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Tesla Model 3 Is Changing Auto History

Originally published on EVANNEX

Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] is in the throes of changing the course of automotive history as we know it. Even the Detroit News — home-team paper to GM, Chrysler, and Ford — admits the Tesla Model 3 is, “the most intriguing auto story since the Model T, and Elon Musk is the boldest American auto entrepreneur since Henry Ford.” In its first week alone, the Tesla had amassed, “about $14 billion in implied future sales, making this the single biggest one-week launch of any product ever.” And it’s growing. Last week, Tesla’s Elon Musk said, “we are now almost at 400,000 orders for the Model 3.

Tesla Model 3, by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica

A fascinating piece in Bloomberg Business* peppered with charts and graphs provides proof-positive evidence that the Model 3 is poised to be an industry game changer. Why? “The Model 3’s unveiling was unique in the 100-year history of the mass-market automobile. The closest analog is that of the 1955 Citroen DS, which took in 80,000 deposits over 10 days at the Paris Auto Show. Much like the Model 3, the DS was lauded as an engineering marvel that was years ahead of its time. A more recent parallel among technological sensations is Apple Inc.’s iPhone.”

And, compared with its immediate competitors, the Tesla Model 3 will be extremely quick. “The Model 3 represents the first time an affordable electric car doesn’t have to apologize for running on batteries. Conventional wisdom once held that electric cars would always run slow and would never be objects of automotive lust. Tesla flipped that on its head by clocking some of the fastest times from 0 to 60 miles per hour in the world with its Model S. The cheaper Model 3 is no slouch, either.”

In addition, the Model 3 is the first electric car to check off all the right boxes. “Affordable? Check. Desirable? Check. But how far can you go before having to charge it again? That’s always been a foundational question. Could this upstart really make a long-range car with the grace of the Model S—and deliver it at a reasonable price? Apparently, yes. The Model 3 offers the cheapest range available for any electric car, even though it retains some of the richest features. In the long run, this may be one of the most important contributions of the car, if it is to bring the electric automobile fully into the mass market.”

How did Tesla engineer the Model 3 to be so fast while achieving such a long range for an electric vehicle? One of the secrets is the vehicle’s aerodynamics: “Tesla is also expanding range by eking more miles out of the same electricity. Musk said on Twitter that he thinks the final Model 3 will have a drag coefficient of 0.21. That would make it one of the sleekest cars ever sold.”

But, will there be sufficient charging infrastructure once Tesla Motors starts its Model 3 vehicle deliveries to customers? “As it turns out, charging isn’t as big a hurdle as many drivers imagine. Sure, there are still roughly 13 gas stations for every public charging location. But that’s ignoring the most common type of charging station of all: your garage. About two-thirds of U.S. homes have them. With an at-home charger and 215 miles of range, most customers rarely need to stop at a charging station. Looking at it that way, charging locations already outnumber gas stations by about 400 to 1.”Source: Bloomberg Business*

An unofficial Tesla Motors advertisement, created by a Tesla fan, showcasing the Tesla line-up including the new Model 3 (Source: killr0y)

And the charging infrastructure for Tesla Model 3 is growing fast: “Public charging stations are primarily needed for drivers who spend long stretches on the road at a time—be it for road trips or business travel. For most of these drivers, it’s the speed of the chargers—not the absolute number—that matters most, so Tesla is focusing on building a charging network with the fastest chargers in the world. Tesla Superchargers can provide 170 miles of driving range in 30 minutes, and owners of the Model X and S can use them all without charge. The number of Superchargers will double this year alone, according to Tesla.”

Looking at all these charts and graphs, it’s clear that the Tesla Model 3 signifies a vehicle that will have sales, speed, performance, economy, and a fast-growing charging infrastructure like no other car before it. Yes, the Tesla Model 3 is positioned to transform the automotive landscape forever. But… no, you can’t get one just yet. We’ll all need plenty of patience until we can get our hands on the Tesla Model 3. To that end, perhaps it’s best to quote Tesla CEO Elon Musk as he (himself) once said, “Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson.”

*Source: Bloomberg Business


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Written By

Matt is all about Tesla. He’s a TSLA investor, and he loves driving the family's Model 3, Model S, and Model X company cars. As co-founder of EVANNEX, a family business specializing in aftermarket Tesla accessories, he’s served as a contributor/editor of Electric Vehicle University (EVU) and the Owning Model S and Getting Ready for Model 3 books. He writes daily about Tesla and you can follow his work on the EVANNEX blog.

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