It’s been nearly two months since we heard anything about the Model 3, but now a photo from one of Tesla’s employees is making its rounds, putting to rest speculations that the Model 3 is far behind schedule.
So far, this is what we’ve seen. Earlier this year two prototypes were seen of the Model 3 – a matte black version and a silver version. Both were taken in the vicinity of the Fremont factory where they are being designed and built, and this is what they look like.
The latest photograph that was released to the public by a Tesla employee was an interior shot taken in broad daylight. The photo shows the familiar touch console, and many of the things that we’ve seen inside the Model S, but with changes.
Here’s what the inside of a Tesla Model 3 now looks like, and we have every reason to think that this is the interior they’ll go with.
The sleek modernistic look is still very much there, but at $35,000 don’t expect to see the expensive upholstery or interior work that we’ve come to expect from the Model S. This car’s three times as cheap, and has become so iconic that nearly 400,000 people from around the world have ante’d up the $1000 reservation fee for the Model 3.
Here are a few more photos, but these are of the prototypes they released earlier this year.
Design is a Done Deal
The Model 3 design were finalized about two months ago when the company released the first photograph of the silver Model 3, and there’s really no option for them to go in and do any major tweaks on the interiors because by now the engineers at the Fremont factory are already preparing the machines that will start to mold and manufacture the various parts that go on the inside of the Tesla Model 3.
On the whole, the design certainly looks attractive and appealing enough. This is crucial for Tesla because mass appeal is what they’re after with the Model 3. Unlike the Model S, which continues to excite people with its flowing lines and superior capability, the Model 3 will be sought-after not for its looks, but because it’s a purebred electric vehicle that can compete with mainstream entry-level luxury models like the BMW 2 and 3 series, the Mercedes Benz C-class and the base models of Audi, as well as other premium brands like the Honda Acura.
Nevertheless, the Model 3 is still a stunner for its price point.
What is Tesla Really After?
At this point, we need to note that Tesla CEO Elon Musk is not looking at the Model 3 as the flagship vehicle of Tesla Motors. This is merely one more step towards his dream of making a million or more cars every year. At this point they sell under 100,000 cars per year, and even at $35,000 (exc. rebates) the Model 3 will be considered too expensive by most.
What Tesla really wants is to go through the exercise to show that a pure EV has the ability to compete in the market with more popular brands like the German ones that are currently ruling that segment of the market.
With the Model 3, Tesla will probably take significant market from the German trio, but what’s more important is the brand-building and brand recognition aspect that the company is after.
During the last quarterly earnings for Tesla Motors, the company revealed that it plans to launch yet another car once Model 3’s production and delivery settle down. They’re calling it the Model Y, and it will be a crossover SUV not unlike the Model X, but at a much more affordable price. In fact, if Tesla’s pattern holds, it will be significantly lower than the Model 3.
The closer Tesla can bring its cars to the $30,000 price point, the better it will be for the future of the company. By introducing a brand that is affordable yet has the essential capabilities of the Model S – quick acceleration, long range, comfortable driving experience, etc. – Tesla can tremendously boost the potential market for the new vehicle.
For now, though, Tesla is busy competing with its own deadlines for the first mass-production batch of the Model 3. Unless they can get the designs into the manufacturing phase, they will not be able to deliver the car on time, and this will have serious implications on the company as a whole.
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