California based Tesla yesterday unveiled its new ‘affordable’ and much anticipated Model 3 which will be the company’s lowest cost vehicle in is range.
The new model is particularly important to the company as it is seen as the vehicle that could transform Tesla from a niche brand into a mainstream vehicle manufacturer, and more importantly, stay in business. After all, despite now selling the most popular electric only car in the world, Tesla still posted a net loss of $889 million (£620 million) in 2015. To be fair though, they did spend a rather staggering $718 million on research during the same period. Last year’s financial results leave Tesla with cash reserves of $1.2 billion, rather than the $1.9 billion from a year earlier.
CEO Elon Musk is hoping that the new model 3 will attract a new type of customer to the brand as it aims to ramp production up to 500,000 vehicles in the near future. Tesla has revealed that the new model 3 will start from $35,000 (£24,423), and that the base model will still be capable of hitting 0 – 60 mph in less than 6 seconds whilst maintaining a range of at least 215 miles on each charge. Models with a larger battery and faster acceleration will likely follow, probably too will the company’s famous software updates that are often capable of increasing acceleration.
The company says that first deliveries of the model 3 are due to commence in late 2017, with the order books already open in many countries including the UK, where the car can already be reserved online for a deposit of just £1000. In fact, Musk actually announced at the end of his presentation that the company had already received some 115,00 pre orders for the new model.
Tesla has some way to go if it hopes to reach its target of producing 500,000 cars per year, as the company delivered just 50,580 vehicles during 2015, mostly made up of the Model S saloon which is now the world’s best selling electric only car after recently overtaking the (much slower) Nissan Leaf.
Musk also revealed that the new car will also include Tesla’s famous autopilot system that allows the car to drive itself under certain conditions. He also claimed that the car will feel more spacious for 5 adults than traditional petrol based vehicles, thanks to design decisions the company was able to take due to the lack of regular petrol engine. As expected, the new car will also support Tesla’s supercharger network allowing for quick recharges on long journeys. The company is hoping to double the number of supercharger locations to around 7,200 by the end of next year.