The first Tesla Model 3’s are set to roll down the production line today, as the EV manufacturer prepares to deliver the first examples of its more affordable model by the end of the month.
Plans announced by Elon Musk revealed that the first vehicles are being manufactured two weeks ahead of schedule, with the first 30 Model 3 customers due to receive their new cars on 28th July.
From the initial models, production will ramp up quickly with 100 cars expected to be made in August, more than 1,500 by the end of September, and 20,000 a month come December.
Details of the Model 3 are still scarce, with an range of more than 200 miles quoted for an EV that will start at $35,000 in Tesla’s home US market.
Translating that into UK figures is tricky since taxes and export costs will impact the price, as well as currency market fluctuations.
However, since $35k is currently just over £27,000 at today’s rates, expect the Model 3 to start between £30,000 and £35,000 when it finally arrives on British shores. That’s not expected to be until next year at the earliest. The Tesla will be eligible for the Category 1 Plug-in Car Grant in all likelihood too, which would see up to £4,500 available towards the cost of the Model 3.
When the Model 3 does arrive in Europe though, it will take the fight to the fiercely competitive compact executive car market. With the likes of BMW’s 3-Series, the Jaguar XE, Audi’s A4, and Mercedes C-Class all well established class favourites, Tesla has some task ahead of itself in trying to gain a foothold in the sector.
If there’s one thing Tesla has rarely struggled for it’s customers though. When the Model 3 was announced over a year ago, around half a million customers worldwide put down a sizable deposit to put their name on the waiting list.
The Model 3 not only represents a more attainable Tesla for many people, it also will see production for the company ramp up. Plans are to deliver 500,000 vehicles in 2018, and a million in 2020. This will be made up of Model S, Model X, and Model 3, plus forthcoming vehicles like the teased Model Y too.
The entry-level Tesla also allows the manufacturer to adjust its current model offerings. The Model S and X have already seen smaller capacity battery versions removed from the options list. This is in part due to a relative lack of demand, but Tesla is also keen to put a bit of space between the Model 3 and Model S so that the former won’t cannibalize sales from the latter.