Tesla just finished the Tesla Model 3 design – but now it needs a Gigafactory to build them

The Tesla Model 3 is one step closer to production

Tesla has finally signed off the design for the Model 3 – by far the most important car it’s ever going to make. Speaking to reporters in Tesla’s new christened Gigafactory, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the final designs for the Model 3 were signed off a fortnight ago. And now the task is actually building them.

Ever since the Tesla Model 3 was first unveiled a few months ago, Musk and Tesla has made it very clear we weren’t seeing the final version of the car. Musk kept referring to the event as Phase 1 of the launch, with Phase 2 being a later event where everything will click into place. If we’re to believe tweets from Musk, the production Model 3 will feature a very different interior to the car we saw at launch. But what else can we expect from the EV giant’s own Model T? Here are 13 things to expect from the Tesla Model 3. 

1. The Tesla Model 3 won't have free supercharging

Earlier in the year reported that the Tesla Model 3 would have access to Tesla;s ever-growing range of Superchargers as standard - but Elon Musk has said otherwise. The Tesla CEO broke the news at a recent shareholder meeting, and said that the feature won’t be free because engineers “can’t figure out how to make it less expensive.” Instead, Musk says Supercharging compatibility could be bundled with other features like Ludicrous mode, or offered as a standalone option.

2. The Tesla Model 3 is ridiculously cheap (for an electric car)

The most obvious selling point of the Tesla Model 3 is also its most important. The base Model 3 starts at $35,000 (£24,400), and it’s easy to forget just how cheap that is. To put that in context, the Ford Focus is one of the most popular cars in the UK, and can cost anywhere between £19,000 to £24,000. The fact Tesla has been able to get anywhere near that price range with such cutting-edge technology – inside and out – is amazing. And with all due respect to Ford, which car would you rather have?

3. The Tesla Model 3 looks pretty nice

Last year we heard rumours that the Tesla Model 3 was going to be super slippery, and you can see that in the car’s design. The Model 3 has nice swooping lines, an almost entirely glass roof, and no grille openings – a notoriously draggy feature. Personally, I think the end result looks great. It’s sleek and futuristic without overdoing it, and where other carmakers seem to have agreed that all electric cars need to have some kind of blue trim – I’m looking at you BMW, Renault and Nissan – the Model 3 is classy and understated. Regardless of the numbers, the Tesla Model 3 needs to be a car you’ll want to see on your drive – and I think it nails it.

4. The Model 3 will come with Autopilot hardware as standard

tesla autopilot

Here's Tesla Motors' Autopilot in action. Read our first impressions on Alphr tomorrow.

Posted by Alphr on Monday, 21 March 2016

This seems to have been largely overlooked, but it’s huge. At last night’s event, Elon Musk said that all Tesla Model 3s will have Autopilot hardware as standard – and all the safety features that come with it. Sure, you won’t get the full autonomous Autopilot I tried the other day, but you will get things such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane keeping and automatic preventative steering (Autosteer) – which is seriously impressive at this price. And because the Model 3 comes with all the sensors and lasers you need for Autopilot as standard, you can always get the matching software at a later date. It’ll probably cost you around £2,600, but having the option to upgrade your entry-level Tesla is a real bonus.

5. The Tesla Model 3 will be safe as well as innovative

When you’re buying a car, there are certain things that are non-negotiable, and safety is one of them. A car packed with potentially explosive lithium-ion batteries isn’t always perceived as the safest vehicle on the road, but the Model 3 offers some serious protection. Last night, Elon Musk said the car features “five-star safety” throughout, and if we take his word for it, a lot of electric car naysayers to take note. When you combine those structural safety systems with the semi-autonomous, preventative measures, the Tesla Model 3 might be one of the safest cars on the road. Who saw that coming?

6. The Tesla Model 3 has impressive range

The Tesla Model 3 has a range of 215 miles, which is enough for most people – even if they don’t know it. And when you think about it, 215 miles is actually a long way. It’s nearly enough to get from London to Norwich and back on a single charge, or all the way to Hull – if you wanted. Sure, you’d need to drive extremely conservatively, but the fact those sorts of places are within reach shows just how long the Model 3 can go for.

7. 400,000 people can’t be wrong, usually

The above tweet isn’t from an iPhone launch – it’s from the Tesla Model 3 launch. Everyone wants a piece of Tesla’s latest car, and that means pre-orders have already reached up to 400,000 and counting.That many people can’t all be wrong. Surely.

8. The Tesla Model 3 should benefit from great support

Yes, it’s a boring one, but after you buy a car, it needs to be serviced and maintained. Tesla already has 215 locations worldwide – including one in London – but that should double by next year. The result? Tesla says no matter where you are, you won’t be far from a full-blown Tesla dealership, and a place to get your Model 3 sorted. 

9. All of the above, and the price. Again.

When you look at each of these things individually, the Tesla Model 3 should pique your interest, but as a whole Tesla has made a formidable argument. And then there’s the price, again. Just repeat it out loud, but slower. Thirty thousand dollars. You can now buy a car that’s raved about by both the technology and car press for the same price as a Ford Focus. Ridiculous.

When you look at each of these things individually, the Tesla Model 3 should pique your interest, but as a whole Tesla has made a formidable argument. And then there’s the price, again. Just repeat it out loud, but slower. Thirty five thousand dollars. You can now buy a car that’s raved about by both the technology and car press for the same price as a Ford Focus. Ridiculous.

10. The Tesla Model 3 should have a space-age interior

Teslas are known for their futuristic interiors as much as their innovative propulsion, and it’s great to see the cheaper Model 3 continue or even better the trend. The screen inside the Model 3 doesn’t seem to be as big, and it’s in a landscape position – but that’s because it’s taking the place of the car’s dials. That’s right, there’s nothing infront of the steering wheel. The Model 3 doesn’t even have a speedometer. Instead, you’ll find the speed on the top left of the touchscreen (on a left-hand drive car, of course). Not only is this innovative, it’s pretty damn cool – and something I can’t wait to try out.

11. Tesla is already struggling to keep up with Model 3 demand

We thought Tesla would begin making the Tesla Model 3 in high-volume in 2020, but new reports suggest it’ll begin churning out its brand new electric car in 2018 instead. The reason for the acceleration is simple: Tesla has already taken many more orders than it expected for the Model 3 - and it’s already raised $1.7 billion to meet the unexpected demand.

12. The Tesla Model 3 will use Pansonic batteries

According to Reuters, Tesla was in talks with Samsung to supply batteries for the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Powerwall 2 home battery, but that now appears to be wrong. As you’d expect, Elon Musk took to Twitter to deny the claims, saying Tesla is “Working exclusively with Panasonic for Model 3 cells. News articles claiming otherwise are incorrect.” 

While the tweet clears up which batteries will be in the Tesla Model 3, it does leave the door open for Samsung to supply batteries for the Tesla Powerwall 2 home battery.

13. The Tesla Model 3 is in huge demand

A new report on Autoblog suggests that Tesla has begun to email prospective Model 3 customers in a bid to pitch them lower-end Model S. The email asks the prospective Tesla Model 3 customers to take a lower-end Model S out for a test drive, and it’s clear Tesla is hoping to get some customers to make the jump to the more premium car.

Tesla probably makes more profit on the Model S than the Model 3, but Tesla main aim is to reduce the staggering demand for the Model 3, and move people towards a car that might be a better fit. After all, a lot prospective Tesla Model 3 owners have probably pre-ordered the car due to the buzz and excitement, without really considering the slightly more expensive Model S. The difference between the two could be as little as $6,000, and although that might seem a lot – it probably won’t affect the decision making of a typical Tesla owner. 

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