electric power, and in all honesty. It could. Elon Musk truly believes no other car in this price range will be as good as the Model 3.

To cope with the surge of Teslas on the road. You can expect double the number of superchargers, and quadruple the number of destination chargers worldwide in 2017.

Superchargers are by far the fastest way to charge your Tesla, allowing you refill up to 80% charge (270km range based on the Model S) in 30mins. They’re dotted around every country where Teslas are popular, and are discoverable on the touchscreen, internet connected display in the car.

Though one caveat is that, it seems unlikely that supercharger access will be free of charge for the Model 3.

Other than that, you can simply connect your Tesla to any place that has an electrical outlet. Whether that be with a wall connector at home, or destination chargers in hotels and restaurants.  You can get about an extra 150km in 3 hours.

Business News

Tesla Takes Steps Toward Servicing Mass Quantities Of Its Model 3

Report based on Reuters article published July 11th 2017.

Tesla will be increasing its service presence so that it will be better able to handle any after-sales issues arising from the accelerated rollout of its new Model 3, according to a story from Reuters.

By expanding its number of auto service centers from 100 locations to 250, adding 1,400 more technicians, and adding a fleet of 350 mobile service vans, Tesla expects to be able to support the immediate effects of putting 20,000 Model 3s on the streets each month, once it ramps up to full production this December.

This service capacity expansion will continue on an ongoing basis, as the Model 3 fleet gets larger and larger. The most recently announced number of Model 3 reservations was 373,000, as of April 2016.

Tesla believes that these steps will be sufficient to manage the service needs of their new Model 3. It is a much simpler design than its upscale siblings. There are no complicated falcon wing doors like those that caused problems on the Model X. According to Tesla, the vast majority of its cars’ service needs do not need a lift, so a single mobile technician can handle most problems in under an hour. Using the cars’ onboard wireless capabilities also speeds diagnostic and servicing efficiencies.

It will be essential for Tesla to get the Model 3 launch, ongoing production, and after-sales servicing right. The transition from a luxury manufacturer to a mass-market competitor puts Tesla directly up against GM and other established car companies. Not only will the American public be watching, but also Wall Street, which has placed a value on Tesla that has exceeded that of any other automaker.

The next event in the Model 3 launch cycle will be the party held for the owners of the next 30 finished vehicles. This follows the release the first Model 3 on July 8, which now belongs to Elon Musk. The party will take place at the Tesla factory on July 28.

Please read all Tesla electric car reviews and read about the start and development of the Tesla Brand. Fore more info on cost, financing and warranty coverage of a Tesla, read our corresponding blog articles.

1 User Review on “Tesla Model 3”

  1. Stephen Fogel
    Tesla Model 3 Driving Impressions: Journalists Behind The Wheel
    Reviewed
    Tesla 3 - I test driven this car

    Tesla Model 3 Driving Impressions: Journalists Behind The Wheel
    by Stephen Fogel

    After many months of secrecy and waiting, the first major public event for the long-awaited Tesla Model 3 was held on July 28, 2017. Taking place at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, this was the release party for the initial batch of 30 cars, which were all purchased by Tesla employees. It was also the first time that journalists were able to drive a production version of the Tesla Model 3.

    Aside from the Motor Trend test drive, which took place on Mulholland Highway in the hills above Los Angeles, all other drives took place on the flat, straight roads around Tesla’s Fremont, CA factory, and were very brief, according to the reports.

    Keep in mind that all the cars in this initial batch have all been equipped with the higher-performing large battery and many options, and undoubtedly were largely made by hand and assembled with great care and precision.

    Here is what selected journalists wrote about their Tesla Model 3 test drives. We have organized their comments by category, so you can see how much agreement there is on various areas of the vehicle. Enjoy!

    Interior Comfort & Appeal

    “…there’s basically very little between the driver and the expansive view of the road, which takes up most of your field of view thanks to the broad, uninterrupted windshield. It’s something that says “Just. Drive.” and it’s a very pleasant experience if you even enjoy driving a little bit.” TechCrunch

    “For a compact car, the Model 3 feels incredibly light and airy. The dash is pulled ahead and pressed down, but cleverly, the touchscreen is apart from that, close to your right hand.” Motor Trend

    “I entered the car and immediately marveled at the comfort. It felt like leather, but the seats and steering wheel are actually covered in Tesla’s own specially-designed material. It felt wonderful under my hands and the seat, which hugged my back and bottom, felt smooth and comfortable.

    “I sat back in the car for a moment and glanced at the natural wood-covered dash. I noticed how far back it sits, giving the impression of a much-roomier car interior.” Mashable

    “Visibility fore, aft, and up is ample, thanks to a massive two-pane glass roof that also serves to make the more compact rear seating area feel larger.” USA Today

    “I felt like I was driving in an Eames chair. After hearing so much hype about this car, I was surprised that my first reaction was a profound sense of delight.” The Verge

    “The seats embrace you in a gentle hug that feels a bit more geared for road trip than racetrack. It’s the Model S on a diet, making up in practicality what it loses in extravagance.”

    “The solid strip of open-pore wood gives the space warmth, and the glass roof makes the the cabin feel like an atrium. The forward field of vision—uninterrupted by knobs, lights, and levers—is expansive.” Bloomberg

    “We opened the doors via flush mechanical handles and settled into nicely shaped leather seats. The steering wheel felt nice and chunky in our hands, but more than anything the view out the front proved expansive thanks to the 3’s ultra low dashboard.” Edmunds

    “Speaking of sounds, the $44,000 model comes with a custom sound system designed by Tesla, which was excellent.” Mashable

    Rear Seat

    “I got out and stepped back into the rear passenger seats. While the huge glass rear window does provide more space, it also conducts more heat. It was almost uncomfortably warm back there.

    “…the leg room back there (in the back seat)…still felt cramped.” Mashable

    “(T)he back seat had ample room for my long legs, and plenty of room for a car seat. Yes, there were car seat hooks included on this production model, and a flip-down armrest with a cupholder — a sign that Tesla is actually an American car company..” The Verge

    No More Keys

    “Tesla is parting ways with its concept of using a key fob that looks like the car and instead, it will rely primarily on the owner’s phone.

    “Tesla’s app will take an increasingly more important role and the Model 3 will be Bluetooth connected to your phone in order to automatically unlock the doors as you approach.

    “If your phone is dead or you don’t have it on you for whatever reason, Tesla provides a keycard with a NFC chip. You just have to swipe on the B pillar and it will unlock the doors.” Electrek

    “To start the car, we used, naturally, an app. For valet drivers there’s an NFC card you can hand them, that they use to unlock the car, by swiping the card along an area on the door exterior, and then turn it on.” Mashable

    Interior Controls

    “One of the assignable functions of the twin thumb scrolls on the wheel spokes is tilting and telescoping the steering column. Cool. You adjust the wheel with your hands right where they should be. It’ll take a lot more miles than this to decide if the single off-center screen completely substitutes for a conventionally located gauge cluster, but I’m already adapting to it. At least I can always see the mph display near my right hand position (upper left corner of the screen) versus it being often half-hidden behind spokes.” Motor Trend

    “On the Model 3 Steering wheel are two small dials. Each is positioned so you can reach them with your thumbs while still holding the steering wheel. They have a number of uses.

    “We changed a setting on the screen, and then I used the dials to adjust the position of my steering wheel, scrolling the left side to adjust the height and the right to telescope in and out.

    “Those same buttons are used to adjust the side view mirrors; the left controls the left mirror and the right, well, the right one. To tilt the mirrors in or out, I simply pulled and pushed on the dials.” Mashable

    “One of the most ingenious parts of the Model 3 that represents a true departure from automotive tradition is the inclusion of a single thin opening in the dash. That’s for air, hot or cold, to blast into the cabin (no more individual vents) and it’s all rather simply and ingeniously controlled by touching your fingers to the screen and swiping over the part of the car where you want most of the AC or heat to be directed.” USA Today

    “My eyes drew to the natural focal point. The single screen, a 15-inch display, at the center of the car, where all of the essential information is presented. I could scroll through the buttons using two singular buttons on either side of the steering wheel, or the touch pad. A small icon of the car popped up on the left of the screen. I didn’t have to turn my head from the windshield.” The Verge

    “The lack of gauges on the narrow dash is refreshing.“ Bloomberg

    “Cooled air comes out of an inconspicuous door-to-door slot, and its airflow configuration is one of numerous features that are controlled via the massive landscape-oriented touchscreen, which has a speed readout in the upper-left corner.” Edmunds

    “While the center 15″ touchscreen almost jumps in your face, the long straight dash almost steals the show. The left side is definitely more animated when in drive. The renders of the Model 3 and surrounding vehicles appear on the screen like they do on the instrument cluster of current Model S and Model X vehicles with Autopilot.

    “The area which shows charging information above changes when the car is in drive to display gears and speed of the car. There’s also a very small animation of the power consumption.

    “I wasn’t comfortable with looking at it too much while driving, but I have to assume that drivers could get used to it after an extended period.” Electrek

    “The Model 3 has a transmission control quite similar to the Model S. The tiny automatic transmission stick extends from the steering wheel. A couple of presses down puts the car in drive.

    “What I wasn’t enjoying was the turn signal. I could never tell when I had turned it on. It didn’t seem to click in place. I also had a hard time hearing it and not because the car is loud inside. It’s actually quiet. I could barely detect road sounds.” Mashable

    Acceleration

    “Foot squarely on the accelerator, I was surprised at the jolt when I pulsed the throttle. I turned onto a small stretch of open road, and I was off and running. Yes, the Model 3 has a glee factor.

    “While it’s not ludicrously fast, it certainly feels capable.” The Verge

    “The Model 3 still has plenty of pickup, effortlessly jumping from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds in the upgraded version I test drove, which gets a stunning 310 miles on a charge.” Bloomberg

    “Even with three Tesla minders riding along, the Model 3 was properly quick when we rolled onto the go-pedal. The familiar seamless Tesla feeling of thrust was there, and the 5-point-something seconds of acceleration was more than enough.” Edmunds

    “As for the driving experience itself, it felt a lot like a Model S 60 with a 0-60 acceleration of 5.1 seconds.” Electrek

    “Stab the accelerator and the car sprints like an Olympic 100-meter champion, thanks to the instant torque provided by its battery-powered electric motor.” USA Today

    “The gush of torque clearly indicates DNA shared with the Model S.” Motor Trend

    “The drive itself feels very much like a “Tesla” experience, with instant acceleration that gives you a thrill when you press the accelerator. It’s true that it’s not anywhere near the sensation of launching the Model S P100D, but it’s extremely fun, and will easily (very easily) exceed anything the vast majority of this car’s drivers will have ever experienced in similarly priced sedans.

    “I really got a chance to open it up (to the upper limit of the posted speed limit, of course) in a couple of places along the route, and it felt great. Like, the kind of great where it’s nearly enough to make you giddy.” TechCrunch

    Ride & Handling

    “And it feels like a very responsive vehicle in terms of steering, too, with a low center of gravity that results in very, very little body roll side-to-side.” TechCrunch

    “The ride is Alfa Giulia (maybe even Quadrifoglio)–firm, and quickly, I’m carving Stunt Road like a Sochi Olympics giant slalomer, micrometering my swipes at the apexes. The Model 3 is so unexpected scalpel-like, I’m sputtering for adjectives. The steering ratio is quick, the effort is light, but there’s enough light tremble against your fingers to hear the cornering negotiations between Stunt Road and these 235/40R19 tires. And to mention body roll is to have already said too much about it. Sure, that battery is low, way down under the floor. Nearly-nil body roll? Magic, I’m telling you. Magic. And this is the single-motor, rear-wheel-drive starting point. The already boggled mind boggles further at the mention of Dual Motor and Ludicrous.

    “At speed, it gains a laser-alertness I haven’t encountered before. ” Motor Trend

    “The ride felt smooth and tight, but in a good way, the way all small sedans should feel. I loved the responsiveness and how it seemed to hug the road, which is partially because the Model 3 has a low center of gravity, with the batteries situated directly beneath me.” Mashable

    “Despite being about 1,000 pounds lighter than the Model S, it felt very solid with sharp handling, especially in “sport” steering mode. It benefits from the same architecture as its predecessors with the battery pack laying flat close to the ground between the axles.” Electrek

    “Launch into a turn and the steering feedback provided by the thick, sporty wheel is direct and measured.” USA Today

    “It’s nimble, comfortable, and has tight steering that’ll keep you grinning.” Bloomberg

    “The air suspension we saw on earlier prototypes does not appear on the options list, and indeed all the Model 3 sedans we saw had a coil spring suspension that proved to be well-sorted and composed. We couldn’t really judge handling performance to any real degree, but the Model 3 gave off an encouraging feeling of lightness that our Model S never quite managed.” Edmunds

    Braking

    “Resistive braking (the mode that simulates traditional brakes was off in my vehicle) is a terrific experience if you haven’t tried it yet, slowing the vehicle to a stop fairly aggressively whenever you remove your foot from the accelerator. It seemed well balanced here, and once you’re used to it you’ll never want to go back to the faux brakes feature again.” TechCrunch

    “The other big surprise was how the Model 3 felt when I took my foot off the gas. It slowed down like I was applying the brake. This is by design. The slow down is generating fresh electricity for the batteries, which can help for extended drives.” Mashable

    “I did notice that the regenerative braking is significantly weaker than I anticipated, but I am now used to the regen of my Model S P85, which is quite strong. It is possible that regen strength could get stronger on future dual-motor versions of the Model 3, or a performance version if it ever comes.” Electrek

    “Lift off the throttle and that familiar regenerative braking starts slowing the car before you hit the brakes.” USA Today

    “All too soon I had to brake, which in this short sprint, felt like a confident, firm exercise…” The Verge

    “Deceleration was equally smooth via lift-throttle regenerative braking, but the brake pedal’s response was also smooth and linear in more abrupt traffic stops.” Edmunds

    The Trunk & The Frunk

    “The trunk is conventional — no massive automatic lift-gate that reveals optional rear-facing seating as in the S — but large enough to stow the luggage of your best friend and his family after picking them up at the airport.” USA Today

    “The prototype’s trunk opening was criticized as too small; now it’s yawning. And at 15 cubic feet, with a very low lift-over and 60/40 folding rear seats, it looks hungry for a surfboard or a bike. Up front, the frunk is precisely sized to hold a carry-on suitcase.” Motor Trend

    “…we opened the trunk. It has ample space and even a hidden compartment that opens up to the base of the car chassis. My only complaint is that the trunk opening seems a bit narrow.

    “Under the hood up front is another space, designed to be large enough for any luggage that can fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane. ” Mashable

    Will Current Quality Translate To Future Quantity?

    “The fit and finish of this Model 3, which was among a few dozen handed over to employees at a ceremony Friday led by CEO Elon Musk, was tight. Panel gaps were perfect. Doors open and closed with a solid thunk. Now, Musk just needs to, as promised, make 499,999 more a year to the same standards.” USA Today

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