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The Tesla Model 3 is a mid-size (US) / compact executive (EU)[7] luxury all-electric four-door sedan manufactured and sold by Tesla, Inc.[1] Following crash testing it received five-stars in every category from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.[8][9] According to Tesla officials, the Model 3 Standard version delivers an EPA-rated all-electric range of 220 miles (354 km) and the Long Range version delivers 310 miles (499 km).[3] The Model 3 has a minimalist dashboard with only a center-mounted LCD touchscreen.[10] Tesla stated that the Model 3 carries full self-driving hardware to be optionally enabled at a future date.[11][12][13]

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 parked, front driver side.jpg
Tesla Model 3
Overview
ManufacturerTesla, Inc.
Also calledCode name: BlueStar
ProductionJuly 2017 – present
AssemblyTesla Factory, Fremont, California
Body and chassis
Class
Body style4-door fastback sedan
Related
Powertrain
Transmission1-speed fixed gear
Battery50 or 62 or 75 kWh (180 or 220 or 270 MJ) Lithium ion[2]
Electric range
  • 220 mi (350 km) Standard[3]
  • 260 mi (420 km) Mid Range (est. EPA-rated)[4]
  • 310 mi (500 km) Long Range (EPA-rated)[3]
Dimensions
Wheelbase113.2 in (2,880 mm)
Length184.8 in (4,690 mm)
Width76.1 in (1,930 mm)
Height56.8 in (1,440 mm)
Curb weight
  • Standard RWD: 3,552 lb (1,611 kg)[5]
  • Standard Dual-Motor AWD: 3,757 lb (1,704 kg)[5]
  • Mid-Range RWD: 3,686 lb (1,672 kg)[5]
  • Long-Range RWD: 3,814 lb (1,730 kg)[5][6]
  • Long-Range Dual-Motor AWD (including Performance): 4,072 lb (1,847 kg)[5]

Within a week of unveiling the Model 3 in 2016, Tesla revealed they had taken 325,000 reservations for the car. These reservations represented potential sales of over US$14 billion.[14][15] By August 2017, there were 455,000 net reservations.[16][17] Since inception, deliveries passed the 100,000 unit milestone in October.[18] Since January 2018, the Model 3 has remained the top-selling plug-in car in the U.S. every month, with an estimated 95,882 units delivered through October 2018.[19]

Limited production of the Model 3 began in mid-2017, with the first production vehicle rolling off the assembly line on July 7, 2017,[20][21][22] with the official launch and delivery of the first 30 cars on July 28.[23] On July 1, 2018, it was announced that Tesla had met its production goal of 5,000 cars in a week.[24][25][26] Tesla Model 3 became the best selling car by revenue in North America for the months July and August 2018, with monthly sales of $993 million for August 2018, beating the Toyota Camry at $765 million, and Honda Accord at $679 million.[27]

Contents

HistoryEdit

In 2008, the car was stated to be a family car.[28] In 2017, Tesla added that the Standard version of the all-electric car would have have an estimated EPA-rated range of 220 miles (354 km), a five-passenger seating capacity, front and rear trunks, and promised sports-car levels of acceleration performance.[better source needed][29][30] Tesla said it would have a 5-Star safety rating and have a drag coefficient of Cd=0.23.[31] This will be lower than the Tesla Model S drag coefficient of Cd=0.24, which, in 2014, was the lowest among the production cars of the time.[31]

Industry experts were dubious when, in May 2016, Tesla announced its decision to advance its 500,000-total-unit build plan (combined for Model S, Model X, and Model 3) to 2018, two years earlier than previously planned, in order to accelerate its target for Model 3 output.[32][33][34] As predicted, there were "production bottlenecks" and "production hell". Tesla issued US$2 billion in new shares to the stock market to finance the plan.[35]

The company plans for the Model 3 are part of Tesla's three-step strategy to start with a high-price vehicle and move progressively towards lower-cost vehicles, while the battery and electric drivetrain were improved and paid for through the sales of the Roadster, Model S, and Model X vehicles.[36]

On April 18, 2018, Tesla updated its production target to 6,000 vehicles per week by the end of June 2018, an increase from its previous target of 5,000 vehicles per week which was previously promised at earlier dates.[37][38][39][40]

Model namingEdit

The Model 3 was codenamed Tesla BlueStar in the original business plan in 2007.[41][42] The intended name was Model E, that was abandoned due to Ford trademark. Model 3, originally stylized as "Model ☰", was announced on Musk's Twitter account on July 16, 2014.[43] Musk wanted the three current models to spell SEX, but settled for "S3X".[44] In early 2017, after trademark opposition regarding Adidas's three stripes logo,[45] the triplicate horizontal-bar stylization was abandoned and changed to a numeric "3".[46]

MarketEdit

 
About 125 people in line to reserve a Tesla Model 3 in Walnut Creek, California

In September 2015, Tesla announced that the Model 3 would be unveiled in March 2016.[47] In January 2016, Musk said that the first official pictures of the car will be revealed at the end of March 2016.[48] Delivery would begin in late 2017 first on the U.S.'s west coast and then move eastwards.[49] Potential customers were first able to reserve a car at Tesla stores or online on March 31 with a refundable deposit of $1000.[50][51] In February 2016, Tesla indicated that the unveiling would be on March 31, 2016.[52] Employees of Tesla[53][54] and SpaceX were given early access to Model 3 reservation,[55] and about 10,000 signed up without discount,[56] scheduled to receive the first batch of cars.[57][50] Current owners of Tesla vehicles will get priority sales after employees but before the general public, as a reward for helping pay for the development of the Model 3.[50] Early production is usually more flawed: both the Model S and the Model X had several problems at the start of their production,[58][50] but have since improved.[59]

On the morning of March 31, 2016, tens of thousands of people waited in lines to place the refundable deposit to reserve a Model 3 for 2017 delivery.[60][61] During the Model 3 unveiling event, Tesla said that over 115,000 people had reserved the Model 3 in less than 24 hours prior;[62][63] more cars than Tesla had sold by that time.[14] 24 hours after opening reservations, Tesla had advanced orders for over 180,000 cars.[better source needed][64][65] Two days later, Tesla said they had 232,000 reservations.[14][66]

One week after the unveiling, Tesla said it had over 325,000 reservations, more than triple the number of Model S sedans sold by the end of 2015.[14][15] Musk said that 5% of reservations correspond to the maximum of two vehicles allowed per customer, "suggesting low levels of speculation",[67] and that 93% of Model 3 reservations are from new buyers who do not currently own a Tesla.[50] The previous record for advance deposits on a car was the 1955 Citroën DS that had 80,000 deposits during the ten days of the Paris Auto Show, while the Model 3 had 232,000 reservations in two days.[14]

According to Tesla's global vice-president Robin Ren, China is the second-largest market for the Model 3 after the US.[68] Tesla said the number of net reservations totaled about 373,000 as of May 15, 2016, after about 8,000 customer cancellations and about 4,200 reservations canceled by the automaker because these appeared to be duplicates from speculators.[69][70] Upon its release in July 2017, there had been over 500,000 reservations for the Model 3,[71] with Musk later clarifying there were a net of 455,000 reservations outstanding, and an average of 1,800 reservations were being added per day.[16][17]

The cheapest Model 3 available comes with a price tag of $ 45000. It has a range of 430 km. A variant with an extended range (500 km) is priced at $ 54000. A future version of the Model 3 will come at the cost of $ 80000.[72]

DesignEdit

 
Center-mounted 15.4-inch (39 cm) LCD touchscreen[10]

In 2013, design chief Franz von Holzhausen said that the Model 3 will "be an Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class type of vehicle that will offer everything: range, affordability, and performance" that is targeted toward the mass market.[73] While technology from Tesla's Model S will be used in the Model 3,[74] it will be 20% smaller than the Model S[75] and have its own unique design.[76] According to Tesla's CTO, JB Straubel, in October 2015, most Tesla engineers were working on the 3 rather than S or X.[77][78] Since electric cars have lower cooling needs than combustion cars, the Model 3 does not have or need a front grille.[79] Musk intended for the final design to be released on June 30, 2016[80] but when the design was finished on July 27, it was not publicly released.[81] After the final design of the first Model 3, any further changes would be included in future versions of the Model 3.[82] The optional glass roof developed by Tesla Glass will be made of the same glass used for Tesla's roof tiles;[83] a glass roof was introduced on the Model S in late 2016.[84]

ProductionEdit

The Model 3 is mostly steel, with some aluminum.[85] As of December 2016, Tesla planned to increase the size of the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California to accommodate Model 3 production.[86][87][88][needs update]

Production stagesEdit

In a 2013 interview, Jerome Guillen discussed "BlueStar" (codename for the Model 3 project), stating that Tesla was expecting to produce 400,000 cars per year.[89]

In May 2016, Tesla told its suppliers that it intended to double earlier-announced Model 3 production targets to 100,000 in 2017 and 400,000 in 2018 due to demand, which suppliers[90][91] and many experts viewed as unattainable.[92][93] In the Tesla Factory, paint lines for 500,000 automobiles commenced in 2015, and some stamping equipment for the Model 3 was operational by August 2016.[94] Tesla bought Grohmann Engineering, experienced in automated manufacturing, January 2017. This acquisition launched Tesla Advanced Automation Germany, which Tesla said would develop manufacturing processes to be used initially in Model 3 production.[95] According to Tesla in late 2016, the company expected to invest between US$2 billion and US$2.5 billion in capital expenditures ahead of the start of Model 3 production.[95]

After the two Alpha prototypes were shown (silver and black; red was a shell) in April 2016, Tesla finished the design in late July 2016. Tesla ordered parts equivalent to 300 Beta prototypes in August 2016, preparing for development of the assembly line. As of August 2016, the company intended to make release candidates for testing prior to actual production.[96][97] Tesla began building Model 3 prototypes in early February 2017 as part of the testing of the vehicle design and manufacturing processes. Tesla said in late 2016 that initial crash test results had been positive.[95]

In October 2016, Tesla said its production timeline was on schedule.[98][99][100] Again in February 2017, Tesla said that vehicle development, supply chain and manufacturing are on track to support volume deliveries of the Model 3 in the second half of 2017. Limited vehicle production began in July 2017 and volume production was scheduled at that time to start by September 2017. As of February 2017, Tesla planned to ramp up production to exceed 5,000 vehicles per week in Q4 2017 and reach 10,000 vehicles per week in 2018.[95] However, Tesla missed their Q4 production target by far, as only 2,425 vehicles were produced during the entire 3-month period.[101][102] 5 months before, Musk claimed on Twitter that Tesla would be able to produce 20,000 Model 3 per month by December of the same year. Tesla's actual production numbers were therefore 93% lower than his prediction.[101]

Gigafactory 1 had been intended to produce battery packs for Model 3 and it was announced in January 2017 that Tesla would also manufacture drive units[clarification needed] at Gigafactory 1.[103] In February 2017, Tesla said that installation of Model 3 manufacturing equipment was underway in the Fremont factory and at Gigafactory 1, where in January, production of battery cells for energy-storage products began, which have the same form factor as the cells that will be used in Model 3.[95]

DeliveriesEdit

 
Tesla Model X (left) and Model 3 (right) at the unveiling event on March 31, 2016

As industry experts had predicted, Tesla did not meet the announced delivery targets.[104][105] The first delivery was on July 7, 2017, to Musk himself.[106] The first 30 production units were delivered on July 28, 2017.[107]

Tesla Model 3 vehicles per quarter
Quarter Model 3 vehicles produced
2017 Q3[108]
260(222 delivered)
2017 Q4[109]
2,425(1,542 delivered)
2018 Q1[110]
9,766(8,182 delivered)
2018 Q2[111][112]
28,578(18,449 delivered)
2018 Q3[113][114]
53,239(56,065 delivered)

In early July 2017, Musk forecast at least six months of serious production difficulties.[115] Tesla's announced goal at that time was to produce 1,500 units in the third quarter of 2017, increasing to 5,000 per week by end of December 2017,[116] but only 260 vehicles were manufactured during the third quarter. The company blamed product bottlenecks but said there were "no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain" and expressed confidence about its ability to resolve the bottlenecks in the near future.[117][118]

Tesla delivered 1,542 Model 3 cars in the fourth quarter of 2017,[109] about 2,900 less than Wall Street estimations, which were already halved previously after Tesla published the company's third quarter report.[119] Customer deliveries totaled 1,764 units in 2017.[108][109] By early November 2017, Musk postponed the target date for manufacturing 5,000 of the vehicles per week from December 2017 to March 2018.[120][38][120] An analyst with Cowan and Company, an investment banking firm, said "Elon Musk needs to stop over-promising and under-delivering".[121] Prior to a planned shutdown in mid-April to further increase production, Tesla produced more than 2,000 Model 3 vehicles for three straight weeks.[110]

Deliveries totaled 8,182 units in the first quarter, rose to 18,449 in the second, and achieved a record of 55,840 units in the third, totaling 82,471 units sold in the first nine months of 2018.[110][111][114] In August 2018, the Model 3 surpassed the Nissan Leaf as world's best selling plug-in car during 2018, with a record of about 17,895 units delivered, a monthly sales record for plug-in cars previously held by the BAIC EC-Series.[122] Since inception, deliveries passed the 100,000 unit milestone in October 2018.[18]

 
Tesla Model 3 charging in Washington, D.C.

Since January 2018, the Model 3 has remained the top-selling plug-in car in the U.S. each month, with an estimated 95,882 units delivered through October 2018.[19] During the first half of 2018, the Model 3 was also the top selling alternative powertrain vehicle in California with 12,674 units, followed by the Toyota Prius conventional hybrid (10,043).[123]

By October 2018, Bloomberg reported that, in the U.S. market, Tesla Model 3 sales made it the fifth best-selling sedan in the previous quarter, behind the Toyota Camry and Corolla and Honda Civic and Accord models, but ahead of Nissan Sentra and Altima, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Fusion, and Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu models.[124] According to Tesla, the Model 3 will be delivered in Europe in February or March 2019.[125]

IssuesEdit

In May 2018, Consumer Reports Model 3 testing found "big flaws — such as long stopping distances in our emergency braking test and difficult-to-use controls”, finding the braking distance worse than a Ford F-150 full-size pickup truck, and causing it to not recommend the car. Tesla responded to the claims with concern and, a few days later (over a weekend), released an over-the-air (OTA) update fixing the anti-lock braking algorithm. Consumer Reports, impressed with the prompt - and unprecedented - brake fix OTA update, verified the improved braking performance and changed its rating to a recommended model.[126][127]

SpecificationsEdit

 
First production Tesla Model 3 cars ready for the delivery event on July 28, 2017

The base Model 3 has a 50-kWh battery with a range of about 220 mi (350 km) and the optional 75-kWh battery has a range of about 310 mi (500 km).[2][128] The battery uses 2170-size lithium-ion cells[129] which have a higher energy density than the 18650-size cells used in previous Tesla vehicles by as much as 30%.[130]

The Model 3 battery pack is made of four longitudinal modules each containing the individual battery cells.[131] The Standard version carries 2,976 cells arranged in groups of 31.[131] The Long Range version carries 4,416 cells arranged in groups of 46.[131]

The inverter for the Model 3 drive unit uses 24 pairs of Silicon Carbide (SiC) MOSFET chips rated for 650 volts each.[132]

In July 2018, media reported that a Model 3 prototype had been seen in California and Nevada while towing a trailer in an apparent evaluation of a tow bar.[133]

The Model 3 uses regenerative braking, which was improved in October 2018 using a software update.[134]

Specifications
Battery Standard Mid Range Long Range
Powertrain RWD RWD RWD AWD AWD Performance
Production TBA October 2018–present July 2017–October 2018 July 2018–present
Base price (US market) US$35,000[135] US$46,000[5] (was US$49,000) US$53,000[5] US$64,000[5]
Range 220 mi (354 km)[136] 260 mi (418 km)[5] 334 miles (538 km) combined

347 miles (558 km) city

318 miles (512 km) highway

308 miles (496 km) combined

319 miles (513 km) city

296 miles (476 km) highway

Efficiency TBA TBA 26 kWh per 100 miles (16kWh/100km)

MPGe 130 combined 136 city 123 highway

29 kWh per 100 miles (18kWh/100km)

MPGe 116 combined 120 city 112 highway

Battery capacity 50 kWh (180 MJ)[136] 62 kWh (220 MJ) 75 kWh (270 MJ)[137][130][6][138]
DC charging 130 miles (209 km) range available after 30 minutes[139] TBA 170 miles (274 km) range available after 30 minutes[140]
AC charging 30 miles (48 km) range per hour (240 V outlet, 32 A)[136] TBA 44 miles (71 km) range per hour (240 V outlet, 48 A)[136][141]
Powertrain Single-Motor Rear-Wheel Drive[5][142][143] Single-Motor Rear-Wheel Drive[5] Single-Motor Rear-Wheel Drive[5][142][143] Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive[5]
Motor permanent magnet switched reluctance[144][145][146][147] rear permanent magnet switched reluctance[144][145][146][147] rear permanent magnet switched reluctance[144][145][146][147] rear permanent magnet switched reluctance rear & induction front[144][145][146][147]
Curb Weight 3,552 lb (1,611 kg)[5] 3,686 lb (1,672 kg)[5] 3,805 lb (1,726 kg)[5] 4,072 lb (1,847 kg)[5]
Power TBA TBA 283 hp (211 kW)[148] 346 hp (258 kW) combined[149]

252 hp (188 kW) rear & 197 hp (147 kW) front[148]

450 hp (340 kW) combined[149]

283 hp (211 kW) rear & 197 hp (147 kW) front[148]

Power-to-weight TBA TBA 13 lb/hp (122 W/kg) 12 lb/hp (140 W/kg) 9 lb/hp (184 W/kg)
Torque TBA TBA TBA TBA 471 lb⋅ft (639 N⋅m) combined[149]
Acceleration 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h)

5.6 seconds advertised[5][136][142]

0–60 mph (0–97 km/h)

5.6 seconds advertised[5]

0–60 mph (0–97 km/h)

5.1 seconds advertised[5][140][150]

(4.6 seconds tested[151])

0–60 mph (0–97 km/h)

4.5 seconds advertised[5]

0–60 mph (0–97 km/h)

3.3 seconds advertised[5]

(3.2 seconds tested[152])

Top speed 130 mph (209 km/h)[135] 125 mph (201 km/h)[5] 140 mph (225 km/h)[135] 145 mph (233 km/h)[153] 155 mph (249 km/h)[153]
Wheels 18-inch (457 mm) diameter 8.5-inch (216 mm) width 21.3 lb (9.7 kg), Aero wheel covers 2 lb (0.91 kg), 235/45R18 tires
Autonomous capability Some active-safety autonomy[142][154], all vehicles include all hardware needed for Autopilot including 1 radar, 8 cameras, 12 sonar, and AI computer
Luggage Rear 12 cu ft (340 L) and front 3 cu ft (85 L) trunks with 15 cu ft (425 L) total volume[142][5][155][156]
Rear seat 60/40-split-folding rear seat[157][158]
Display Single center-mounted 15.4-inch (39 cm) LCD touchscreen in landscape orientation that combines the instrument cluster and infotainment[5][159][160]
Entry Keyless NFC keycard and Bluetooth smartphone connection for vehicle access[161]; optional key fob.
Options
Wheels 19-inch (480 mm) diameter 8.5-inch (220 mm) width 29.5 lb (13.4 kg), 235/40R19 tires 20-inch (508 mm) 8.5-inch (220 mm) 235/35R20 with Performance Upgrade package
Paint Colors other than Solid Black (Midnight Silver Metallic, Deep Blue Metallic, Pearl White Multi-Coat, Red Multi-Coat)
Interior TBA Black or White Black Black or White
Roof Center-roof-panel options: standard metal, glass,[142] with roof rack.[162] Rear roof and rear window is one continuous piece of glass.[142]
Premium Upgrade package LED fog lamps, automatically-dimming power-folding heated side mirrors, tinted glass roof, docking for two smartphones, premium audio, 12-way power seats and steering column and side mirrors with driver profiles, premium seating materials, heated seating, rear USB ports
Performance Upgrade package not available Performance Brakes, 20" Wheels, Carbon Fiber Spoiler, Aluminum Pedals, 155 mph (249 km/h) max speed
Driver assistance Enhanced Autopilot, TACC, lane-keeping, lane-changing, and self-parking modes[163] (Since all vehicles include all sensor hardware optional Autopilot and self-driving capabilities can be enabled later if not ordered at time of vehicle purchase)

ReceptionEdit

 
Tesla Model 3s in colors Silver Metallic (left) and Midnight Silver (right)

Car-design columnist and former car designer for GM Robert Cumberford said the Model 3 "is an excellent design" and praised the front fascia skin that he thinks is superior to the black plastic simulated grille of the pre-refresh Model S.[164][165] Cumberford praised the Model 3's minimalist design, and "elegant simplicity" akin to Apple products.[166] Although he criticized the car's spoiler, he said the Model 3 has a design that would age well, and "in 10 years it will still look contemporary and beautifully understated, not old and irrelevant."[166]

Motor Trend said the nose was controversial and polarizing, but probably intentionally so.[167] Vanity Fair and others compared the Model 3 to the Ford Model T for its intended affordability as a volume-produced electric vehicle[168][169][170][171] and for its limited set of options, namely range, wheels and exterior color of which all but black costs extra.[172][173] Automotive journalist Doug DeMuro said the Model 3 was better, though $2,000 more expensive than, the BMW 340i and that it was the "coolest car of the year," later clarifying that this was based on the "long waiting lists, obsessive interest and news stories."[174] Alex Roy said that DeMuro's review had concentrated on hardware details and missed out on the bigger picture.[171]

Automotive-industry analyst Toni Sacconaghi of AllianceBernstein said after driving the latest Tesla vehicle in November 2017 that "Overall, we found the Model 3 to be a compelling offering, and believe it is likely to further galvanize the overall Electric Vehicle category." He was less impressed with build quality of the test samples. "Fit and finish on the two demo cars we saw—perhaps not surprisingly—was relatively poor." He said that there were quality issues at first with the Model X which led to some concern. "This is going to be a much, much higher-volume car, and if there are any quality issues, that could overwhelm the service centers and undermine the Tesla brand." Nonetheless, Sacconaghi was impressed with the ride quality, performance and interior space, and concluded that the 3 "risks cannibalizing the [very expensive] Model S going forward." [175]

Road and Track's Bob Sorokanich said the "Model 3 proves that Tesla is thinking far beyond the edges of the Model S and X. Stepping out of the 3, you realize that, as far as the S and X pushed the envelope, they were always meant as intermediaries, stepping stones designed to draw people away from comfortable convention and into the future of the automobile. ... The Model 3 is Tesla at its most unabashed. It's an automaker finally willing to abandon the skeuomorphism of a false radiator grille, the tradition of a driver-oriented gauge panel."[176]

AwardsEdit

Popular Mechanics named the Tesla Model 3 the magazine's Car of the Year. Popular Mechanics said the car represented the future of motoring, with "ferocious" acceleration, and novel and reliable autonomous features. The review said the car lacked a head-up display, but was overall impressive.[177]

Model 3 was given the 2018 Design of the Year award by Automobile magazine.[166]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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