The Model 3 is the most popular Tesla vehicle on the market right now. It’s the top-selling electric car in the US this year, bar none.
And it’s dominance might just be set to expand thanks to the introduction of a new version of the Model 3 that makes it even more affordable.
So read on as we take a look at the very latest Tesla Model 3 news.
Current Tesla Models
Tesla currently has three models in production.
Covering a range of sizes from four-door up to crossover SUV, the three models come with price tags to match their size, with the Model X the most expensive, and the Model 3 the most affordable.
The Model 3 was originally going to be called the Model E, but Ford had already snagged that name. This put paid to Elon Musk’s desire that the three models would spell SEX, so he had to settle for S3X instead.
The Model X is the daddy of all Tesla models.
A full-size crossover SUV, this is the largest Tesla you can buy, and it comes with a price tag to match. The base model is the 75D with a range of 417 km and a top speed of 210 kph. It will set you back A$149,995 without optional extras.
The 100D all-wheel drive version has a range of 565 km on a single charge and a top speed of 250 kph. It can go from 0-100 kph in 4.9 seconds and comes in at A$176,885.
The P100D has a slightly shorter range, at 542km, with the same top speed. But it can get you from 0-100 kph in just 3.1 seconds. And if you want to include all the optional extras, you’ll need to pay a whopping A$260,665.
The Model S is a full-sized five-door sedan.
The base 75D model has a 490 km range; that’s about half the journey from Sydney to Brisbane on a single charge. It has a top speed of 225 kph and can do 0 -100 kpm in 4.4 seconds. It will set you back A$138,530.
The 100D model has a 632 km range and a top speed of 250kph. It can go from 0-100 kph in 4.3 seconds and costs A$170,605.
The P100D has a range of 613 km with a top speed of 250kph. It can get you from 0-100kph in just 2.7 seconds. With all the extras, the top of the range Model S will set you back A$250,595
The Model 3 is currently unavailable to purchase in Australia.
It is available to reserve, however. Deliveries are due to start in the second half of 2019. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at what the fuss is all about.
The most affordable Tesla yet is due in part to this being a mid-range model.
Previously the options were the long-range Model 3 with a range of 499 km and the performance version, which also has the same 499 km range. The newest iteration uses the same battery pack as the long-range version but uses fewer cells meaning a shorter range, but also a lower price.
There are still plans for another version of Model 3 which will have a standard battery with a different design. This version will come in even cheaper than the new mid-range Model 3 but is not expected to be available until well into 2019.
The new mid-range Model 3 is capable of 418 km on a single charge which doesn’t put it too much below the range of the cheapest Model X.
The performance and long-range versions of the Model 3 are both dual-motor all-wheel drive.
The mid-range Model 3 is only available in rear-wheel drive, another compromise that helps to lower the cost. If you’re looking for an all-wheel-drive Tesla, then you’re going to need to shell out a little more.
The performance version of the Model 3 has a top speed of 250 kph. And it is capable of going from 0-100 kph in 3.3 seconds, only a shade slower than the top-of-the-range Model X.
The long-range version of the Model 3 has a top speed of 233kph. It can go from 0-100 kph in 4.5 seconds.
The new mid-range Model 3 has a top speed of 200kph, which is still more than enough for most people’s needs. It can go from 0-100kph in 5.6 seconds making it the most sluggish of all the current Tesla models but at a much more affordable price.
If you want the enhanced autopilot, it is likely to set you back about AUD$7,000, which is the cost to add it the Model X and Model S. It’s about as close as you can get to a driverless car at the moment.
The enhanced autopilot means you go from a single camera to four for greater accuracy. It features 12 ultrasonic sonar sensors, to give complete 360-degree cover at twice the resolution of the standard system.
All of this is processed by a computer that is more than forty times more powerful than in the previous iteration. It means that your Model 3 is capable of staying within a lane by itself, changing lanes without any input from the driver, can park itself, and can drive itself out of your garage ready for you to get in.
If you don’t choose this option at the time of purchase, it costs A$10,000 to have it added later.
There is also a range of optional extras for the mid-range Model 3 that you can choose. These are mostly cosmetic but can help you to have a Tesla that stands out from the others on the road.
You can have the Tesla in any colour. As long as it’s black.
That is unless you’re willing to shell out a little more. Midnight Silver Metallic and Deep Blue Metallic are currently A$2,100 extra. Pearl White Multi-Coat will set you back A$2,800, and the Red Multi-Coat is $3,600.
The 18-inch Aero Wheels come as standard with the Model 3.
The 19-inch Sport Wheels are an optional extra. You’ll need to pay A$2,100 for the privilege. A heads up here: the larger wheels do come with a measurable decrease in the driving range that some users have put at about 10%.
You can have your Tesla interior in any colour, too. As long as it’s black again.
Unless you’re willing to part with some more of your cash, and then you can go for the black and white interior, which is about A$1,400 more. Tesla does say that this version is preferable, as it is more durable, stain-resistant, and easier to clean.
Both versions come with the same set up which includes heated seating, a premium audio system, tinted roof, satellite maps with live traffic information, 4 USB ports and docking for two smartphones.
The big buzz around the new mid-range Tesla 3 is the price.
The exact cost in Australia has yet to be confirmed. But for the sake of comparison, the standard performance version of the Model 3 costs US$64,000 in America. The long-range version comes in at US$53,000 for the basic feature set.
The mid-range Model 3 is currently selling for US$46,000. When you consider that the cheapest Model S you can get costs US$78,000 it is clear that this is by far the most affordable Tesla yet.
If you’ve got a little extra money, and want to throw in all the bells and whistles, the price to max out your mid-range Model 3 with the most expensive options would be US$56,000. For that price, you can have the red finish, sports wheels, black and white interior, and the enhanced autopilot.
Should You Buy It?
If you’ve always wanted a Tesla but don’t have money to burn, then this might finally be the right time to take the plunge.
But if you are thinking about buying an electric car now, remember that Tesla promised a basic version of the Model 3 that would start at USD$35,000 something that it expects to release, although how long that will take is still unclear. It is due to be unveiled in 2019, but as with all cutting-edge technology, these dates are never concrete.
For now, if you’re looking for the most affordable Tesla out there, the mid-range Model 3 is the car for you.
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