Kai Sherwin, Editor-in-Chief
Tesla has just revolutionized the car industry. Last Wednesday, CEO of Tesla Elon Musk unveiled the long-awaited Model 3. The Model 3 is the company’s first relatively cheap electric car, as its base sales price is $35,000. In comparison, the Model S’s starts at $69,000. Tesla states that the Model 3 can achieve “215 miles of range per charge” with the “highest safety ratings in every category”. It also comes packed with other noticeable Tesla features such as its brisk acceleration (0-60 mph in under six seconds), autopilot safety features, and supercharging capabilities.
There are two aspects of the Model 3 that are unique to previous models. First, the car has a newly designed panoramic sunroof that adds light and a sense of airiness to the car’s cabin. Second, Tesla has created a more advanced dashboard where a single, huge, touchscreen sits right where the instrument panel should be; everything, including the speedometer, is there. Besides the standard steering wheel controls, there is no presence of a physical button or control anywhere else in the car.
According to CNN, Tesla received 200,000 orders on the first day, 115,000 of which were orders before the car was even unveiled. Since Wednesday, Model 3 orders are now past 232,000, according to Musk. He estimated that the average car would sell for $42,000 because of the optional features. But, large incentives could drop that price down as much as $10,000.
The market has reacted incredibly to the Model 3’s announcement. Tesla has already made $8 billion in sales from its new product. The company’s shares rose 3.4% the day after the unveiling. This feat is magnified by the fact that Tesla’s stock was down more than 40% year-to-date in mid February, raising pressure and scrutiny. Low oil and gas prices had people questioning the viability of a mass market electric car. Despite the preliminary success of the Model 3, Tesla is still very much in debt. In fact, according to CNBC, Tesla has lost more than $4000 on every car it has sold to date. Although sales remain steady, annual losses in 2015 tripled to $900 million.
Elon Musk hopes that the Model 3 will help push sales to 500,000 vehicles per year by 2020. Tesla is planning to increase assembly capacity through the creation of the Gigafactory, a massive battery plant being built in Nevada. But only time will tell whether the Model 3 can be the catalysis for the mass transition to electric cars.