Just before midnight tonight, Tesla will show the world its future. For years, the company, but mostly its fans, have been hyping the new Model 3 to be a battery electric vehicle that will finally change everything. Here is what we predict.
Tesla Model 3 – The Vehicle
Our expectation is for a Model 3 with a style similar to that of a 4/6ths scale Model S. The company’s signature look (which was Aston Martin’s signature look prior to the Model S) will carry on. It is a fantastic design and Tesla would be crazy to go too far off the reservation. The Model 3 will be available in a few different variations, just like the Model S is, but we won’t get firm details tonight. We expect that Tesla will cherry pick the specifications of what the Model 3 can be configured as. The Longest range, fastest 0-60 time, and most thoroughly optioned vehicle will be discussed, and in the same breath, Tesla will use the lowest possible cost it can imagine a buyer paying.
Tesla Model 3 – The Price
Although we would be surprised if Tesla provided any firm pricing, the car is two years away from being sold, we expect Tesla will highlight its “starting price.” Under $40K is pretty much guaranteed. Musk may hide the MSRP in his overview by adding in “Savings from rebates and incentives.” He may even go further and include imaginary savings from fuel costs and one's time, just as Tesla did when the company first launched its Model S cost calculator. Our guess is as follows for the late-2017 Model 3’s MSRP:
- Launch Edition $49,000 without options packages not including delivery
- Launch Edition $61,000 including delivery, all options, included maintenance package, and included no-fee supercharger access
Vehicles available for sale to the public in late 2018 without a reservation may come down to a base Model 3 in price range of about $44,000 MSRP. We would say there is a 50-50 chance that will come to pass. Our estimates above are cutting it close, not conservative. A conservative estimate would add about $3K to all of these prices. As we stated above, expect the phrase “…only cost a buyer $35,000…” to be used in the reveal, but don’t expect specifics on when that vehicle will be available for sale or what incentives and rebates are factored into that.
Tesla Model 3 – When Can You Get One
Tesla has already provided a guideline for when you can buy a Model 3. If you are not a current owner of a Models S or Model X, don’t reserve yours this week, and don’t live in California, the soonest you should expect to be able to find a Model 3 for sale will be around early summer of 2018. A little more than two years away. Given Tesla’s track record for launches, an added three to six months would be a safe cushion. Plentiful base-model stock available for immediate delivery may not start until 2019.
Don't be surprised if Tesla shows off a crossover derivative of the Model 3. Sedans have jumped the shark and by 2020 we will have all moved on. Tesla knows this. A half-hour from April fools day the world will finally get a look at the much-hyped Model 3. Is the timing a coincidence? You can watch the live reveal starting at 11:30 Eastern time, 8:30 Pacific right here.
Image of Tesla Model S taken by John Goreham