Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk has finally unveiled the highly anticipated electric car, the Model 3 at an event in Los Angeles. Pricing of the car starts at $35,000 (roughly Rs. 23 lakhs), which is the most affordable car from the Tesla lineup yet. The Model 3 represents Tesla’s first effort to bring an electric car to the masses.
Although being the least expensive creation, Tesla isn’t skimping out on the essentials. Musk said that the car has a range of at least 215 miles per charge and will have several features of its more expensive sibling, the Model S. The four-door vehicle, for instance, will offer autopilot, which enables the vehicle to drive itself on the highways and other roads and the company claims it will be one of the safest cars in the world. The base model accelerates from 0 to 100 kmph in around 6 seconds, and some faster variants will be available with rear and all wheel drive options as well.
As for looks, the Model 3 steals the eyes with its spectacular design styling cues. On the front, faux grille at the front of the Model S is not carried over to Model 3, and instead, it just boasts a blank space with air intakes at the bumper.
The car seats five adults and has two spaces for luggage in the front and back. Musk said it could fit a 7-foot surfboard inside the car. It was also clear from the presentation that the $35,000 version would be a stripped down version with very few options.
While the car won’t be delivered until late 2017, fans of the company flocked to its stores to sign up to buy one, with some camping out on sidewalks. Musk said on Thursday that 115,000 people had put down $1,000 deposits to pre-order the Model 3.
The Model 3 represents a huge moment for the company, which has seen its stock fall in the latter half of last year from $280 down to $240. On Thursday, it closed regular trading near $230.
If it takes off, Tesla’s new car could also accelerate the spread of electric charging stations that would make electric vehicles of all kinds a more realistic alternative. In that respect, the Model 3 could do for electric cars what the iPhone did for smartphones, igniting demand for a whole new class of technology.