Elon Musk’s company Tesla has finally made its long-promised affordable electric car.
The details of the new model has just been unveiled, here’s everything you need to know.
When will it be available?
Musk said Tesla will build the cars as fast as it can, but acknowledged that supply issues and other complexities will make it tough to reach his goal of making 500,000 cars next year. Fourteen-year-old Tesla has never made more than 100,000 cars in a year.
Musk said around 500,000 people worldwide have already put down a $1,000 (£760) deposit to reserve a Model 3. People ordering a car now likely won’t get it until late 2018. Cars will go first to employees and customers on the West Coast; overseas deliveries start late next year, and right-hand drive versions come in 2019.
So if you’re a Tesla fan in the UK, you’ll have to wait a couple of years before you’ll be able to get into the driving seat of a Model 3.
How much is it?
With its $35,000 (£26,650) starting price — half the cost of Tesla’s previous models — and range of up to 310 miles (498 km), the Model 3 could bring in a huge amount of new customers. This could take Tesla from a niche luxury brand to the mainstream.
How does it differ from previous models?
Various changes make the Model 3 simple and cheaper than Tesla’s other offerings.
It has one dashboard screen, not two. It doesn’t have the fancy door handles that caused problems on the Model S, or the gull-wing doors of the Model X SUV. It’s made primarily of steel, not aluminium. It has no instrument panel; the speed limit and other information normally there can be found on the centre screen.
Perhaps the most surprising change is the fact that the car doesn’t have a key fob. Instead, drivers can open and lock the car with a smartphone or key card.
What problems could be on the horizon for Tesla?
Potential customers could lose faith if Tesla doesn’t meet its aggressive production schedule, or if the cars have quality problems that strain Tesla’s small service network.
The compact Model 3 may not entice a global market that’s increasingly shifting to SUVs, including all-electric SUVs from Audi and others going on sale soon.
What has Musk said?
“It was never our goal to make expensive cars. We wanted to make a car everyone could buy,” Tesla’s CEO said.
“If you’re trying to make a difference in the world, you also need to make cars people can afford.”