The Model 3 will be, contrary to its name, the fourth vehicle launched by the Tesla company (following on the from the Roadster, Model S and Model X) and probably its most important ever, as it is tasked with bringing the company's high-tech electric propulsion to the masses. Well, relatively speaking. The Model 3, which appears to be a five-door, five-seat hatchback of about the same external dimensions as an Audi A4, will be all-electric and be packed with the latest safety and autonomous driving technology.
What will its rivals be?
Based on an estimated starting price in Ireland in the region of €40,000, the Model 3 will cost about the same as a high-end Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series, but to call those rivals might be to do the Tesla a disservice, as it is, for now, the only premium car of its size to come with pure electric propulsion. The closest tech rival to the Tesla right now is the BMW i3, but that's smaller and its range is nowhere near as long. By the time the Model 3 arrives in Ireland (no sooner than the end of 2018), it's possible there will be other genuine competitors, but we can't think of any right now.
Any tech info?
Tesla hasn't really detailed the Model 3's specification, but it will be completely battery powered. We're expecting a rear-wheel drive layout with luggage space front and rear and space for five people on board. Tesla has quoted a few salient figures, such as a 345-kilometre range between charges and a 0-100km/h time of under six seconds. On top of that, of course, the company's latest suite of autonomous driving sensors and software will be included, plus the ability to use the company's 'Supercharging' network of electric chargers.
What will the range be like?
When we say range here, we mean the model line-up and though Tesla hasn't given much detail on that front as yet, it's safe to assume that there will be at least two different variants to choose from with a more powerful battery pack option. It's expected that all will feature a panoramic glass roof and a tablet-like infotainment screen in the centre of the cabin.
It's fair to say that expectations for the Model 3 are at an all-time high. Just three days after Tesla opened the order book it had received over 275,000 deposits worldwide so don't bet on seeing a Model 3 on Irish roads for a while. On Tesla's website right now it says "Delivery estimate for new reservations is mid 2018 or later", which we assume applies to the US market. We're still awaiting the arrival in Ireland of a Tesla showroom, though an announcement is expected at some stage this year.