model3tesla

Tesla Motors, which unveiled its latest electric car Model 3 just a few hours ago, has announced that it will launch the relatively lower priced model in India, Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore and Ireland. The company is currently taking pre-orders for a $1,000 reservation price. Note that the Model 3 is set for launch in late 2017, and is likely be delivered to pre-order customers outside the US by 2018.

Model 3 is Tesla’s fourth electric car after Roadster, Model S and Model X. Model 3 differs in that at $35,000, it significantly cheaper than the other three cars. The Model S and Model X sell for a base price of $76,000 and $132,000 respectively, while the Roadster sells for $101,000. Despite the cheaper price, the Model 3 doesn’t cut too many corners; it features five-star safety rating in all categories and the autopilot feature comes as a default.

The Model 3 is a four door, five seater car. It can go from 0-100 kmph in under 6 seconds and has a range of around 350km. It also features a 15” touch screen display, like the other Tesla cars, to control various aspects of the car. Overall, for Rs 25 lacs (~$35k), it should be a good deal. However, the long wait time, and the likely 100% import tax will be a turnoff for some Indians looking to order one. Meanwhile, some have already made their orders.

Autonomous mode: Note that while Tesla promises an autonomous mode on its cars, which admittedly is very cool, it is likely to face major problems in India. Recently, CEO Elon Musk said that problems like faded lane markings confused the semi-autonomous cars. We can’t even imagine the car being able to move in India, where most road markings not present, bikes and pedestrians move haphazardly and on-the-road shops take up half the space. We expect such a feature might be marginally useful for things like parking the car, rather than actually navigating in cities or on highways.

Gigafactory: Tesla is currently building a Gigafactory, that aims to create cheaper batteries for electric cars and other uses, through economies of scale. The company mentions that it will drive the cost of battery packs by more than 30%, and will likely help it make a lot more batteries to mass produce Model 3. Tesla claims to have already got 125,000 pre-orders in the last 24 hours.

Superchargers in India?

Note that Tesla currently has superchargers, or fast charging stations for its cars, in every country it sells its cars. This includes over 600 stations in the US and Europe, China and Australia combined. Musk affirmed that Tesla will cover New Zealand with superchargers. While it is unlikely the company will look to cover all of India, it might look to launch a few such charging stations in cities where it sells the most cars.

Tesla also unveiled an April 1st special Model W today, a not so subtle jibe at Apple, which is rumoured to be developing an electric car of its own.