Tesla reveals Model 3, opens bookings to new markets including India

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 01 Apr 2016


American electric carmaker Tesla has taken the covers off its much-awaited Model 3, which is its first mass-market electric car.  And, it's available to buyers in India. In fact, Autocar Professional had revealed this in a news story back in November 2014. See  'India Connect' below. 

A couple of hours before the reveal today in California, Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and CEO, tweeted a number of updates on the online ordering format for the Model 3. Importantly, his tweets reveal the company has opened online bookings for a number of countries including India. Along with India, the new markets include Brazil, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, Slovakia and Ireland.

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Speaking at the reveal, Elon Musk said that the Model 3 will get a five-star rating in all categories. The latest Tesla will have a range of 215 miles or 344 kilometres and will sprint from 0-100kph in less than 6 seconds. "At Tesla, we don't build slow cars," he said.

The new car has already been ordered by 115,000 customers worldwide, despite order books having been open for little more than 24 hours.

The Model 3 is the fourth model to join Tesla’s all-electric line-up, and is the affordable car Elon Musk says he set out to build from the very beginning.

400-kilometre range

Like Tesla’s other models, the all-new Model 3 boasts some pretty impressive headline figures. Though exact specifications are yet to be confirmed, it’s claimed to be capable of accelerating from 0-100kph in under six seconds in its most basic form, and can eke out more than 250 miles/ 400 kilometres from one charge.

It can do this while seating five adults ‘comfortably,’ with Musk even saying that no combustion engined car of this size can offer as much cabin space. Thanks to the lack of combustion engine up front, front-row passengers sit further forward than normal, freeing up more space for those behind, and a single-pane panoramic sunroof gives the cabin a more open feel.

Like the Model S, there are two boot compartments – one at the front and one at the back.

Musk makes some bold claims for safety, saying that safety has come first in the car’s development. He expects the Model 3 to be awarded five stars in every safety category.

All Model 3s will come as standard with Tesla’s latest autopilot features, and use a tablet-style dash-mounted infotainment system much like the Model S.

Deliveries are expected to kick off in late 2017, with cars priced at $35,000 (Rs 22.10 lakh) in the USA.

The Model 3 will rival the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4.

All Model 3s will come with free access to Tesla’s network of free Superchargers as standard. Currently there are 3,600 Superchargers worldwide, but Tesla wants to double this number by the end of 2017, while exceeding 7,000 end-of-destination chargers by the same date.

There will also be more than 441 Tesla servicing stations across the globe by the end of 2017.

In anticipation for the Model 3’s growing demand, Tesla wants to build 500,000 batteries a year. Its newly built Gigafactory (which has the largest footprint of any building of any kind) will produce more lithium ion batteries than all other lithium ion battery production combined.

Elon Musk on the Model 3

Elon Musk says the Model 3 is the affordable electric car he set out to build from the beginning.

“Why are we making the Model 3? Because we want to accelerate the transition to a future of sustainable transport,” he said at the car’s launch event.

With bookings open to buyers in India, expect a sizeable amount of interest from those who can afford one, considering the imported Model 3 will bear a sizeable amount of customs duty. Owning a Tesla in India will also become a staus staement. 

“We’re now at record high CO2 levels and we recently passed 400 parts per million of CO2. To address this, we came up with the Tesla secret master plan. It was originally a trilogy; now it’s a four-part trilogy…

“With any technology, it takes many iterations before you can make it low in price and high in volume. The Roadster was a low-volume, high-price car, and the Model S and X are mid-volume, mid-price products. The Model 3 is therefore our high-volume, affordable-price model. It’s only been possible to reach this after the prior models.”

The India connect

In November 2014, Jayaprakash Vijayan, chief information officer of Tesla Motors, had told Autocar Profesional that Tesla was exploring potential to bring an affordable car to the Indian market. 

“We will enter the Indian market first and see the potential as there is a huge need for EVs due to the high  pollution levels. If the Central government reduces import tax significantly that is about 120 percent, and makes it different for EVs, Tesla can bring its products and inspiring innovative technology almost immediately. It will benefit the local automotive industry as well. We are ready to enter the India market,” Vijayan had told Autocar Professional then. 

The next year, on September 26, 2016, prime minister Narendra Modi, who has been a prime mover for green and clean energy, visited Tesla where he was given a tour of the factory in San Jose, California, by CEO Elon Musk. With the Indian government showing keen interest to reduce pollution levels, expect Tesla to make some electric moves in this part of the world. 

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Recommended: Can Tesla meet demand for the Model 3?

(With inputs from Sam Sheehan, Autocar UK) 

Image Courtesy: PIB