After years of anticipation, Tesla Motors has finally revealed the Model 3, its smallest and cheapest electric car to date. And based on what was just shown, it really does seem to live up to all the hype.
At the very least, the core details live up to Tesla's promises. Elon Musk just presented the car at an event in Hawthorne, California, and as expected, the base model will sell for US$35,000. Furthermore, it beats the mileage estimates previously mentioned by Musk, with a minimum of 215 miles promised per battery charge.
The compact sedan is certainly smaller than the Model S, but Musk noted some design changes made to ensure the Model 3 comfortably fits five adults. He says the driver and front passenger will feel like they're sitting a little further up than in an average gas-powered car, providing more leg room in the back, and that a single continuous pane of glass in the rear areas provides more head room.
The base Model 3 will go from 0-60MPH in less than six seconds, although Tesla will sell faster versions at higher prices, much like with the Model S. It'll have Supercharging capabilities standard, along with autopilot hardware and safety features, along with a boot in both the front and back.
Tesla expects the Model 3 to be its most successful car to date, and has plans to expand its network of facilities to accommodate the additional EVs on the road. By the end of 2017, Tesla intends to have 7,200 Superchargers on the road throughout the world, along with 15,000 Destination chargers. Furthermore, the company will more than double its service and sales stores, from 215 to 441 in total.
Musk says he's "fairly confident" that the Model 3 will begin shipping at the end of 2017, although Tesla has missed a lot of ship dates in the past. At least there's no shortage of enthusiasm: Musk said during the presentation that more than 115,000 Model 3 cars have already been preordered in stores and online. In other words, if you didn't already pin one down, you might be waiting a long while.