Tesla, as of January 28th, has confirmed the unveiling of their “affordable” $35,000 long range electric car, the Model 3. At least two versions will be available, though Tesla only plans to show one in their display in March. The Model 3 announcement reveals Tesla’s plans to develop more depth and breadth within the electric car market.
Current electric cars in the $30-$40,000 range, though plentiful, exhibit abysmal performance and range numbers. The Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, and Fiat 550e, among others, have a max range around 100 miles. Tesla, on the other hand, projects nearly 250 miles from its new model 3, which will undoubtedly be paired with a better interior than its cramped competitors.
Tesla’s response with the Model 3 and its variants will likely prove to be an important one for the future of the company. Porsche has devoted around $1.1 billion to its production of the Mission E Concept, which will likely produce an astronomically-priced competitor for the Tesla Model S. Ford, meanwhile, will be investing $4.5 billion in electric vehicle research, promising an ambitious 13 new electric cars in their lineup by 2020. Meanwhile, Tesla will attempt to cement itself in the affordable-electric car market before other major manufacturers make their move with a release projected in 2017-8 for the Model 3.
Utilization of Tesla’s current design language should provide the Model 3 with a dash layout similar to that of both the Model X and Model S, as well as over-the-air software updates that Tesla implemented last year. Apart from the aforementioned electric competitors, the most serious competitor for the Model 3 is the Chevy Bolt, which provides 200 miles of range from an all electric platform with Apple CarPlay as well as a large screen-display, all for $30,000. Chevy is hoping to have more success with the new Bolt, but the Model 3 very well may impede in their desired progress.
In and of itself, the Model 3 isn’t likely to be an earth shattering development. Rather, the importance of this car lies more in Tesla’s decision to expand into a new market, a move that will likely draw more competition and further development. By setting a new range standard for electric cars across the board, Tesla will continue to spur technological innovation as other, larger manufacturers respond. At the moment, creating a wide price-range of electric cars is necessary to secure the future of the electric car. The formation of a large consumer base must be followed by further work in charging infrastructure, as well as extensive research in fast-charging methods. All and all, the Model 3 is another small step towards the future of automotive engineering.