This was an exciting night for me. I have been an admirer of Tesla, the electric car company, and its CEO Elon Musk for several years since I read an article about the new Tesla Model S sedan in a local newspaper. Wow! the article described Model S as a full electric car which could go 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds (challenging the world’s best super cars) and travel well over 250 miles on a single charge. That was more than impressive.
Then I went on to read about about Tesla’s plans to install a network of Supercharger stations at intervals on all of the major highways so that a people could drive the cars all over the country – charging their Teslas in about 30 minutes for free at each stop.
When I read that Motor Trend had declared the Model S its Car of the Year and that Consumer Reports gave the car its highest rating ever, I was sold on the company. Without further research I immediately bought 100 shares of Tesla stock at $32.85 a share (breaking all of my long held rules for buying stock in the process). I never regretted that rash move nor the additional shares I bought at various prices over the past thee years. Tesla closed today at $229,77 a share. (Update: $238:04 a share as of 2:00 PM Central 4/1.)
What I didn’t buy was the car itself. The base Model S sedan starts at about $70,000 and can run over $120,000 with all of the options included. That’s too rich for my blood. Recently Tesla came out with their SUV, the Model X, which runs in the same price range or a bit more. However, Musk always predicted that the sales of the Model S and Model X would be used to pay for the design and production of an “affordable” Tesla, one that would be produced for mass marketing.
You see, Elon Musk always viewed Tesla as a company that would do more than make electric cars sexy and totally disrupt the gas and diesel powered car market. He envisioned the company as a key factor in the fight to save the world from global warming. To make that dream a reality Tesla had to sell more than 50K to 100K very high end luxury cars a year which only the very rich could afford.
Tesla would ultimately have to sell 500K to a million vehicles a year to open up the electric car market and prove the concept viable so that the major car companies would get on board by building their own electric cars. To encourage his competition, Musk did something most would never even contemplate, he opened up all of Tesla industry leading propriety electric car patents for anyone to use cost free.
That is my kind of car company; one that puts the welfare of the earth and all of its citizens first while manufacturing extremely sexy cars and building a world class company in the process.
I have wanted to own a Tesla since I read that first newspaper article, but I have never owned a luxury car on any type in my entire life. I just never thought the extra features and prestige were worth the money. I currently drive a 1997 Honda Prelude if that tells you anything, but i set my sites on Tesla’s first mass market car which was ultimately to be named the Model 3. When I learned that the entry level price for the Model 3 would be $35,000, I was sold. For once in my cheap life I would buy a bit of luxury and a piece of history.
Today was the big day, and the unavailing of the Model 3 was set for 8:30 pm PDT. But while waiting prospective owners could reserve their Model 3 in Tesla showrooms starting this morning and beginning at 7:30 pm PDT on line for a fully refundable down payment of $1,000. At 9:30 CDT I placed my reservation on line not knowing what the car would look like or knowing what its standard features will be.
At at a little after 8;30 PDT,/10:30 pm CDT, Elon Musk made his entrance and began the introduction. Eventually three Model 3 prototypes were driven on stage and the wait was worth it.
Standard Features: Seats 5 comfortably, 5 star safety features everywhere, 0 to 60 speed = under 6 seconds – faster with optional battery, glass roof, Model S Autopilot feature hardware, 215 miles per charge, free charges at Superchargers and destination chargers.
Musk said that Tesla would start manufacturing the Model 3 next year in late 2017, but I expect that mine will not be delivered until sometimes in 2018. He also announced that Tesla will be doubling the current number of Supercharger stations by the end of next year. Tesla will also increase the number of their destination charging stations (where you can charge your car overnight) by a factor of 4, also by the end of next year. You can view the current US Supercharge station map here and the current US destination charger map here.
One Tesla stock analysis predicted that Tesla would take orders for 40K Model 3’s in the 4 days ending this weekend while a more bullish analyst predicted 100K orders in that time frame which would mean a minimum of $3.5 Billion in future Model 3 sales. During the unavailing Musk announced that Tesla had already received orders for 115K Model 3’s. Remember all of those orders were received before anyone knew what the car would look like or what its standard features would be. Such is the faith that Tesla enthusiasts have in the company. Heaven only knows how many more Model 3 orders Tesla will receive now that has the prototypes have been unveiled and everyone understands the car’s features. Update: As of 10:30 am Friday, 4/1/16 (the day after the Model 3 inductions) Tesla had received 198,000 reservations for the car.
I think we will look back on this unavailing of the Tesla Model 3 as the moment in time when the car industry begin to change for the better.