Tesla unveils its electric game-changer

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Tesla Model 3

US-based electric manufacturer Tesla has unveiled its ‘most affordable car’ yet – the Model 3 – its ‘most affordable car’ yet.

With a UK selling price that could be around £35,000 before factoring in the government’s plug-in grant, the Model 3 is predicted to give the brand a credible rival to the premium fleet heavyweights of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

Dubbed by Tesla founder Elon Musk as the car he set out to build at the start, the Model 3 is a four-door saloon – effectively a downsized version of the already on-sale Model S, to a size that can challenge the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The Model 3 is said to seat five adults comfortably with interior cabin space that no rival can match, due to making use of the space usually taken up by a conventional powertrain. As a result the front row seats can be moved further forward while like the existing Model S the Model 3 also offers bootspace in both the front and rear.

The Tesla’s electric drivetrain will promise much more than compactness, however. Tesla says it will be capable of a 0-60mph time of under six seconds and crucially a range between charges of up to 215 miles – far in excess of any current production rival.

Musk, describing the car at an event staged at the Los Angeles base of Tesla’s SpaceX programme to build a reusable space rocket, says that the Model 3 is the brand’s high-volume affordable-price product developed from its three predecessors – the initial Roadster, and the Model S and X.

Tesla adds that the Model 3 boasts a five-star safety rating. Musk expects it to go on sale in the US towards the end of 2017, at prices starting from $35,000 before incentives, and the brand says that it has taken more than 115,000 deposits of $1,000 in the first 24 hours since revealing the car.

Andrew Charman

Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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