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Tesla 3 Rolls In

By: Ryan GallagherJuly 21, 2017
The first production unit of the Tesla Model 3 recently rolled off assembly lines. Some analysts and even Tesla CEO Elon Musk think the debut may be having an impact on the electric carmaker's sales, which sagged this spring.

In order to get its zero-emission cars into the hands of more drivers worldwide, Tesla is launching its new affordably-priced Model 3. The $35,000 4-door sedan will roll out of a Fremont, California plant later this month, putting it into contention with the $37,500 Chevrolet Bolt for most affordable electric vehicle.

The new vehicle launch comes at a time when Tesla has struggled to sell their cars nationally. The Model 3 is less than half the price of Tesla’s existing Model S and Model X vehicles. This release could break the carmaker into the mass market, possibly giving Tesla the ability to sell hundreds of thousands of electric cars.

Over a year ago, Tesla put the Model 3 up for presale. Within days of the announcement, 300,000 customers put down their fully refundable $1,000 deposits to reserve the new car.

On July 28, the first 30 customers will receive their Model 3 units at a “handover party,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. After that, 100 Model 3 vehicles will be produced in August, followed by 1,500 in September and another 20,000 by December, according to a Tesla video statement.

The Model 3 should qualify for the $7,500 federal electric vehicle tax credit, but isn’t yet featured on the Department of Energy’s qualifying vehicles list. The credit applies to drivers who buy a hybrid or fully-electric vehicle, including Tesla’s three existing models.

This latest model can travel 215 miles on a single charge, and can accelerate from 0-60 MPH in under 6 seconds. This is a more limited range than Chevy Bolt, which can go 238 miles on a charge, but is also faster—the Bolt’s burst from 0-60 MPH clocks in at about 6.5 seconds.

But with the added speed comes questions about the vehicle’s safety—often a crucial factor for mass-market purchasers. In a video release for Model 3’s unveiling, however, Tesla CEO Elon Musk assured viewers the car was designed to achieve a 5-star safety ranking.

“You will not be able to buy a better car for $35,000, or even close…” said Musk as he revealed the new Model 3.

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