Tesla CEO Elon Musk walked on stage tonight with a smile on his face after over 100,000 people reserved his company’s new vehicle without even having seen it. After going through his secret master plan again to set up the Model 3 as the “next logical step”, he revealed a few specs before unveiling the car itself.
The car is absolutely stunning and exactly like we described in our exclusive leak yesterday:
“It looks like a smaller hybrid of the Model X and S. It is a bit taller sedan with a unique front that looks more like a Model X than a Model S. The car is shorter and narrower than either the model X or S but is described as “sexy and sporty”.
The fascia is indeed reminiscent of the Model X’s, but combined with the headlights, it gives the 3 its unique look.
Also, we now learn that the car has an all-glass roof, which is good from both a design standpoint and for headroom.
As usual, Tesla focused on safety first and Musk expects the Model 3 will achieve a five-star rating in each NTHSA category like its predecessors, the S and X. Even though smaller than the S, it still has a front trunk (frunk), which also acts as a useful crumple zone in case of an accident.
The car’s chassis is made with both aluminum and steel, but less aluminum than the S and X.
As we predicted, the Model 3 will come standard with Autopilot hardware and all active safety features including automatic emergency braking and steering.
In our exclusive leak, we confirmed that the high-end version of the Model 3 will have over 300 miles of range, but Elon Musk didn’t address the higher-version at all today and instead focused on the base version which he described as “the best car you can buy for $35,000” – electric or not.
Musk estimates that the base Model 3 will have around 215 miles of EPA-rated range and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. We revealed that the higher-end version will make 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds.
But as Musk said, it was only the “part 1” of the Model 3 unveiling. the second part will be closer to the start of production next year:
Thanks for tuning in to the Model 3 unveil Part 1! Part 2 is super next level, but that's for later…— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2016
The Model 3 will also come standard with rear wheel drive and all-wheel drive as an option, but Musk already confirmed that last year.
First Drive in the Tesla Model 3:
The Model 3 will come standard with Supercharger access. I literally sighed in relief when Musk said it. This might be the biggest news out of the event. Not only we get a compelling $35,000 electric car with over 200 miles of range, but unlike the Chevy Bolt for example, it will be able to handle road trips with standard DC fast-charging.
Musk didn’t confirm the rate it will be able to handle, but the Superchargers can already charge at 135 kW.
Tesla also confirmed that it will significantly increase the number of Superchargers and Destination chargers around the world during the next 2 years: double to 7,000 Superchargers and quadruple to 15,000 Destination chargers.
The interior features one large touchscreen and is extremely minimalist, but I wouldn’t count on this design finding its way in the production version – especially since Tesla doesn’t feature any interior picture in its promo shots.
The Model X alpha prototype was also featuring a similar design and a center screen sticking out of the dash, but it didn’t make it to production. Of course, it could be different for the Model 3.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.