What to expect from Tesla as the Model 3 hits the road


What to expect from Tesla as the Model 3 hits the road

The first 30 Tesla Model 3s are officially being delivered to their owners later today, meaning there’s a non-zero chance you’ll see them on roads in California, and not for testing. Gradually, that number of Model 3s on real streets driven by people just going about their daily lives will grow, and Tesla says it hopes to be producing 100 in August, then 1,500 by September, and as many as 20,000 per month beginning in December.

We know the planned production schedule, but we still don’t know everything about the car itself. Tesla is limiting configuration options on early Model 3 shipments, with the aim of simplifying the production process to help expedite its creation and make sure things go as smoothly as possible, but we don’t yet know what the Model 3 configuration options that are available will look like, beyond Musk’s assertion that you’ll basically be able to choose paint colour and wheel size, and that’s about it.

We have a comparison chart between the Model 3 and Model S that reveal the Model 3 will have a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.6 seconds, “215+” miles of range per charge, 5 seats, 14 cubic feet of trunk space between front and rear compartments, and under 100 total possible configurations. It’ll also have a single 15-inch touchscreen display in the center console, instead of the 17-inch one in the Model S (and added driver display in the instrument panel).

We’re hoping to get a better look at the car overall during tonight’s handoff ceremony, including close-up views of the exterior, and a lot more insight into what’s going on inside the car, since thus far Tesla has kept the vehicle’s interior relatively close to the vest. The cockpit and dash design will be particularly interesting to potential drivers.

The big remaining questions that need answer, though, are pretty basic: What’s the Model 3 going to cost, and what are the specifics of its motors and batteries, and the options available in that respect to prospective owners?

It’s both astounding and impressive that Tesla has received over 400,000 orders to date, with a production queue that extends to at least the end of 2018 for any new orders placed currently – for a car for which buyers don’t know the specific final cost or specs. Tesla has received plenty of plaudits for its brand power, but the Apple-like ability of the automaker to get consumers to come out in droves and plunk down money for a future product based on little to no information has, if anything, been understated.

Tonight’s handover event is bound to result in one thing, for sure: Happy Tesla Model 3 owners. But hopefully it’ll also provide some clarity about the car itself, and what future owners beyond this small initial group can expect when their number comes due.

Tune in this evening, via live stream or right here on TechCrunch to find out right along with us.

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