Affordable Tesla electric-car tech
- Interior space
- Cheaper than Model S
- Electric range
- Divisive design
- Range anxiety
Tesla is set to bring its electric car technology to a more affordable end of the market with this, the Model 3, the smallest and cheapest model in the range.
You need to spend at least £59,035 to get hold of a Model S, which is not small change by anyone’s standards, even if it does give you access to free 'fill-ups' across the company’s Supercharger network of car chargers.
Production on the new Model will start next year and prices will start from $35,000 - the equivalent of £24,452 in the UK.
Fast, spacious and practical line-up
This new car is part of Tesla's ‘secret master plan’ to bring sustainable energy-powered transport to the masses.
A smaller price tag will put new customers in the manufacturer’s cars, not just those who could afford to justify the premium cost of the Model S.
Like that car though Tesla says the Model 3 will combine range, performance, safety and utility to make it the ideal family car.
It’s too early to speculate on specification but expect a large digital screen like the one you get in the Model S and plenty of upmarket touches in the cabin.
Electric power brings many benefits
As well as costing less to run, the advantage of battery power in a car like this over a conventional engine is the amount of interior space on offer.
Tesla says the Model 3 will be big enough to comfortably fit five adults and associated luggage, without needing to increase exterior dimensions.
Like the larger Model S before it, the new car will be fast too thanks to the large amount of torque available from the electric motor from the moment you press the accelerator.
A 0 to 62mph time of less than six seconds has been promised with the Model 3, and electric all-wheel drive should give it a grippy and nailed down feel too. Plus, if you are more gentle with your right foot, you can expect a maximum of 200 miles between charges too.
Tesla says safety is a priority with the Model 3 and expects it to become the safest car in its class once it has been tested.
This will be an important consideration for family buyers looking to protect younger passengers.
Production of the Model 3 will begin in late 2017, taking Tesla’s total annual production to 500,000 vehicles.
Keep a look out for our full review closer to the time.
The Parkers Verdict
Tesla needed to introduce a product that is more of a realistic proposition in terms of price, and while the Model 3 is by no means a cheap option, it is definitely closer to the mark.
It follows the Tesla design philosophy, which is commendable but perhaps risky considering they want this car to appeal to the masses.
Progress with electric cars is beginning to gather momentum and this car could very quickly be overtaken by rivals in terms of range and performance, so be wary of buying too early.