On Friday night, the first 30 owners of Tesla’s new Model 3 were handed the keys to their new cars. Also that evening, Tesla announced a pricier version of the mass-market Model 3, which boasts a range of 310 miles - besting both the much-anticipated standard model as well as the Chevy Bolt.
And as Bloomberg pointed out, even at $44,000, a $9,000 premium over the standard Model 3, this souped-up version of the Model 3 has the cheapest price-per-mile vehicle range. At $141.94, the “Range+” bests the 238-mile range Bolt on that ratio by almost $16.00. The company expects this high-performance option to debut next year as it prefers to ensure the conventional Model 3 can reach mass production rates with a minimal number of hiccups.
In addition, the extended-range Model 3 can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds, and claims a supercharging rate of 170 miles in 30 minutes- similar to the company’s more expensive Model S sedan.
The overwhelmingly favorable reviews will impose even more pressure on Tesla, as the company claims that it has accepted over 500,000 deposits of $1,000 each by drivers who covet the vehicle - which many analysts say could transform the automobile industry. More automakers are responding in kind; Volvo, for example, announced earlier this month that it will launch five new all-electric models in 2019 while phasing out the internal combustible engine. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has followed the lead of France and said it will ban all gasoline- and diesel-fueled automobiles by 2040 - and that target date, to some critics, ignores the odds suggesting all-electric cars will become the standard mode of personal transport well before then.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was widely reported to tell the company’s employees that the next six months will be “production hell.” As the company streamlines its manufacturing process, production of the Model 3 is expected to be slow at first - but by the end of the year ramp up to 5,000 cars a week. The company says a reservation made now could result in a delivery during mid-2018. But a more realistic view of Tesla’s shift from a luxury automaker to a mass-production outfit means that the company would catch up with its waiting list in late autumn of 2019.
But no matter how much pressure Musk, Tesla’s fans and detractors may heap on this Silicon Valley upstart, watch for other global automakers to feel even more heat. Other electric car options do not even come close to the Model 3’s performance and value. Ford, for example, touts the 2017 Ford Focus Electric as a gas station-avoiding value at just under $30,000. But the Detroit automaker does not even mention its range on its web site (Bloomberg says it can run 115 miles on a single charge). Hyundai’s Ioniq Electric, priced about the same as the Focus Electric, eeks out only a little farther per charge, at 124 miles.
If reviews of the Model 3 continue to be stellar while Tesla meets its production goals, other automakers will be left in the cold as they find themselves in the race to be #2 - as in playing catch-up with the Bolt.
Image credit: Tesla
Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He's based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's worked an lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.