Tesla Model 3
The first delivery of Tesla’s mass market vehicle, the Model 3, was mid-way through 2017. As I write, output is increasing exponentially, but It needs to. Half a million people have paid $US1,000 (refundable) to be on the waiting list for a Model 3.
The previous record for pre-orders was held by the 1955 Citroën DS which attracted 80,000 orders during the ten days of the Paris Auto Show. The Model 3 had 232,000 reservations within two days of unveiling a body shell and concept. At present production levels Tesla are not making inroads into its order book. New orders are outstripping production.
A Tesla Model 3 is twice the price of a Toyota Corolla, but on a par with a mid-range BMW. It is priced at $US35,000, but a superior battery (which increases it’s range from 350 km to 500 km) costs another $US9000.
If you want any colour other than black, it will cost an extra $US1,000. Weird eh?, But I guess you can forgive Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla for having a quirky sense of humour. After all he’s helping save the planet. The hard-to-justify charge for colour seems to be a nod to Henry Ford and his Model T. Famously, you could have a Model T in any colour as long as it was black.
Unlike the Model T, the Tesla Model 3 is not the cheapest car on the road.
Henry Ford’s offering in 1908 was compelling: No more feeding and tending horses. Just swing the crank, jump in and drive. The compelling aspect of Tesla’s model 3 is zero emissions.
Although production to date of Tesla vehicles has been modest, the ripple effect has been profound. Within two months of the unveiling of the Model 3, General Motors announced that it is working toward making their complete range, electric. Volvo, Aston Martin, and Jaguar Land Rover have said the same, but the General Motors announcement is huge. They produce ten million vehicles a year. This would not have happened but for Tesla. In fact, a few years ago, the Chairman of GM said that Tesla had achieved in one year, what he believed would take ten.
Elon Musk has been sleeping at the factory, on hand to address teething issues. Deliveries have been below expectation and nay-sayers have been predicting the collapse of Tesla. But except for a six-day shutdown, the factory has been running around the clock, scrambling to prove them wrong.
I’m afraid there won’t be any right-hand drive variants for at least a year, so don’t go on a hunger strike waiting for the Model 3 to arrive on our shores.
Musk is not your usual businessman. All Tesla’s patents are open source. As Musk puts it “Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal”. Or put another way: If you’re in a sinking boat and you’ve worked out a better way to bale, isn’t it a good idea to tell other about it.
Tesla is but one of Elon Musk’ interests. He’s also spearheading large scale solar energy harvesting and storage, Low impact intercity transport, interplanetary space travel and the list goes on. For a short store of his life.