10 Specs Help Explain Why Tesla Model 3 = 5th or 6th Best Selling Car in USA

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I wrote last week that the Tesla Model 3 is likely to be the 5th or 6th best selling car in the United States in August. Based on Bloomberg production estimates and competing car estimates, it appears that it’ll be a close call, but the #5 position seems more likely than not.

I’ve explained before in more qualitative terms why the Tesla Model 3 is such an all-around attractive package, competing not only with the BMW 3 Series but also the Toyota Prius, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Nissan LEAF, and many other models. But what about some highlights of the specs that make the Model 3 shine so brightly on the sales charts?

In August 2017, I compared Tesla Model 3 specs to specs of 22 competitors. Some of those are ripe for an update or deserve a microphone again.

1 → 3.5 seconds — The Performance version of the Model 3 scoots to 60 mph faster than a puma. That’s also quicker than all of the model’s competitors from BMW, Mercedes, Acura, Jaguar, Audi, Lexus … you name it. In other words, if you want a quick car in this class and size, you can’t beat a Tesla Model 3 Performance. (Related: Tesla Model 3 Performance vs. Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive  — #CleanTechnica Review)

2 → 4.5 seconds — Not everyone wants to drop down 10 or 20 grand extra to shave one second off the 0–60 mph time. But even just getting the Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD will offer head-snapping 0–60 mph acceleration that is hard to find in any similarly sized and priced car. Add in the instant torque and there’s essentially nothing better except the Model 3 Performance. (Related: Tesla Model 3 Long Range Long-Term Review)

3 → 130 MPGe — If you want efficient driving, the Model 3 is close to unbeatable (it only trails the 136 MPGe Hyundai Ioniq EV in the EPA’s average overall fuel economy rating). Furthermore, it’s the absolute #1 for highway driving efficiency. The 130 MPGe rating crushes the conventional Toyota Prius (52–56 MPG), which helps to explain why the Prius is the #1 car traded in when new Tesla Model 3 buyers drop their old car in Tesla’s lap.

4 → 220/310 miles — One thing that has held back electric car adoption has been relatively short driving ranges for mass-market cars (60–130 miles on a single charge until the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 came along). The Model 3’s 220 miles of range is near the base end of adequate for “normal” people, aka the early majority. If that still has you stressing, 310 miles + access to Supercharging should be plenty to ease any concerns about driving range. This market-leading offer is clearly breaking down some barriers and bringing people into the EV fold who wouldn’t dip their toes into a Nissan LEAF, BMW i3, or even Chevy Bolt.

5 → 12 × 250m — 12 ultrasonic sensors. 250m forward-facing radar. Best autonomous-driving software in town. ‘nough said.

6 → 15 cu. ft. — Again, when comparing to other vehicles in its class, the Model 3 has storage space that’s near the top of the pack. The trunk is huge. There’s also a frunk. And unless you’re aiming to move an ogre’s bed, you’ll probably be fine with any cargo needs that pop up.

Black hole.
Got groceries? Golf clubs? Boxes of Rice Krispies Treats? Something that’s not a flamethrower but might play one on YouTube?

7 → 15 inches — This is one of the biggest enticements. It’s not just nice & large for the best backup camera display on the market, but also for superb music options, Autopilot info, air conditioning controls, and soon Netflix/YouTube streaming and Atari video games. This makes the car fun, and the software behind it makes the car one of the best rolling computers on the planet.

8 → A comfy 5 — It’s a small thing, unless it’s a requirement for you — seating for 5. Some cars seat 5, some cars pretend to. It’s clear the Model 3 — with it’s abnormally large butt — comfortably seats 5. If you want a large family or family+friends car that isn’t an SUV or a land boat (ahem, Model S), the Model 3’s spacious interior and clean skateboard floor have you covered. Plus, there’s a beautiful view of the sky. This is the family car of the 21st century.

9 → 0 — Emissions.

10 → Freakin’ Beautiful — OK, I’m breaking the rules. This is not a spec, but it’s a fact for anyone with human eyes who doesn’t have a million or billion dollars shorting Tesla [TSLA]. The Model 3 is an absolute beauty, and that is going to pull in a lot of buyers if it hasn’t done so already.

Actually, I’m reminded of the fact that the lady in line in front of us to reserve a Model 3 at 6:00am in Santa Monica was there specifically and seemingly solely because she thought the Model S was beautiful but then discovered (after Googling “T car”) that it was out of her price range. That made her get in line early one March 31st morning to put down $1,000 for a Model 3. I assume she was gleeful when she saw the car revealed later that evening.

Got more specs or explanations for the wicked high sales?

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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