Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that a hot variant of the new electric BMW 3 Series rival is due in mid-2018
Sam Sheehan
30 November 2017

The Tesla Model 3 can drive for up to 310 miles on a single charge, according to official tests carried out by US regulator the Environmental Protection Agency.

This figure, which applies to the Long Range variant, matches the number Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed would be possible at the car's reveal in July. The car, on display at the LA motor show, is available with 50kWh or 75kWh batteries.

The standard Model 3 costs from $35,000 (£26,650). It has a claimed range of 220 miles, hits 0-60mph in 5.6sec and has a top speed of 130mph. The Long Range model costs from $44,000 (£33,500), can do 0-60mph in 5.1sec and has a 140mph top speed.

No details of UK pricing or delivery dates in 2019 have been revealed yet, but the entry-level price is expected to be just over £30,000 after the £4500 government grant for zero-emissions vehicles is applied. That will pitch the Model 3 against the likes of the Audi A4BMW 3 SeriesJaguar XE and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in terms of pricing and size.

A Performance variant is due in 2018, but Musk has previously stated that a more powerful 100kWh battery (which is the standard battery for Tesla Performance models) would not fit into the Model 3's smaller structure. This suggests Tesla may only slightly increase the battery size of the current range-topping 75kWh version of the Model 3.

Musk refrained from revealing more about the Model 3 Performance's potential, but the hot model is expected to stick to Tesla's usual range-topping formula of using a dual-motor, four-wheel drive powertrain. The Model 3 is more than 400kg lighter than the Model S, so it could be quicker than the Performance version of that car.

The Model 3 Performance is due to be launched in the middle of next year, so long as the brand can cater for the high level of demand it has so far experienced for the new electric BMW 3 Series rival.

In a tweet earlier this year, Musk said the "focus now is on getting out of Model 3 production hell". But he explained that adding more versions now would push the brand "deeper in hell" - suggesting it would delay the Performance's launch until output was comfortably meeting demand.

Model 3 owners will not get free access to the Tesla Supercharger high-speed charging system, with the company planning to charge for electricity as demand grows and it requires more investment to build up the network of chargers.

Musk handed over the first customer Model 3 to its owner at the car's launch event in summer, where he also pledged to meet the massive customer demand with an ambitious production schedule.

Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada, US, is handling production of the Model 3. It fell short of expected output when a supply issue arose, with just 220 Model 3s delivered in the third quarter of 2017, far below the 1500 predicted by the company.

Once the production issues are sorted, the plan is for the Gigafactory to be able to produce 20,000 cars per month. However, production of right-hand-drive models won't begin until 2019. If Tesla hits its planned production of 500,000 cars a year from the factory, analysts predict that it will outsell BMWMercedes-Benz and Lexus in the US.

Prospective Tesla Model 3 owners tell us why they're buying one

Tesla recently launched its Semi lorry and a new Roadster, following an injection of $1 billion (around £800 million) worth of investment into the company - something Musk has previously said would help the company meet high demand for the Model 3. To date, Tesla has taken more than 500,000 pre-orders for the Model 3, with Musk saying that those cars should all be delivered before the end of 2018.

"If you order a car today, it should be with you at the end of 2018," he said, referring to left-hand-drive Model 3s.

Tesla has raised capital to help production and ease the financial risk associated with the production run. This has led to a rise in its share price and has been further boosted by reports of its future model plans, including the Model Y compact SUV, according to New York financiers.

However, some analysts still question Tesla's ability to ramp up from producing around 80,000 cars in the past year to 250,000 in the next 12 months. The brand posted a loss of £468 million in the last financial quarter, although this was linked to heavy investment and production issues.

Read our Tesla Model X road test

Read more - Tesla's Gigafactory in numbers

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Comments
46

24 February 2017
By the time Tesla starts producing a million cars a year - projected 2020 - it would have moved the transport world away from the fossil fuels by quite a bit.

3 July 2017
It's peanuts in this industry and makes me wonder why people - hacks and readers - give Elon Musk such an easy ride. Any other motor industry CEO is treated with some degree of scepticism, and if Musk was in any industry except this one he'd be written off online as a tax-avoiding fat-cat scumbag rather than the People's Hero.

3 July 2017
Byzantine wrote:

if Musk was in any industry except this one

You're joking, right? Please tell me you are joking.

4 July 2017
But there are billionaires the public love to hate and billionaires whom they love and forgive for the precisely the same qualities - and whom they believe are infallible and will somehow save the world. None of the reporting of Tesla is anything like the coverage other companies gets. Little scrutiny, almost zero scepticism, just join the queue to say what a hero he is and to accept as truth anything we're old.

7 July 2017
Byzantine wrote:

But there are billionaires the public love to hate and billionaires whom they love and forgive for the precisely the same qualities - and whom they believe are infallible and will somehow save the world. None of the reporting of Tesla is anything like the coverage other companies gets. Little scrutiny, almost zero scepticism, just join the queue to say what a hero he is and to accept as truth anything we're old.

Maybe it's because he's offering a vision that people believe in? (400K deposits) He and VW have turned the auto industry upside down in the last couple of years .. a shake up that's been a long time coming , especially for the German OEMs.

10 July 2017
Exactly. Tesla has been subjected to much scrutiny (Autocar included) but customers and investors have bet on the company in a big way.

29 July 2017

This is just the start. Expect to see many more EV's in the road in the coming years. And many more manufacturers competing with Tesla. Time to embrace the future and ditch the old fossils that we currently drive.

30 November 2017

You are some kind of twit I cant put a name to

3 July 2017
fadyady wrote:

By the time Tesla starts producing a million cars a year - projected 2020 - it would have moved the transport world away from the fossil fuels by quite a bit.

Even if that happens, it's only 1.3% of global passenger car sales, and doesn't even take into account commercial vehicles. Also, much of the power for charging EVs still comes from fossil fuels. Interesting if it happens, but it's not changing much.

4 July 2017
steve-p wrote:

Also, much of the power for charging EVs still comes from fossil fuels. Interesting if it happens, but it's not changing much.

Three things:

1. Fossil fuels account for less than half of the national grid in Britain.

2. The vast majority of fossil fuel on the grid is natural gas, which produces less than half the CO2 of coal.

3. Electric motors are several times more efficient than combustion engines. So even if an EV is running on pure coal (unlikely), there's still a mild CO2 improvement over most petrol/diesel engines. Not to mention the arguably more important factor that the cars don't produce NOx, CO or tailpipe particulates.

As for how much it changes, Tesla's just the one company. 500k or a million cars may not be much, but the question is how much EV uptake it incites in other manufacturers.

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