Silver Tesla Model 3 Electric Car Supercharges Through The Scenic Streets


Tesla Motors Unveils the model 3

Categories: Culture,
June 10, 2016,

By Sallie W. Boyles

Photography Courtesy of Tesla Motors

There they go again!

Supercharging the automotive industry, Tesla’s Model S became the first all-electric vehicle to ignite EV envy and compete with mainstream luxury autos. Ever since, many have wondered if Tesla Motors would—or could—make a car for the masses. The answer came on April 1, launch day for the Model 3.

Red and Pewter Colored Tesla 3 Electric Cars Side By Side

Once more, the company headed by Elon Musk surpasses expectations, beating world records by receiving 180,000 preorders on the first day and 325,000 within the first week of offering its most affordable car to date, the Model 3, at a base price of $35,000. (Government incentives could lower the cost to buyers by estimates of $7,500, but Musk anticipates an average sales price of $42,000 after options are added.)

Granted, other car manufacturers don’t play the same way because they sell through dealerships, but Tesla’s distribution plans alone make the feat all the more impressive. Tens of thousands put down $1,000 deposits despite knowing they won’t take delivery of a Model 3 until the latter part of 2017—at the earliest.

Shiny Silver Tesla 3 Electric Car Parked On Road

Tesla’s April 7 blog calls the phenomenon “the week that electric vehicles went mainstream.” Still, what drives so many people to line up for the Model 3 as if it were the next hottest computer gadget?

Well … more than a few refer to the Tesla as a “computer on wheels.” In fact, owners keep their smart cars functioning optimally and improving over time via automated system updates and upgrades. Autopilot technology, for instance, uses cameras and sensors to avert accidents today; incremental software enhancements make the same vehicle 90 percent automated in the near future.

Tesla further leads the way in overcoming range anxiety (a major roadblock to EV ownership) by giving the Model 3 plenty of battery power—starting with enough to run 215 miles on a single charge. Sure, other manufacturers have made headway with distance. Chevrolet’s comparably priced 2017 Bolt, for one, promises a range of 200 miles. Industry insiders like the Bolt, but where’s the consumer buzz and anticipation?

No, this is not about advertising. Tesla doesn’t spend a dime on ads or endorsements.

The answer lies in Tesla’s mission: “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market.” Ah, the operative word is compelling—as in building fantasy cars that stimulate a craving, whether or not consumers are diehard conservationists.

Having just reserved a Model 3 for himself, Gerald Burwell, cofounder and publisher of VIE, is one such buyer. “Though not a staunch energy conservationist,” he says, “I have taken fuel economy into consideration when purchasing a vehicle for most of my adult life. Since hybrids arrived onto the automotive scene, I’ve been somewhat intrigued by them, but felt the considerably higher cost of the technology and maintenance did not fit my needs.”

In early 2013, when gas prices were averaging around $3.75 per gallon and Gerald was in the market for a new company lease, he had little faith that the oil giants would put “an end to the pain.” Doing his research, he found a solution. “I was pleasantly surprised to see that diesel drivetrains had begun to make stronger inroads into the US auto market.” In addition to Audi and VW, other big names—Chrysler, GM, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche—hit the US market (for the first time or harder) with diesel. Porsche particularly caught Gerald’s eye. “The year 2013 marked the first in US history for Porsche to introduce diesel into its lineup with the Cayenne,” he informs.

Gerald was hooked on the make and model without a sales pitch. “I regularly travel to Europe where diesel is the fuel of choice,” he explains, “and it didn’t take long for me to understand why. The fuel economy is far superior to that of gasoline (or petrol), which is also 10 to 30 percent more expensive. Calculate the fuel cost per mile, and petrol comes out almost 50 percent more per mile than diesel. I have always wondered why the Americans never caught the bug for diesel.”

Approaching the end of his lease, Gerald still loves the Cayenne, which grants 30 percent fewer fuel stops than comparable gas SUVs, but he’s ready to scale down. Facing limited options in diesel, he read about the Model 3, and that’s when his thoughts shifted to his inaugural test-drive in a Tesla.

Electric Car Tesla 3 Cruising Down The Street

Gerald’s personal introduction to the Model S occurred when his friend, Dave Rauschkolb, became one of the first Tesla owners in Northwest Florida. Passionate about clean energy, Dave, who owns Bud and Alley’s Restaurant in Seaside, Florida, also founded Hands Across The Sand, a nonprofit that helps grassroots groups across the globe unite against dirty fuel. Dave’s brand-new Tesla and mission were subjects of a story in VIE (January/February 2013), so Gerald had a great excuse to check out the luxury sedan.

“I was totally impressed,” says Gerald, “and realized that EVs were becoming more viable as contenders in the car industry. But the cost for the average car buyer was prohibitive.”

Translation: I really wanted that car and knew one day I would get one, someway, somehow!

“Now,” Gerald states for the record, “the launch of the Tesla Model 3 platform is a whole new game change.”

Of course, Gerald admits, what good is a game without fun? With features similar to the Model S, the Model 3 is an incredibly cool high-performance car that accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in under six seconds. Likewise, while aiming to be the safest in its class, the Model 3 fulfills family-car requirements with seating for five adults. In other words, practical people find enough sensible reasons to buy the car of their dreams.

Naysayers, however, remain skeptical about Tesla’s ability to deliver. Karl Brauer, who is the senior director of insights at Kelley Blue Book, echoes the sentiments of many when he says, “People are not going to want their new Tesla if it means a long wait or common technological problems with the car that require a lot of attention, which all of the previous Tesla models have had.”

Black Tesla 3 Electric Car Parked On Road

Tesla Motors, meanwhile, has a huge incentive to make it happen: $14 billion—the value of implied sales based upon Model 3 reservations that consumers have placed so far. Plus, they have buyers like Gerald, who says, “I’m not sure when I will be able take delivery of my greatly anticipated and prized purchase, but it will totally be worth the wait!”


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