Tesla Expands To New Market with Model 3

tesla model 3

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Tesla, as of the 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 abysmally low 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 those of 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. Meanwhile, Ford will be investing $4.5 billion in electric vehicle research, promising an ambitious 13 new electric cars in their lineup by 2020. To cement itself in the affordable-electric car market and stay ahead of this competition, Tesla has projected the Model 3’s release for 2017-2018.

Tesla Model S Interior–Photo courtesy of http://elthing.com.

If Tesla sticks with its current design language, the Model 3 should have a dash layout similar to that of both the Model X and Model S (shown above), as well as the over-the-air software updates that Tesla implemented last year. Apart from the aforementioned electric competitors, the most serious competition for the Model 3 is the Chevy Bolt, which will go on sale this year. Chevy is hoping to have more success in the electric car industry with the new Bolt, which provides 200 miles of range and a large screen-display with Apple CarPlay for $30,000, but the Model 3 may halt 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 which 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. In order for there to be large scale development for charging infrastructure, there needs to be a critical mass of consumers, and hopefully the Model 3 will be the catalyst for that. All and all, the Model 3 is another small step towards the future of automotive engineering.

Featured image courtesy of http://www.hybridcars.com.

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