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Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 parked, front driver side.jpg
Tesla Model 3
Manufacturer Tesla, Inc.
Also called Code name: BlueStar
Model years 2017–present
Assembly Fremont, California, US
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door fastback sedan
Electric motor Rear motor 258 hp (192 kW),[3] 317 lb⋅ft (430 N⋅m) (estimated)[4] 3-phase 6-pole permanent-magnet motors[5]
Battery 50 or 75 kWh (180 or 270 MJ) Lithium ion[6]
Electric range
  • 220 mi (350 km) standard (EPA-rated)[7]
  • 310 mi (500 km) long-range (EPA-rated)[7]
  • 454–495 mi (730–800 km) long-range (EPA-dynamo)[8]
Wheelbase 113.2 in (2,880 mm)
Length 184.8 in (4,690 mm)
Width 76.1 in (1,930 mm)[9]
Height 56.8 in (1,440 mm)
Curb weight
  • Standard: 3,549 lb (1,610 kg)
  • Long-range: 3,814 lb (1,730 kg)[10]

The Tesla Model 3 is a mid-size all-electric four-door sedan manufactured and sold by Tesla, Inc.[1] According to Tesla officials, the Model 3 standard model delivers an EPA-rated all-electric range of 220 miles (350 km) and the long-range model delivers 310 miles (500 km).[7] The Model 3 has a minimalist dashboard with only a center-mounted LCD touchscreen.[11]

Within a week of unveiling the Model 3 in 2016, Tesla revealed they had taken 325,000 reservations for the car, more than triple the number of Model S sedans sold by the end of 2015. These reservations represent potential sales of over US$14 billion.[12][13] By August 2017, there were 455,000 net reservations, and an average of 1,800 reservations were being added per day.[14][15]

Limited production of the Model 3 began in mid-2017, with the first production vehicle rolling off the assembly line on July 7, 2017,[16][17][18] and the official launch and delivery of the first 30 cars on July 28.[19] Customer deliveries totaled 1,764 units in 2017.[20][21] Tesla's target for making 5,000 vehicles per week is projected at the end of June 2018, after previously promising earlier dates.[22][23][24]

Tesla stated that the Model 3 carries full self-driving hardware to be optionally enabled at a future date.[25][26][27]


Company officials said the standard model of the all-electric car will have an estimated EPA-rated range of 220 miles (350 km), a five-passenger seating capacity, front and rear trunks, and will be able to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds (0–100 km/h in 5.3 seconds) for the long-range model and 5.6 seconds for the standard model (0 to 100 km/h in 5.3–5.8 seconds).[28][29] With the introduction of the dual-motor version, this time will inevitably drop even lower, especially with the guarantee from Elon Musk that there will be a ludicrous version as well.[30] Tesla's Model 3 is designed to achieve a "5-Star Safety Rating" and is expected to have a drag coefficient of Cd=0.23. This will be lower than the Tesla Model S drag coefficient of Cd=0.24, which, in 2014, was the lowest among current production cars.[31] Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the rear-wheel-drive base model would have great traction on ice because of the fast torque response of the electric motor.[32]

As a result of the high demand for Model 3, in May 2016 Tesla announced its decision to advance its 500,000 total-unit build plan (combined for Model S, Model X, and Model 3) to 2018, two years earlier than previously planned, in order to accelerate its target for Model 3 output.[33][34] However, due to "production bottlenecks" and "production hell" this date may be pushed back. Tesla issued US$2 billion in new shares to the stock market to finance the plan.[35]


Original Tesla Model 3 logo

The Model 3 was codenamed Tesla BlueStar in the original business plan in 2007.[36][37] The name Model 3, originally stylized as "Model ☰", was announced on Musk's Twitter account on July 16, 2014,[38] however, the intended name was Model E that was abandoned due to Ford's trademark on the name; Musk wanted the three current models to spell SEX, but settled with "S3X".[39] In early 2017, after trademark opposition from Adidas,[40] the triplicate horizontal-bar stylization was abandoned and changed to a numeric "3".[41]

The company plans for the Model 3 are part of Tesla's three-step strategy to start with a high-price vehicle and move progressively towards lower-cost vehicles, while the battery and electric drivetrain were improved and paid for through the sales of the Roadster, Model S, and Model X vehicles.[42]


Center-mounted 15.4-inch (39 cm) LCD touchscreen[11]

In 2013, design chief Franz von Holzhausen said that the Model 3 will "be an Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class type of vehicle that will offer everything: range, affordability, and performance" that is targeted toward the mass market.[43] While technology from Tesla's Model S will be used in the Model 3,[44] it will be 20% smaller than the Model S[45] and have its own unique design.[46] According to Tesla's CTO, JB Straubel, in October 2015, most Tesla engineers were working on the 3 rather than S or X.[47][48] Since electric cars have lower cooling needs than combustion cars, the Model 3 does not have a front grille. Musk intended for the final design to be released on June 30, 2016[49] but when the design was finished on July 27, it was not publicly released.[50] After the final design of the first Model 3, any further changes would be included in future versions of the Model 3.[51] The optional glass roof developed by Tesla Glass will be made of the same glass used for Tesla's roof tiles;[52] a glass roof was introduced on the Model S in late 2016.[53]


About 125 people in line to reserve a Tesla Model 3 in Walnut Creek, California.

In September 2015, Tesla announced that the Model 3 would be unveiled in March 2016.[54] In January 2016, Musk said that the first official pictures of the car will be revealed at the end of March 2016.[55] Delivery would begin in late 2017 first on the US West Coast and then move eastwards.[56] Potential customers were first able to reserve their spot in the queue at Tesla stores or online on March 31 with a refundable deposit of $1000.[57] In February 2016, Tesla indicated that the unveiling would be on March 31, 2016.[58] Employees of Tesla[59][60] and SpaceX were given early access to Model 3 reservation,[61] and about 10,000 signed up without discount,[62] scheduled to receive the first batch of cars.[63][64] Current owners of Tesla vehicles will get priority sales after employees but before the general public, as a reward for helping pay for the development of the Model 3.[64] Early production is usually more flawed: both the Model S and the Model X had several problems at the start of their production,[65][64] but have since improved.[66]

On the morning of March 31, 2016, tens of thousands of people waited in lines to place the refundable deposit to reserve a Model 3 for 2017 delivery, even though they had not yet seen the car.[67][68] Online reservations were opened at 10:23 PM ET, and the Model 3 was unveiled just before midnight ET.[69] During the Model 3 unveiling event, it was revealed that over 115,000 people had reserved the Model 3 in less than 24 hours prior to the unveiling event;[70][71] more cars than Tesla had sold by that time.[12] 24 hours after opening reservations, Tesla had advanced orders for over 180,000 units.[72][73] Two days later, Tesla said 232,000 reservations that represent potential sales of over US$11.5 billion.[12][74]

Comparison of EPA-rated range for electric cars rated up until July 2017 and priced under US$50,000 in the US Only model year 2016 and 2017 cars.[7][75]

One week after the unveiling, Tesla said it had over 325,000 reservations that corresponded to about US$14 billion in potential sales.[13] Musk said that 5% of reservations correspond to the maximum of two vehicles allowed per customer, "suggesting low levels of speculation",[76] and that 93% of Model 3 reservations are from new buyers who do not currently own a Tesla.[64] Tesla said "this is the single biggest one-week launch of any product ever",[77] however other product sales may eclipse this in terms of units sold (but not price), as the iPhone 6 sold over 4 million units in 24 hours.[78] The previous record was the 1955 Citroën DS that had 80,000 deposits during the ten days of the Paris Auto Show, while the Model 3 had 232,000 reservations in two days.[12]

According to Tesla's global vice-president Robin Ren, China is the second-largest market for the Model 3 after the US.[79] Tesla said the number of net reservations totaled about 373,000 as of May 15, 2016, after about 8,000 customer cancellations and about 4,200 reservations canceled by the automaker because these appeared to be duplicates from speculators.[80][81] Upon its release in July 2017, there had been over 500,000 reservations for the Model 3,[82] with Musk later clarifying there were a net of 455,000 reservations outstanding.[15]

A study of potentially self-driving ridesharing Model 3s indicate that around 30,000 Model 3s could supply 10% of car trips around Austin, Texas at a cost equivalent to the price of private ownership, and below that of current ridesourcing.[83][84]

Tesla, sometime after late 2017, plans to enter the following countries' markets for the first time with the Model 3: India, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, and Ireland.[85]


The Model 3 is mostly steel, with some aluminum.[86] Tesla plans to increase the size of the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California to accommodate Model 3 production,[87] viewed as a new and large capability.[88][89]

Production stages[edit]

In May 2016, Tesla indicated to its suppliers that it intended to double earlier-announced Model 3 production targets to 100,000 in 2017 and 400,000 in 2018 due to demand, which suppliers[90][91] and some experts viewed as difficult.[92][93] In the Tesla Factory, paint lines for 500,000 cars were begun in 2015, and some stamping equipment for the Model 3 was operational by August 2016.[94] Tesla's acquisition of Grohmann Engineering, a world leader in highly-automated methods of manufacturing, was completed in January 2017. This acquisition launched Tesla Advanced Automation Germany, which will help Tesla innovate manufacturing processes to be used initially in Model 3 production.[95] According to Tesla in late 2016, the company expected to invest between US$2 billion and US$2.5 billion in capital expenditures ahead of the start of Model 3 production.[95]

After the two Alpha prototypes were shown (silver and black; red was a shell) in April 2016, Tesla finished the design in late July 2016. Tesla ordered parts equivalent to 300 Beta prototypes in August 2016, preparing for development of the assembly line. As of August 2016, the company intended to make release candidates for testing before actual production began.[96][97] Tesla began building Model 3 prototypes in early February 2017 as part of the testing of the vehicle design and manufacturing processes. Tesla said in late 2016 that initial crash test results had been positive.[95]

In October 2016, Tesla said its production timeline was on schedule.[98][99][100] Again in February 2017, Tesla said that vehicle development, supply chain and manufacturing are on track to support volume deliveries of the Model 3 in the second half of 2017. Limited vehicle production began in July 2017 and volume production was scheduled at that time to start by September 2017. As of February 2017, Tesla planned to ramp up production to exceed 5,000 vehicles per week in 4Q2017 and reach 10,000 vehicles per week in 2018.[95] However, Tesla missed their Q4 production target by far, as only 2,425 vehicles were produced during the entire 3-month period.[101][102] 5 months before, Musk claimed on Twitter that Tesla would be able to produce 20,000 Model 3 per month by December of the same year. Tesla's actual production numbers were therefore 93% lower than his prediction.[101]

The Gigafactory had long been intended to produce battery packs for Model 3, but it was announced at the Nevada State of the State Address in January 2017 that Tesla would also manufacture drive units at the Gigafactory.[103] In February 2017, Tesla said that installation of Model 3 manufacturing equipment was underway in the Fremont factory and at Gigafactory 1, where in January, production of battery cells for energy-storage products began, which have the same form-factor as the cells that will be used in Model 3.[95]

Model 3 buyers have two options as to the battery pack, one with "just over 50 kWh"[6] providing a range of roughly 354 kilometers (220 miles) and a "long-range" pack with a capacity around 75 kWh which should provide a range of about 499 kilometers (310 miles).[104] The latter is a $9,000 option in the U.S.[105] This vehicle's shorter wheelbase, relative to the larger Model S and Model X, cannot accommodate the larger battery pack of up to 100 kWh used in those cars.[106] The 2170-size lithium-ion cells, exclusive to the Tesla 3 at this time,[107] have a higher energy density than the 18650-size lithium-ion cells used in previous Tesla vehicles by as much as 30%.[108]

The standard Model 3 battery pack is made of four longitudinal modules each containing the individual battery cells.[109] For the standard-range Model 3 there are 2,976 cells arranged in groups of 31 cells.[109] For the long-range Model 3, there are 4,416 cells arranged in groups of 46 cells.[109]

Tesla Model X (left) and Model 3 (right) at the unveiling event on March 31, 2016.


In February 2016, Elon Musk said Tesla expected to repeat the delivery schedule of the S and X models, selling the highest-optioned cars, with higher margins, first to help pay for production equipment.[110] In early 2017, Tesla changed its delivery schedule to produce relatively simpler cars initially in order to reduce production risk – a lesson learned from the complicated Model X production. The first mass-produced Model 3 cars are rear-wheel drive with the long-range battery, while the all-wheel-drive option will first be available at least six months after launch and the standard-battery model will be available after the first few months of production. The performance version of the Model 3 will start production no earlier than April 2018.[111] In early July 2017, Musk forecast at least six months of serious production difficulties.[112] The first delivery was on July 7, 2017, to Musk himself.[113] The first 30 production units were delivered on July 28, 2017.[114]

By October 2017—despite Tesla's announced goal to produce 1,500 units in the third quarter, increasing to 20,000 per month by December 2017[115]—only 260 vehicles were manufactured during the third quarter. The company blamed product bottlenecks but said there were "no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain" and expressed confidence about its ability to resolve the bottlenecks in the near future.[116][117]

In early November 2017, Musk told investors that he could not forecast how many Model 3s would be produced by the year's end, and that the production delays were due to the tightly-integrated automated production line, which is efficient when working, but susceptible to bottlenecks when only one part of the process breaks down. The company was having difficulties with robots on the assembly line at Gigafactory 1, where the primary cause of the delays is a serious issue with the battery-assembly process, caused by a "systems integration subcontractor", according to Musk.[118][119] "We had to rewrite all of the software from scratch for the battery module and redo many of the mechanical and electrical elements", he reported.[22][112] Musk explained that there are four "zones" in battery module production and in one, a technical problem was severe.[120] He assured investors that Tesla had "reallocated" top engineers in Nevada to work on achieving a final solution.[121]

By early November 2017, Musk postponed the target date for manufacturing 5,000 of the vehicles per week from December 2017 to March 2018.[118] When asked when the company would reach a production level of 10,000 units per week, he declined to speculate.[22][118] An analyst with Cowan and Company, a public-relations firm, commented that "Elon Musk needs to stop over-promising and under-delivering".[122] In early January 2018, the target date for producing 5,000 units per week was extended to the end of June, in spite of significant expenditures on robots.[24][112] Later the company explained that it will continue to target weekly Model 3 production rates of 2,500 by the end of the March 2018 and 5,000 by the end of June.[21]

Tesla delivered 1,542 Model 3 cars in the fourth quarter of 2017,[21] about 2,900 less than Wall Street estimations, which were already halved previously after Tesla published the company's third quarter report.[123] Customer deliveries totaled 1,764 units in 2017.[20][21] As production ramped up, an estimated 1,875 cars were delivered in January 2018, making the Model 3 the top selling plug-in car in the U.S. that month.[124]

By the end of the first quarter 2018, the company planned to be making 2,500 Model 3's each week, exceeding the production of any other Tesla model. In early January, Tesla said that it expected to reach the target goal of 5,000 Model 3's per week by the end of the second quarter.[125]


First production Tesla Model 3 cars ready for the delivery event on July 28, 2017
Specifications of the Tesla Model 3
Model Standard Range Long Range
Range 220 mi (350 km)[126] 310 mi (500 km)[126]
Acceleration 5.6 second 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time[126][127] 5.1 second 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time[128][129]
Top speed 130 mph (210 km/h)[130] 140 mph (225 km/h)[130]
Battery capacity 50 kWh (180 MJ)[126] 75 kWh (270 MJ)[131][108][3][132]
DC charging 130 miles (210 km) range available after 30 minutes[133] 170 miles (270 km) range available after 30 minutes[128]
DC billing Pay-per-use billing for Supercharging[127]
AC charging 30 miles (48 km) range per hour (240V outlet, 32A)[126] 37 miles (60 km) range per hour (240V outlet, 40A)[126]
AC voltage Worldwide electrical voltage and amperage charging compatibility[134]
Autonomous capacity Full self-driving hardware (not yet active), used for standard active safety measures[127][135]
Layout Rear-wheel drive[127][136]
Luggage Rear 12 cu ft (340 L) and front 3 cu ft (85 L) trunks with 15 cu ft (425 L) total volume[127][137][138]
Rear seat 60/40-split-folding rear seat[10][139]
Roof Center-roof-panel options: standard metal, glass,[127] roof rack[140] and probably solar[141]
Display Single center-mounted 15.4-inch (39 cm) LCD touchscreen in landscape orientation that combines the instrument cluster and infotainment[142][4]
Entry Keyless NFC keycard and Bluetooth smartphone connection for vehicle access[143]
Roof Rear roof area is one continuous piece of glass[127]
Wheels 18-inch (460 mm) diameter
Optional upgrades
Driver assistance Enhanced Autopilot's lane-keeping, lane-changing, and self-parking modes[144]
Paint Non-black metallic-paint colors
Wheels 19-inch (480 mm) diameter
Layout Dual-motor all-wheel drive (production to begin in the second quarter of 2018)[9]


Tesla Model 3s in colors Silver (left) and Midnight Silver (right).

Car-design columnist Robert Cumberford said the Model 3 "is an excellent design" and praised the front fascia skin that he thinks is superior to the black plastic simulated grille of the pre-refresh Model S.[145][146] Motor Trend viewed the nose as intriguing.[147] The Model 3 has been compared to the Ford Model T, for its intended affordability as a volume-produced electric vehicle[148][149][150][151] and for its limited set of options, namely range, wheels and exterior color of which all but black costs extra.[152][153] Automotive journalist Doug DeMuro said the Model 3 was better than the $2000 more inexpensive BMW 340i and that it was the "coolest car of the year," later clarifying that this claim was based on the "long waiting lists, obsessive interest and news stories."[154] Alex Roy stated that DeMuro's review had concentrated on hardware details and missed out on the bigger picture.[151]

Automotive industry analyst Toni Sacconaghi of AllianceBernstein, made this comment after driving the latest Tesla vehicle in November 2017: "Overall, we found the Model 3 to be a compelling offering, and believe it is likely to further galvanize the overall Electric Vehicle category." He was less impressed with build quality of the test samples. "Fit and finish on the two demo cars we saw—perhaps not surprisingly—was relatively poor." He recalled that there were quality issues at first with the Model X which led to some concern. "This is going to be a much, much higher-volume car, and if there are any quality issues, that could overwhelm the service centers and undermine the Tesla brand." Nonetheless, Sacconaghi was impressed with the ride quality, performance and interior space, and concluded that the 3 "risks cannibalizing the [very expensive] Model S going forward." [155]

Road and Track's Bob Sorokanich said the "Model 3 proves that Tesla is thinking far beyond the edges of the Model S and X. Stepping out of the 3, you realize that, as far as the S and X pushed the envelope, they were always meant as intermediaries, stepping stones designed to draw people away from comfortable convention and into the future of the automobile. ... The Model 3 is Tesla at its most unabashed. It’s an automaker finally willing to abandon the skeuomorphism of a false radiator grille, the tradition of a driver-oriented gauge panel."[156]

In February 2018, Sandy Munro the CEO of a car-benchmarking firm that has its most prolific clients as GM, Ford, and Chrysler, reviewed the Model 3 with the host of Autoline Detroit, John McElroy. Munro gave a scathing critique of the Model 3, stating "I can’t imagine how they released this", pointing to "glaring panel gaps", door handles that were "impossible" to open and a risk of a lawsuit due to the rear doors not having a mechanical opening mechanism combined with cut zones that he deemed confusing to rescue personnel. Finally, Munro's impression of the car caused him to characterize its builders as "electronics snobs".[157]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Fuel Economy Guide" (PDF). US: Department of Energy. 2017-07-26. p. 35. Retrieved 2017-07-29. 
  2. ^ Lambert, Fred (2017-09-08). "First Tesla Model 3 spotted in Europe a year ahead of official launch". Electrek. Retrieved 2017-09-08. 
  3. ^ a b EPA, OAR, OTAQ, US. "Air Pollution Transportation". US EPA. 
  4. ^ a b Reynolds, Kim (2017-07-28). "Exclusive – Tesla Model 3 First Drive Review". Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  5. ^ Govindasamy, Kannan; Tesla (2017-06-21). Request for issuance of a new certificate of Conformity – Initial application for MY2017 Model 3 ‐ Touring (PDF) (Report). United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 2017-10-26. HTSLV00.0L13 … L: Lithium Ion Battery; 1 – RWD Motor; 3 – Model 3 Line of vehicles … The motor is a 3‐phase AC internal permanent magnet motor utilizing a six‐pole, high‐frequency design with inverter‐controlled magnetic flux. 
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