Tesla Motors, the US based manufacturer
of electric cars, unveiled its latest vehicle, the Tesla Model 3 recently. The
car was unveiled by Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of Tesla Motors in California,
US. Several high net worth Indians have already booked the car and have tweeted
about it. The car carries a starting price tag of US $ 35.000 (Rs 23.18 lakh),
less than half of what the upmarket Model S costs. Deliveries of the car will start end of 2017.
“Over 325k cars or $14B in
preorders in first week. Only 5% ordered max of two, suggesting low levels of
speculation,” tweeted Musk on April 7, 2016.
Within hours of the unveiling
of the car, people jammed the internet and stores worldwide to book this car.
Bookings in just two days stood at 276,000. Tesla Motor’s Fremont, Califronia
based plant is far from ready to supply that kind of numbers but the company is
planning to ramp up production steadily to 500,000 units per annum by the year
2020. Last year the company had sold around 50,000 units of their existing
Musk further tweeted that
Model 3 will be a rear wheel driven car with dual motor. There will be an All
Wheel Drive option. “Even RWD will have great traction on ice due to fast
torque response of Tesla drivetrain,” he tweeted. In another of his tweets he
wrote, “Adding several more countries to Model 3 order page tonight. Check for
details, but will include India, Brazil, SA, SK, NZ, Sing & Ireland.”
On the day of the unveiling,
addressing his employees, admirers and the media at the company’s California
Design Studio, Musk said, “I want to emphasise that even if you buy no options
at all, this will still be an amazing car. You will not be able to buy a better
car for $35,000 or even close.”
In September 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the
Tesla Motors factory in the US and had made known India’s interest in the
company’s solar Powerwall technology. Modi and Musk had also apparently
discussed the possibility of a more affordable car from the company.
Musk stated that Model 3 will
have a minimum 215 miles (346km) range on a single charge.
“We have got an amazing product to be shown to
you tonight and you’re going to be blown away. ...Why are we making electric
cars? It is very important to accelerate transition to sustainable transport.
This is really important for the future of the world. We have record high CO2
levels. What it does is that it is steadily increases temperature. We have
already increased that by 2 degrees. But that does not tell the whole story
because extremes of temperature increased by as much as 20 degrees,” Musk said
before unveiling the electric car.
Musk in his address took the
audience through the company’s journey
wherein it started with the Roadster as part of the company’s secret Tesla
Master Plan. “This was the first plan that I wrote for the company. Originally
it was a three-part trilogy but now it is a four-part trilogy,” he said. He
elaborated n the success of the Model S and the Model X. “Both of them are
really important because the revenue from Model S and X is what was needed to
develop the Model 3. ... The models S and X are what paid for the Model 3,” he
“We now come to the final step
in the Master Plan, a mass market, affordable car. It was only possible to do
that by going through the prior steps. The Model 3 is going to be an incredibly
safe car. We really believe that safety has to come first. The Model 3 will be
five-star in every category. Even the base model will do 0 to 60 miles (almost
100km) an hour in less than 6 seconds. Of course there will be versions of
Model 3 which will go much faster. The range will be at least an EPA rating of
215 (346km) miles per charge. These are minimum numbers and we hope to exceed
them. All Model 3 cars will come standard with auto pilot hardware. Auto pilot safety features will there in all
cars. The car fits five adults comfortably,” he explained to the audience in
his speech which was shared live around the globe through internet.
The Model 3 has enough leg
room for both rows of seats and the rear roof area is one continuous pane of
glass. “It gives you amazing headroom and a feeling of openness. By far it has
the best roominess for any car of its size. Like the Model S it has the front
and rear trunks. It has more cargo capacity than any gasoline car of same
external dimensions,” he noted.
The Model 3 will come with
supercharging as standard. “The reason supercharging is very important is that
it gives you freedom of travel. We have built 3600 superchargers worldwide and
about the same number of destination chargers. By end of next year we shall
double the number of superchargers and quadruple the number of destination
chargers. You would be able to go virtually anywhere because the on board
charging in Model S is able to adapt to any country’s voltage. Wherever you go
in the world, wherever there is electricity you can charge. What about buying
and servicing? Today we have 215 locations in Asia, North America and Europe
and by the end of next year expect to double that with 441 locations,” he
Musk also informed that in order
to supply lithium ion batteries for the large number of cars he intends making
every year, the company has built a gigafactory. “This is a vital element. The
gigafactory will have the largest footprint of any building of any kind. Volume
metrically it will only be second to the Boeing factory in Washington. It will
produce lithium ion batteries more than all other factories in the world
combined. We shall also be producing the most advanced cell and battery in the
world. So it is a combination of high volume with the most advanced technology.
It is already in operation today,” he said.
Electric mobility in India
Though there are hybrids being
sold in India by different manufacturers, there is only player in electric cars
in India—Mahindra & Mahindra. But Mahindra Reva’s Reva electric car has a
long way to go in terms of performance when compared to a Tesla model. The
Indian company has also plans to launch an all-electric version of its
On the policy front, there is
already a National Electric Mobility Mission plan under which the government is
offering subsidies on electric vehicles. The government aims to put at least 7
million electric and hybrid vehicles on road by 2020.
The government had launched
the FAME India scheme offering incentives on electric and hybrid vehicles. FAME
India - Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in
India - is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. The scheme
envisages Rs 795 crore support in the first two fiscals starting with 2015-16.
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