After much speculation Tesla has confirmed official details of its new Model 3, which is set to become the EV brand’s top seller.
With a starting price of US$35,000 the Model 3 becomes the brand’s most affordable model, with Tesla boss Elon Musk confirming via Twitter that Australian pricing would match the US with local import duties and sales tax added, which points to a possible starting price of $50,237 locally.
In its most basic form the Model 3 offers a claimed driving range of 354km with the ability to recharge in less than one hour using a Tesla Supercharger, or around eight hours charging at home.
Top speed is claimed to be 210km/h with acceleration from 0-96 km/h (0-60mph) taking 5.6 seconds, pointing to a 0-100km/h time of less than six-seconds. After initial production has been established and the Model 3’s factory output is in full-swing Tesla will add more performance focused models.
The Model 3’s starkly minimalist interior features a single 15-inch central touchscreen as the primary interior interface allowing access to entertainment, navigation, and vehicle data. Standard inclusions extend to cloth upholstery, a reversing camera, self-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth connectivity and in-built navigation.
Safety systems incorporate eight airbags and active safety systems like autonomous emergency braking. Buyers can also opt to upgrade to Tesla’s Autopilot semi-autonomous driving technology for an extra US$5000 ($6300) allowing the car to automatically match pace with surrounding traffic, maintain lane position, change lanes automatically, exit freeways and auto park.
Also on offer, a controversial 'Full Self Driving Capability' option pack for US$3000 ($3800) that won’t be turned on initially, but will be brought online via Tesla’s over-the-air updates once software validation and regulatory approval needs have been fully met, for which no time frame has been given.
Other options available to buyers from launch include an upgraded battery that extends the claimed range to 500km, raises the top speed to 225km/h and reduces acceleration times for US$9000 ($11,300), and silver, blue or dark grey metallic paint or pearl white or red for US$1000 ($1250) instead of the standard black exterior.
Optional 19-inch alloy wheels take the place of standard 18-inch alloys for US$1500 ($1900) while an interior upgrade package sees premium materials, 12-way adjustable heated seats, upgraded audio with subwoofer, tinted glass, LED fog lights, a covered console capable of docking two smartphones anti-glare auto folding side mirrors added for US$5000 ($6300).
Full production of the Tesla Model 3 begins in mid-2017, while the brand's Australian website ambitiously suggests that any new orders placed could be delivered as early as the middle of 2018.
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