The first Tesla Model 3’s have been handed over to customers at an event at the company’s Fremont factory in California. The new model was shown off in final production specification, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk making bold statements about production figures.
The Model 3 costs from $35,000 (£26,670), and has an official range of 220 miles on a single charge. Tesla’s latest model also completes the 0-60mph sprint in 5.6 seconds before reaching a top speed of 130mph. Tesla does offer other versions of the Model 3 which see range up to 310 miles, and a 5.1 second 0-60mph time.
The Model 3 sits under the Models S and X in the Tesla line-up, with a specification designed to not cannibalise sales from the larger and more expensive stablemates.
The Model 3’s range is expected to increase in time, though will stay proportionately less than the Model S and Model X, since it costs about half as much. Use of Tesla’s Supercharging network will be on a pay-per-use basis, unlike the free allocation of the Model S and Model X, or lifetime free usage for owners of older models.
Model 3’s will have all the hardware needed for autonomous driving, with over-the-air software updates able to unlock more of the car’s driverless potential as legislation changes.
No UK specifications have been announced yet, but a starting price of a bit over £30,000 is expected after the OLEV Plug-in Car Grant. Deliveries aren’t expected in Britain until 2019 though. New buyers of the Model 3 in the US – those who didn’t put their reservation down some time ago – can expect to see their car in between 12-18 months.
Musk confirmed at the launch event that production will ramp up rapidly, with 100 Model 3’s to be built in August, 1,500 in September, before hitting full production in December when 20,000 new cars will be built per month.