Tesla Model 3: 7 things to expect from tonight’s launch event

After months of waiting, we’re now just hours away from seeing the Tesla Model 3 – the most important electric car Tesla will make. As I write this, eager Tesla customers are already queuing in lines across the world for the car, in scenes more reminiscent of a PlayStation or iPhone release. But why?

Tesla Model 3: 7 things to expect from tonight’s launch event

Because the Tesla Model 3 might actually be affordable for most people – unlike the super SUV Model X or the sleek but pricey Model S – and that means it’s going to be a true landmark moment for Tesla. But what will the Tesla Model 3 look like, and what can we expect Elon Musk to show us at tonight’s launch? Here are seven things I expect to see at the Tesla Model 3 launch.

Update: The Tesla Model has now been unveiled. You can find our coverage on the car, and how right (or wrong) I got it here: Tesla Model 3: All you need to know

Tesla Model 3 launch: What to expect tonight

1. A hatchback or small saloon

The launch of the Model X means Tesla isn’t just a one-car manufacturer anymore, and I expect the Tesla Model 3 will expand the variety of the line-up even further. When you consider the lower price of the Tesla Model 3 and its entry-level status, a smaller hatchback such as the old A-Class or compact saloon appears to be the most likely design.

2. A touchscreen-dominated interiorTesla Model S autonomous picture

The Tesla Model 3 probably won’t have as many features as its Model S stablemate, but I really can’t see the cost-cutting extending to the interior. Teslas have become known for their futuristic interiors as well as their innovative powertrains, and I don’t think Elon Musk will sacrifice one of the coolest things about the Tesla brand. Instead, I think the Model 3 will also use a huge touchscreen – just like the Model X and the Model S. The only difference? The touchscreen may well be ever-so-slightly more compact.

3. No falcon-wing doors

Sorry. Falcon-wing doors are amazing, and seem to provide a real benefit for users, but I really don’t expect to see them on the Tesla Model 3 tonight. The reasons are twofold. First, the Model 3 isn’t designed to be the same family-friendly Swiss Army knife that is the Model X. And second, they’re just too expensive. To achieve its accessible price, Tesla will be saving pennies throughout the car’s design, and going for conventional doors rather than fancy ones is an obvious way to keep the price down. Don’t be too disappointed, though – here’s a Vine of them anyway:

4. Actual moving cars – not just prototypes

Last month Tesla sent out invites to a small number of existing Tesla owners, but press invites suggest Tesla won’t just be showing models of the Model 3. Instead, Tesla says it will be showing real-life prototypes of the baby Tesla. And according to SlashGear: “Press will be able ‘to take a quick spin in what we’ve been working on.'”

5. Super slippery aero


Last year, Electrek said Elon Musk wanted the Tesla Model 3 as slippery as possible, and Electrek’s sources suggested that the onus is now on Tesla engineers to deliver a design with an impressive drag coefficient of lower than 0.2. That probably means nothing to you, though. To give that figure some context, the Tesla Model S has a figure of 0.24, the same as Mercedes-Benz S-Class or C-Class.

6. It will be affordable…

This is looking pretty obvious now – mainly because of Elon Musk’s ongoing urges to leak details of the car on the internet or at public events. Whether it’s at formal dinners or social media, Elon Musk keeps telling us how cheap the Tesla Model 3 is going to be. Okay, so how cheap? Around $30,000 to $35,000.

7.  …But not that affordable

I’ve put this one at the end, simply because it’s the saddest. I’ve literally just said the Tesla Model 3 is going to be super-cheap, but that might not be true. Sure, the entry-level model might *just* about be affordable, but as soon as you start adding the features that really make the Model 3 a “Tesla”, the price is going to balloon. It sounds pretty obvious, but I expect almost everyone buying a Model 3 to spec up their car well north of the magic $30,000 mark.

To find out what happened, and how right (or wrong) I got these predictions, READ NEXT: Tesla Model 3 – All you need to know 

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