As long promised, Tesla has unleashed its lower-cost Model 3. CEO Elon Musk’s brainchild will have plenty of surprises when it finally rolls out of production and is released to more than 500,000 individuals who have pre-ordered the vehicles.
The Tesla Model 3, which is estimated to start at about $35,000, will operate without the need for a traditional key. The electric car will detect a smart phone via bluetooth to automatically sense when the driver is near. Practically all smart devices will have the capacity to utilize the technology.
But just in case your phone fails, Tesla has a back-up plan with a key card able to be stored in your wallet. The card can be used to unlock the doors and when placed in a special area between the seats, it can start the electric vehicle as well.
What may be the biggest change to drivers, is the absence of all instruments. That’s right; no speedometer, no gauges, just a 15-inch touchscreen mounted on the dash to the right of the steering wheel. The screen is the only item on the dashboard.
The Model 3 can be upgraded to include larger rims, in fact, even the paint color (standard is black) is an upgrade.
Drivers who are hoping to become riders, can bump up to the Enhanced Autopilot. This feature includes a plethora of sensors, but will set you back another $5,000. The benefits of Enhanced Autopilot incorporate automatic lane switching and self-parking abilities, traffic speed matching, lane guidance, and a nifty little thing Tesla calls “summon”, which allows the car to drive out of a parking space or garage and meet you by itself.
Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot is not a fully autonomous system, but for an extra $3,000 you can add on a feature that may work in conjunction with complete autonomy when and if the U.S. regulations allow.
There are even more surprises from Tesla, like a “Premium Package”, a $5,000 luxury package and a more powerful model (scheduled to be available later this year) that allows for a longer range between charges.
And for those who love their new Tesla so much that they can’t bear to leave it, the 60/40 split backseat folds down to reveal enough room to sleep it.
So far, the first 30 Tesla Model 3’s have been distributed, all to Tesla employees. Additional vehicles are expected to be distributed to more staff members and individuals on the West Coast. Hoping to order one now? You will most likely see delivery beginning in late 2018.