Tesla launched the Model 3 – its lowest-cost electric vehicle (EV) to date – at its design studio in Los Angeles on Friday (1 April).

The Tesla Model 3 will start at $35,000 (£24,423) and have a range of at least 215 miles per charge, as the company focuses its business strategy specifically on bringing electric vehicles (EVs) into the mass market by lowering costs.

As of Sunday (3 April), the company’s chief executive Elon Musk revealed that the ‘affordable’ five-seater has already received 276,000 preorders – an estimated retail value of $10.6 billion – from dozens of countries across the world, with buyers placing a deposit of $1,000 each ahead of its official launch in ‘late 2017’.  

Musk added that the aim was to produce about 500,000 vehicles a year once production was in full swing. He said: “Why are we making the Model 3? Because we want to accelerate the transition to a future of sustainable transport.

“We have an amazing product. I think you’ll be blown away. You will not be able to buy a better car for $35,000, or even close. It’s a really good car, even with no options.”

The basic Tesla Model 3 will accelerate from 0-60mph in less than six seconds, while other models will go faster. The car will include the ‘autopilot’ safety features found in existing models, which will enable it to steer itself and avoid collisions. Additionally, it will support ‘supercharging’ as standard, allowing the car to recharge more quickly at special power stations.

Earlier this year, edie reported that Tesla had become the most popular brand for new EV buyers as figures revealed that annual sales of the Model S rose by more than 50% in 2015. Of the 50,580 vehicles delivered by Tesla last year, the majority of those were the Model S, which overtook Nissan’s Leaf to become the world’s best selling pure-electric vehicle.

The Model 3 is less than half the cost than Tesla’s previous Model 3 and will go around 85 miles less on full charge, but will go twice as far as similar price-range competitor EVs such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

Domestic energy

Tesla has consolidated its position as a sustainability leader through innovations aimed at accelerating the growth of EVs. The manufacturer recently launched a new roll-out scheme to offer Tesla owners the ability to charge their vehicles at home for up to 28,000 miles over a three-year period, free of charge.

In November 2015, Tesla was identified as one of the faces of sustainable business, as more than 600 global sustainability experts from business, government NGOs and academia recognised the firm as having made the biggest contribution to climate solutions over the past five years.

George Ogleby

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