Back in April of 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to the stage at a keynote to unveil what would be a revolution for the electric car industry. On stage, Musk introduced and gave owners their first glimpse of the Model 3, a low cost option of the pricier performance-oriented Model S electric sedan.
Interested customers could head to a pre-order page which opened up an hour before launch. Indeed, Tesla and SpaceX employees were allowed to make reservation a whole two weeks before the general public.
And those orders sure did stack up quickly despite the $1000 booking amount for what is expected to be a $35,000 electric vehicle (EV). In just the first week, Tesla announced that it had received more than 3,25,000 orders for its Model 3 sedan. The surprising bit here is that the general public who had access to the pre-order page, were ready to throw their money on a car that had yet to see. Clearly, everyone was interested in the low price, and they knew that it was coming from a reputed company from the EV space and it was spearheaded by the icon, Elon Musk. Not everything happened online, in the US, people even camped out overnight waiting in long queues to hand over their deposit amounts for the new EV outside Tesla Motors Inc. Customer were literally handing over deposits for car that was expected to roll out by "late 2017".
So what did Elon Musk unveil up on stage? Well, it was a Model 3 prototype and not the actual production car. Back then manufacturing was yet to commence
In October 2016, Tesla Motor Inc's shares rose by more than 5 percent. While the news came as a reassurance to customers as CEO Elon Musk said that the plan did not require any funding.
However, the company soon began to fall back on deliveries. A Reuters report pointed out that the inclusion of the Autopilot driving feature had slown down production of the Model S with the company falling short by 2,800 deliveries. Demand of Tesla vehicles however, did not seem to drop.
What we know
Until June this year, there was barely any information about the Model 3 apart from the usual sightings of production cars being tested.
Things however got clearer when the sightings in June started to rise with the Tesla Model 3 cars showing up all around Silicon Valley.
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One thing's for sure. The design sure looks finalised with the production ready model looking very similar to the prototype design.
There are about three wheel options. A single silver one and two black, matte-finished rims.
Just recently a group of three Model 3 cars were spotted by Reddit user "inamachineshop" (first reported by Electrek). These were reportedly release candidates, out for Sunday drive in Silicon Valley.
Which is when customers who had booked their Model 3 EVs got their first glimpse of the almost production ready interiors.
The interiors look different from what customers have come to expect from other Tesla models. There's a standard steering wheel but the traditional (digital instrument cluster) seems to be missing.
All the information seems to be displayed on a massive infotainment screen that sits at the center of the dashboard.
Another detail that Electrek pointed out was that the gear lever selection behind the steering wheel now includes Autopilot as a driver mode similar to the standard Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive.
Indeed we near closer to the roll out, more details about its performance and range should pop up as well.
As reported by Clean Technica, the Tesla had earlier shared that deliveries of the Model 3 should begin in July.
Production has been ramped up and this will result in thousands of models being manufactured and out for delivery by the end of July. Production is expected to ramp up in the 4th quarter of 2017, with Tesla adding the AWD version by the 1st quarter of 2018.
The roll out and delivery plan is not official. Still then the latest information points to the first few thousand deliveries going to SpaceX and Tesla employees. Next in line would be Tesla owners followed by non-Tesla owners and then internationally. Indeed, it looks like it will take a while till the model reaches Indian shores. But customers who pre-booked should not mind as the infrastructure has yet to be put into place.
Last we heard, Tesla was in discussion with the Indian government, requesting temporary relief on import penalties/restrictions until a local factory is built. Indeed, these would not be for locally manufactured Tesla EVs, but instead would be for the battery plants and for Tesla's electric products.
Musk had earlier responded on Twitter that Tesla would launch in India in the summer of 2017. Indeed his response could not come at a better time, as the government is looking to go green with a plan to go completely electric by 2030.
Updated Date: Jun 19, 2017 15:44 PM