Early last year, the tease began. After ten years of Teslas, Elon Musk announced that he was ready to make one for the masses. With a promised range of 215 miles and a base model able to do 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds, people clambered to preorder one. Despite the date showing on the calendar, over 130,000 people were convinced that they would be nobody’s fool when they plunked down $1000 each on April 1st for the promise of a new Tesla Model 3.
All Part of the Plan
In 2006, Musk laid out the “Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan” in a blog on the Tesla website. In a very candid essay, he compared his vision for the electric car with the ones that were in service at that time. The blog contains much information about the advantages of electric cars (especially the ones he planned to build) over those powered by fossil fuel and ends with this amazingly distilled version of the plan that will become a reality next Friday:
- Build sports car
- Use that money to build an affordable car
- Use that money to build an even more affordable car
- While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options
- Don’t tell anyone.
Not only is Musk a creative inventor genius, but he’s also a marketing whiz. Everyone knows the best way to spread the word about something is to tell someone that it is a secret.
So What’s the Big Deal about Friday?
Fridays this July are a pretty big deal in Tesla-land. Working ahead of schedule, “serial number one” Model 3 Tesla rolled off the assembly line. On Friday the 28th, the first 30 Model 3’s will go home with their new owners. Learning as they go, Musk says that production rates will grow exponentially and projects 100 completions in August, over 1500 in September and as many as 20,000 a month by December.
Will It Be Worth the Wait?
18 to 24 months is a long time to wait between down payment and driveway. However, the features of the Model 3 are impressive. The car is available in both rear wheel and all wheel drive versions, and there is a 15-inch touchscreen inside. All safety features will be active automatically, and autopilot hardware is included as a standard part of the package. If you get bored while the car is busy driving itself, you will be allowed a panoramic view of your surroundings as the entire roof of the car is glass.
Musk also promises that the Model 3 will carry five adults comfortably (and he emphasizes “comfortably”) and that the car will have more cargo capacity than any gas powered car with the same external dimensions. Allegedly there is enough room to accommodate a 7-foot surfboard inside.
If Tesla is to represent the transportation of the future, it has a long way to go. The infrastructure required to support thousands of one-of-a-kind vehicles is massive but, from all indications, Elon Musk and company are equal to the task.