Before anyone of the people lined up outside Tesla locations worldwide knew anything about the Model 3, Tesla’s first affordable mass-market sedan, 115,000 people paid the $1,000 deposit required to reserve the car. A week has passed since Tesla CEO Elon Musk proudly unveiled his company’s new electric vehicle to the world, and many more details, and even more questions continue to emerge about the Model 3.
We’ll excuse Musk’s hyperbole, until we get our hands on the final vehicle and find out what his definition of “almost anything” is.
Here’s what we know so far.
The details given by Musk at the launch event were scarce and were, for the most part, related to the entry level Model 3 which will go 0-100 km/h in under six seconds and boast a driving range of over 340 kilometres. However, the Tesla CEO did shed some additional light on the available options for the new EV.
According to Musk the Model 3 will be real-wheel drive with the option available for all-wheel drive. “Even RWD will have great traction on ice due to fast torque response of Tesla drivetrain” Musk added via Twitter.
Like the Model S, the Model 3 will have its motor, transmission, and drive inverter located between the vehicle’s rear axle.
The Autopilot hardware will be standard equipment on all Model 3’s, however the software that enables autonomous driving functionalities that can take control of the car’s steering, braking, lane changing, and parking, will be a paid upgrade available over the air.
One of the more interesting elements of the Model 3, as observed during the Tesla launch event, was the minimalist interior. The absence of a dashboard with standard gauges and the departure from the vertically oriented 17-inches display to a smaller 15-inches widescreen display are the most notable changes. Tesla representatives have confirmed that instrument gauges are not intended to be included on the production model. However, Doug Field, VP of Engineering at Tesla, has said that the final user interface for the screen has not been finalized, so there may yet be changes to the information displays on the Model 3.
A welcome side effect to placing all the controls of the vehicle on a single display is the efficiencies to cabin air-flow this brings. By minimizing the centre console, the vents and fans connected to it can be redesigned to provide more precise and thereby efficient ventilation.
Criticisms quickly emerged by journalists at the event, who were treated to a drive and some facetime with the much-hyped vehicle. The main point of contention is that the rear trunk opening was a significant flaw in the design of the Model 3.
When questioned about using a trunk on the Model 3 instead of the hatchback found on the Model S, Musk said Tesla is actively working on enlarging the opening, adding, “Aperture will be big enough for almost anything.”
We’ll excuse Musk’s hyperbole, until we get our hands on the final vehicle and find out what his definition of “almost anything” is. Even if Musk is unable to deliver on that promise, don’t forget the lack of a cumbersome combustion engine means there is plenty of additional storage under the hood.