Tesla’s first round of their mass-marketed Model 3 sedans was delivered to customers on Friday, and unveiled at a ceremony at the company’s assembly plant near San Francisco. The company’s founder and CEO, Elon Musk, said “The whole point of this company was to make a really great, affordable electric car. And we finally have it.”
And so far, the car has not failed to live up to expectations, impressing reviewers and customers with a futuristic, sleek, and characteristically forward thinking set of features.
The car uses a smartphone app, instead of a key, to lock and unlock the car. A credit-card shaped backup can be swiped over the door handle as well. Instead of an instrument cluster like the ones found in almost all other cars, all of the vehicle’s information is displayed on a 15 inch, horizontal touchscreen display, located in the center of the dashboard. Instead of a slew of features on the steering wheel as in many new cars, the Model 3 steering wheel includes just two toggling thumb wheels, which are multifunction and customizable. They can be used to adjust mirrors or control the car’s sound system – which includes music streaming and radio, as well as USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Two control stalks are there as well, one of which controls P-R-N-D like an old column shifter, the other controls turn signals.
All other information and features are controlled or displayed via the touchscreen, including climate control, driving dynamics, navigation, communication, and speed. In keeping with the minimalistic design, one long thin slot for heating and cooling runs across the length of the dashboard, instead of the traditional vents.
These choices do more than create a sleek, futuristic design for a company that is trying to retain its modern image as it begins to mass market its cars. It also makes the interior much less complicated to build, essential for a company that is trying to produce the car on a mass scale, filling what could be half a million pre-orders.
The long range model offers a 310 mile range, and can reach 130 miles per hours, going from 0 to 60 in 5.1 seconds.
While it might not win as many points for design as the Model S, it is in a class of its own at its price point at 35,000 for the basic model and 45,000 for the fancier option.
The Model 3 could truly turn out to be a game changer when it comes to electric vehicles and four door sedans in general at its relatively affordable price range. The only test left is to see whether Tesla can successfully fill half a million orders.