Here’s the latest news on the Tesla Model 3, including specs and performance

Tesla Model 3 production on track to meet quarterly projections

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the most anticipated vehicles of all time. The Californian company received nearly 400,000 pre-orders, worth upward of $10 billion, simply by showing off a close-to-production prototype. No other automaker has ever pulled off such a feat.

That’s because the all-electric Model 3 is what electric-car fans from all over the globe have been waiting for since the launch of the original Roadster — a Tesla designed and built for the masses. Production started ahead of schedule, and on July 28 of last year, Tesla delivered the first 30 cars during a special event at its headquarters. The Model 3 should already be crisscrossing the nation’s roads, but significant production problems have forced Tesla to delay high-volume production.

From its range and features to its price and launch date, here’s everything we know about it.

Delays aren’t the end of the world

According to Electrek, Tesla has fallen behind its weekly goal of producing 6.000 Model 3s a week, but is still on track to meet its quarterly projections of 50,000 to 55,000 Model 3s for the third quarter of this year.

Electrek reports that Tesla produced about 4,300 Model 3s in the final week of August. Overall, the company has produced more than 34,700 Model 3s this quarter. Assuming the company manages to produce at least 4,300 Model 3s a week during the month of September, it would be able to meet its stated goals for this quarter. If the firm can ramp up production to 6,000 Model 3s a week then it could actually exceed its quarterly expectations.

A new ‘Track Mode’

If you’re debating between a Tesla and a BMW for your next car purchase, Elon Musk may have something up his sleeve that’ll turn you toward his car company. Tesla is apparently working on a new “track mode” that will let you exercise fuller control over the car without having any driver assist programs trying to “correct” your actions.

As Tesla describes it, “Select Track Mode to enable Tesla’s performance-oriented stability control and powertrain settings configured for track driving. This mode is designed to be used exclusively on closed courses. For the best experience, only progress to track mode once familiar with the track.”

In essence, it will allow you to do some neat Fast and Furious-esque tricks, like drifting and oversteering. In short, not something that you’ll want to do all the time, but a neat feature for car fanatics to have access to. You can check out what the feature looks like in the video below.

An accelerated timeline

The days of waiting years on end for your Tesla appear to be slowly coming to a close. Now that the Model 3 production line is back up and running at an accelerated rate, new customers could get their cars in as little as a month. According to an update on Tesla’s website, if you’re interested in purchasing either the Long Range RWD or Performance dual-motor models, you’re only expected to wait one to three months for delivery. While that’s still not ultra-speedy, it’s considerably faster than the timelines prospective Tesla buyers had previously experienced.

Don’t get too excited about this, though — if you want a standard battery model, you’re still six to nine months away from getting your car. But all the same, Tesla’s decision to update its timeline suggests that it’s quickly taking care of its pre-order backlog, and is now able to focus on bringing in new customers.

Recently, founder Elon Musk said that Tesla is looking to up its production cadence to 6,000 Model 3s per week by next month.

The anti ‘anti-selling’ strategy

Now that the production woes that have plagued the Tesla Model 3 for much of its short history seem to be largely in check, the company is beginning to rethink its previous marketing strategy, which CEO Elon Musk once said involved doing “everything we can to not sell the car.” Although this may have made sense a few months ago, the executive is likely changing his tune, and sources have told Electrek that Tesla is “starting to build” its test drive fleet across North America, and offering incentives to dealers that are selling the Model 3 in Performance trim.

Of course, Tesla has never been one for flashy marketing or ostentatious offers, and generally depends upon its stores and word of mouth to drive sales. However, this could be changing for the more accessible Model 3, which was meant to attract more buyers in the first place.

Pricing and availability

The entry-level Tesla Model 3 costs $35,000 before the $7,500 federal tax credit and local incentives are factored in. Buyers can pay extra for additional features such as a bigger battery pack (which is a $9,000 option), the Premium Upgrades package, Enhanced Autopilot, 19-inch wheels, and metallic paint colors.

The Tesla Model 3 is the company’s most important model because it will make or break the brand; getting it right the first time is crucial. Consequently, the first cars went to reservation holders who work at SpaceX or at Tesla. Musk expected his employees would be more tolerant of the issues that often plague new cars early on in the production run than customers coming from brands like Audi and Mercedes-Benz. With these sorted out, the company has started customer deliveries.

Tesla raised $1.2 billion to launch the Model 3 and it went to great lengths to avoid costly delays — it all looked good on paper, too, but things haven’t exactly gone as planned. Series production started on July 7 of 2017, and in a post on his personal Twitter account, Musk predicted about 1,500 would be assembled in September, and 20,000 in December. That meant many reservation holders wouldn’t get their car until 2018 at the earliest.

Unfortunately, however, that timeline has been delayed. Tesla made 2,025 examples of the Model 3 during the last week of March. Wired adds production totaled 9,766 examples during the first quarter of 2018, which averages out to about 800 cars per week. Bloomberg made a Model 3 tracker that provides production information.

However, Tesla has finally ramped up production to 3,500 units per week, and now, we’re getting a look at how it managed to increase production numbers. Tesla apparently created a so-called “tent,” another building that contains yet another general assembly line. They’ve effectively doubled the processes in order to ramp up production and meet their 5,000 unit per week target. Apparently, the temporary building was constructed in just two weeks, and the assembly line was created “using scrap we had in the warehouses,” Musk said. “And it’s way better than the other GA (general assembly) line that cost hundreds of millions!” the CEO added on Twitter.

Still, Tesla has some major bottlenecks to address before hitting its previously stated goal of 5,000 Model 3s per week. Musk recently wrote an email to employees noting that a number of areas in the company are in need of “radical improvements.” He also noted, “I will be at our Fremont factory almost 24/7 for the next several days checking in with those groups to make sure they have as many resources as they can handle.”

What happened? According to Tesla, prepping and operating some initial systems took longer than anticipated, creating a bottleneck. Sources told The Wall Street Journal many of the Model 3’s parts were being built by hand because the assembly line was not ready, while insiders pointed to difficulties with battery pack production in the company’s Nevada Gigafactory. Still, the company noted in a statement, “it is important to emphasize that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain. We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term.”

To keep things simple, Tesla will only manufacture the rear-wheel-drive variant of the Tesla Model 3 for the first year of the production run.

Drivetrain and performance

We recently drove the Model 3 and concluded it “exceeds every expectation we’ve thrown its way – as both an attainable EV and luxury sport sedan.” It easily keeps up with the BMW 3 Series, which was once considered the gold standard in the sports sedan segment and among the best sports cars available. The $35,000 base model (50 kWh) offers 220 miles of range and a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.6 seconds, while a $44,000 version (70 kWh) ups the ante with 310 miles of range, a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.1 seconds, and a top speed of 140 mph. However, according to a new EPA document (via Electrek), the Model 3 achieved an EPA-cycle range of 334 miles, meaning Tesla might be underselling the vehicle’s performance to keep its customers happy with their real-world results.

The Tesla Model 3 benefits from advances in battery technology that were recently inaugurated by the ultra-quick P100D versions of the Model S and the Model X. The company’s newest battery pack is much denser than its predecessor, and it gets a comprehensively updated cooling system. Battery production takes place in the Gigafactory, a massive complex located on the outskirts of Reno, Nevada.

Model 3 owners can use Tesla’s network of Supercharger stations, but there’s a catch. Unlike Model S and Model X owners, they need to pay every time they plug their car into a Supercharger. Tesla says the service will “cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car,” though rates haven’t been announced yet. The company is expecting high demand, so it’s been increasing the size of its charging station network over the past few months. We might even see small convenience stores pop up at Supercharger stations to keep users occupied as they wait for a full charge.

According to Autocar, CEO Elon Musk has confirmed the Tesla Model 3’s battery packs — 50 kWh and 70 kWh. Furthermore, Musk stated a performance version is due in mid-2018. Details about the performance edition are nil, but if the Model S is any indicator, it will use a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup. Considering the Model 3 weighs 400 pounds less than the Model S, the right battery could make the Model 3 even faster than the fastest Model S. Tesla previously confirmed the P100D’s 100kWh pack will not be available in the 3 because its wheelbase is too short, but the 3 will be available with the Ludicrous mode that cemented the Model S’s spot as one of the quickest vehicles on the planet. No, it is not one of the world’s fastest cars — but it is close.

Cars

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging jump by 33 percent in some regions

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.
Cars

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.
Cars

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

Cadillac is finally ready to take on Tesla with its own electric car

At the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac announced plans for its first electric car. The unnamed model will be a crossover, based on a new platform to be shared with other General Motors brands.
Cars

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Cars

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.
News

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Cars

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.
Cars

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.
Cars

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
1 of 3