For many owners, one of the most appealing features of the Tesla Model S is its neck-snapping acceleration – with the optional Ludicrous Mode the sedan capable of launching from 0 to 60 in around 2.8 seconds.
While the new Tesla Model 3 will nearly match the range of some versions of the bigger sedan, don’t expect to see it come close when it comes to performance. What appear to be official Tesla figures indicate the new battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, will need about 5.6 seconds to nudge 60. That’s faster than the rival Chevrolet Bolt EV, but just barely, and more in line with what some comparably-sized gas-powered vehicles can deliver.
Early EVs were battery-powered stone ponies, barely able to get out of their own way, the little Mitsubishi MiEV, for example, needing a full 13 seconds to get to 60. That’s a key reason, industry analysts suggest, that demand for those first-generation electrics was so poor. By boosting range and performance, however, buyers finally to be sitting up and taking notice.
When it comes to range, it appears Tesla will do slightly better than the 200 miles it originally promised, the new data suggesting it will get 215 miles on a charge. That’s less than the 238 miles that the EPA gives the Chevy Bolt, however.
That said, range and performance numbers are for the base version of the Model S, which will carry a starting price of around $35,000 before factoring in delivery fees and any applicable state and federal incentives. The Bolt, meanwhile, starts at $36,200 with delivery but ahead of those incentives.
The Tesla Model 3 will offer a number of options, though far fewer than the big Model S which, according to the Silicon Valley automaker can be ordered in about 1,500 different configurations, or 15 times more than the new BEV. The list of options is expected to include a longer-range battery and possibly some higher-performance capabilities, though it is unclear if Tesla will ultimately add a Ludicrous Mode to the Model 3 checklist, as well.
Among the options Tesla plans to offer are:
- Updated Autopilot system with full self-driving capabilities
- Optional glass roof
- Choice of 18″ or 19″ wheels.
Though Tesla is likely yet to add more options, missing from the new list are the air suspension, HEPA air filter and 21-inch wheels available for the Model S.
(Click Here to find out why Consumer Reports upgraded its rating of the Tesla Model S.)
Perhaps the most important detail is that Tesla is holding to its announced plan for putting the Model 3 into production sometime in July – with retail sales set to begin some months later. Whether the carmaker will pull that off is the sort of question that bookies like. It would mark the first time since the debut of the original Tesla Roadster if the company hits its production target. The Model X was a full two years late to roll down the line.
Other subjects that are worth a bet:
- Will Tesla finally launch a vehicle with world-class quality and reliability? It has taken numerous hits for problems with the Models S and X, and the electric SUV still lags behind key luxury midsize utes more than a year after its introduction, according to Consumer Reports;
- Will Tesla be able to meet the ambitious production ramp-up plans outlined by CEO Elon Musk?
With the company hinting it already has around 400,000 advance registrations in hand, getting the Fremont, California assembly line up to speed as soon as possible will be critical. Tesla has said it aims to be rolling out 5,000 Model 3 sedans a week before the end of 2017, with production set to double next year.
Those are a lot of things to do right, and what actually happens will likely have a significant impact on the maker’s earnings – and its stock price which closed Thursday at $335.10. That gives the carmaker a market capitalization better than that of U.S. rivals Ford and General Motors – even though Tesla has earned a profit during only two quarters since going public.
(Click Here to see what was behind Tesla’s bigger-than-expected Q1 losses.)
Industry analysts have, in many cases, gone to different corners, some warning that this high-flying stock could come crashing down if there are any problems with the Model 3 roll-out. At the other extreme Baird Equity Research issued an investor alert this week suggesting TSLA shares haven’t come close to their peak, predicting Tesla should “have an easier time selling the Model 3 than previous vehicles.”
The research report added that Tesla “is now a household name, which should lead to increased consumer demand for the Model 3, Model Y” and other Tesla products to come. The Model Y, which will share the same platform as the Model 3, will be a downsized version of the Model X. Tesla has also said it is working on a battery pickup and an electric semi-truck, the latter to be unveiled in September.
(Study finds high rate of injuries at Tesla Fremont assembly plant. Click Here for the story.)