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Tesla Model 3: everything we know after the unveil, safety, range, charging [Gallery + Video]


Tesla CEO Elon Musk walked on stage tonight with a smile on his face after over 100,000 people reserved his company’s new vehicle without even having seen it. After going through his secret master plan again to set up the Model 3 as the “next logical step”, he revealed a few specs before unveiling the car itself.

The car is absolutely stunning and exactly like we described in our exclusive leak yesterday:

“It looks like a smaller hybrid of the Model X and S. It is a bit taller sedan with a unique front that looks more like a Model X than a Model S. The car is shorter and narrower than either the model X or S but is described as “sexy and sporty”.

The fascia is indeed reminiscent of the Model X’s, but combined with the headlights, it gives the 3 its unique look.

Also, we now learn that the car has an all-glass roof, which is good from both a design standpoint and for headroom.


As usual, Tesla focused on safety first and Musk expects the Model 3 will achieve a five-star rating in each NTHSA category like its predecessors, the S and X. Even though smaller than the S, it still has a front trunk (frunk), which also acts as a useful crumple zone in case of an accident.

The car’s chassis is made with both aluminum and steel, but less aluminum than the S and X.

As we predicted, the Model 3 will come standard with Autopilot hardware and all active safety features including automatic emergency braking and steering.


In our exclusive leak, we confirmed that the high-end version of the Model 3 will have over 300 miles of range, but Elon Musk didn’t address the higher-version at all today and instead focused on the base version which he described as “the best car you can buy for $35,000” – electric or not.

Musk estimates that the base Model 3 will have around 215 miles of EPA-rated range and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. We revealed that the higher-end version will make 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds.

But as Musk said, it was only the “part 1” of the Model 3 unveiling. the second part will be closer to the start of production next year:

[tweet align=’center’]

The Model 3 will also come standard with rear wheel drive and all-wheel drive as an option, but Musk already confirmed that last year.

First Drive in the Tesla Model 3:


The Model 3 will come standard with Supercharger access. I literally sighed in relief when Musk said it. This might be the biggest news out of the event. Not only we get a compelling $35,000 electric car with over 200 miles of range, but unlike the Chevy Bolt for example, it will be able to handle road trips with standard DC fast-charging.

Musk didn’t confirm the rate it will be able to handle, but the Superchargers can already charge at 135 kW.

Tesla also confirmed that it will significantly increase the number of Superchargers and Destination chargers around the world during the next 2 years: double to 7,000 Superchargers and quadruple to 15,000 Destination chargers.



The interior features one large touchscreen and is extremely minimalist, but I wouldn’t count on this design finding its way in the production version –  especially since Tesla doesn’t feature any interior picture in its promo shots.

The Model X alpha prototype was also featuring a similar design and a center screen sticking out of the dash, but it didn’t make it to production. Of course, it could be different for the Model 3.


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  1. MorinMoss - 7 years ago

    There was some discussion whether “Supercharing is standard” = “Supercharging is FREE”. Not sure what the consensus is on that yet.

    • Fred Lambert - 7 years ago

      standard = included in the base price of the car – which is not really free

      • MorinMoss - 7 years ago

        Including it in the car’s base price is fair but that makes it tougher to hit the $35k target and Elon has thrown that number around too often to walk it back.
        Not to mention his comment last night that “even without options, it’s still a great car”

    • QC - 7 years ago

      Supercharging hardware comes as standard, but this leaves the pricing of charging unanswered. Two options comes to mind:
      I) Free – but monitored, so you can only use when the car is taken for a longer ride outside home area + You can charge nearby for a $/kWh fee
      II) Price per kWh for all Model 3s

      • I understood it as being “free” as in lifetime use included in the 35K$ price. I don’t think it’s going to be monitored very heavily either. Some people may find themselves in a situation where they need to supercharge even though their car is close to their home. Sounds very impractical if this wasn’t possible. Then again – if they see that some users supercharge all the time, when they could be charging at home, these people may be contacted. Charging per kWh could be practical in that the car can be tied to your Tesla account and money drawn seamlessly from your account without any big changes to software. If they want to get any extra money for supercharging over 35K$, this would be the best idea – as this function is mostly meant for road trips – and some people only go on road trips a few times a year anyway.

        I guess we’ll just have to wait for a final clarification on the matter.

      • Kevin Lee - 7 years ago

        Yes to truly advance sustainable transportation you need to add a cost to charge so that people who can charge at home do not hog superchargers. Price has to be reasonable so that those living in apts can add juice w/o being gouged.

    • Jens - 7 years ago

      Frankly, I don’t care, wether I have to pay for charging or not. The important Part is, that I can take a long trip with nothing more than a coffeebreak every two or three hours.

    • freedomev - 7 years ago

      Let’s remember most of EV’s can be charged for life by under $1k worth of PV OEM. Plus you can go straight from the panels to the battery leaving out a lot of losses.
      As for details I’m disappointed not much we didn’t already know other than it’s actual looks. I’d like specs like the battery pack, motors, weight as a minimum.
      Not thrilled by the glass roof which in the south is going to drain the pack keeping it cool. Though like the Bolt’s, it likely won’t survive the production version.

      • Nathanael - 7 years ago

        The glass roof will be fine in hot areas — it’s multiple layers of anti-UV — but it’ll lose huge amounts of heat in *cold* areas, which will drain the pack. This is already a problem for Model S and Model X.

      • teslafan1 - 7 years ago

        One of the engineers said you’ll be able to choose between a fixed glass roof, sunroof option, or a steel roof.
        Check out the 5th video on electrek’s model 3 video roundup.

      • freedomev - 7 years ago

        Thank you teslafan.

  2. Neat coverage. I went up 5 in the morning to see it live and it was really exciting. After learning the amount of people who’d put their money down for a reservation I’m happy I did it yesterday.

    Someone said that it is reminiscent of a Porche Panamera and I agree. I think Tesla settled for an amazing design!

  3. I have no proof, just my memory, but JB Straubel once said SC will be free up to 1million Tesla cars… anything further, could be for a $ charge.

  4. Bradley - 7 years ago

    I’m pre-ordered, but that dash needs to change. If there is no instrument cluster, I’m avoiding this model. Otherwise, it seems great. The design of the center screen isn’t the best, but I can overlook that. …But I can’t stand not having a cluster.

    • Andrew Boter Bugenis - 7 years ago

      Interior will definitely change (I love the cupholder covers, keeps it nice and aerdynamic inside /s), but if they don’t put an actual gauge cluser somewhere, they’d at least need to have a HUD on the windshield (which would be an awesome way to keep a minimalist look).

      • James Rowland - 7 years ago

        We’re looking at alpha-stage validation prototypes here, not mules. They are typically very close to produciton intent.

        Maybe a HUD will be announced at Reveal #2. I sure hope there’s something…

      • MorinMoss - 7 years ago

        Was there any hint as to when the next reveal would be? This year or next?

    • Jean Patou - 7 years ago

      Totally agree! The current design is awful! Will not buy unless they fix it!

    • Sam Palmisano - 7 years ago

      OMG. You all are right. Took a closer look at the blank dash board and an iPad at the center it reminds me of a lab model. More close to a Disney design. Must must fix!!! Elon, you can do better than that!

  5. Jens - 7 years ago

    Did anybody see the trunk? With the big panoramic roof, I’m not too confident, the trunk opening will suit my needs. May have to wait for the MY after all?

    • Bob NIckson - 7 years ago

      I’m really anxious to see that open. I think it must hinge at the glass joint, which will be kind of amazing, but possibly not very practical in snowy/rainy climes.

      • Jens - 7 years ago

        I’m afraight, the glass will mit move at all. There is a little gap in the rear pillar, about where the rear seats are. That suggests, that only the metal part moves. Which would leave only a very small opening. :/

      • Nathanael - 7 years ago

        Jens, reports are that you are correct about the trunk. 🙁

    • althealelia - 7 years ago

      If seems quite similar to the Scion tC which I currently own, which has an all-glass roof, but still has a metal frame that allows hinging to open like a hatchback. Tons of storage room. Not sure on the frame for M3….. It appeared pretty bare min in the unveil video….

  6. Greg - 7 years ago

    Second that, Bradley

  7. František Kubiš Jr. - 7 years ago

    I hope they will add at least basic digital speedo in the dash, I don’t like that 1 display to rule them all… But besides that, considering placing reservation…

  8. Michael Konen - 7 years ago

    First of all, thank you electrek! Y’all seem to be the only ones that actually do research before publishing an article. Rather than the rest of those out there that are in the continuous circle of citing other click bait articles. I may only click on Tesla articles written by electrek in the future!

    Now to the real question. How any Model 3s are they expecting to produce once they’re at full capacity? I thought it was in the presentation last night, but the number I seem to remember is really high (500K/year). How long did it take MS to get to full capacity? Is Model X there yet? Essentially I’m trying to figure out if Tesla can crank through the backlog of the original 100K-150K once they hit their 200K unit in 2 quarters. That would allow everyone that reserved yesterday to get the full $7.5K in tax credit. Of course no one knows for sure, but just seeming what other’s estimates were. Thanks.

  9. alberto - 7 years ago

    How much would it cost to add a charging port at your home? for the new model 3

    • James Rowland - 7 years ago

      In most cases, getting a high-power wall connector is pretty cheap (a few hundred USD or equivalent). Depending on where you live, there may be incentives available too.


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