An ‘affordable’ electric car

1st April 2016
Joe Bush

The much anticipated Model 3 has been launched by Tesla, and with a price tag of £24,423 and a claimed range of around 215 miles per charge, it’s the company’s lowest cost vehicle to date. The price tag puts the vehicle within the average cost bracket for the US auto market, making the car a far more realistic proposition for the average person.

The California-based firm’s Model S overtook the Nissan Leaf last year as the world’s best selling pure electric vehicle. However, the amount spent on research and development has meant that the company still posted a net loss – meaning much is riding on the success of the Model 3.

“For a long time there had been questions about the long term viability of Tesla,” commented Jessica Caldwell, an industry analyst at the car research site Edmunds. “With niche products like the Model S and the Model X, it hasn't been hitting any sales targets that would sustain its business.

“So, launching what it hopes will be high volume vehicle is going to show if it can become a fully fledged auto company that will succeed in the long term rather than one that pumps out a few cool cars and then goes bust.”

Tesla boss Elton Musk has stated that the company has already received 115,000 orders for the Model 3 with an incentive of a $7,500 tax credit offered to US buyers – which will be pulled once 200,000 vehicles have been sold in the country.

Due to this far more realistic price tag, interest in the Tesla Model 3 has expanded beyond the traditional markets of San Francisco and Los Angeles, with lines in place in Houston and Arizona.

Although the Model 3 could well have dealt with one of the main issues holding back the advancement of electric cars (namely cost), its price tag brings into focus the other main problem impacting the mass roll-out of the technology – charging infrastructure. Owners of previous Tesla models were primarily wealthy individuals with garages or driveways where they are able to plug their vehicles in overnight. With the Model 3 placed at a much wider demographic it will be vital that buyers can easily find a charging point.

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