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.