Tesla has gotten the green light for the Model 3, its first mass-market car.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Monday that the Model 3 has passed all regulatory requirements two weeks ahead of schedule.
There will be a handover party for the very first 30 Model 3 customers on July 28 in the US. Tesla will then ramp up production to 1,500 cars in September and, ultimately, 20,000 cars per month in December.
Tesla first unveiled the car last March and secured roughly 400,000 customers pre-orders for the vehicle.
We broke down everything you need to know about the Model 3 — here’s a closer look:
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First, the basics. Tesla will offer at least four colour options for the Model 3: red, silver, metallic grey, and black.
Tesla's big selling point for the Model 3 is its affordability, with a starting price of $35,000 before tax incentives. But for customers who want the full Tesla experience, however, the final price will most likely surpass $40,000.
Tesla says the car will be able to drive at least 215 miles on a single charge. That's pretty darn good for a $35,000 car!
The latest models of the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq Electric cost about $US30,000 but have more limited ranges: 107 miles and 124 miles, respectively.
The Model 3 will compete more closely with the Chevy Bolt, which can drive 238 miles on a single charge and starts at $US37,495.
That edges out the Chevy Bolt, which can do 0-60 mph in about seven seconds. Musk has said that more-expensive versions of the car will have longer ranges and faster acceleration times, but he hasn't announced those yet.
The Model 3 comes with eight cameras, one radar sensor, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and a new Nvidia Drive PX2 supercomputer to support Tesla's second-generation Autopilot system, dubbed Enhanced Autopilot.
Tesla says Enhanced Autopilot will eventually allow the car to match its speed to traffic conditions, automatically change lanes without driver input, merge on and off highways, and park itself. Tesla owners could also summon the car in more complex environments, like a crowded parking lot.
It costs an extra $US5,000 to activate Enhanced Autopilot features at the time of purchase, but standard safety features will come free.
Tesla says the new hardware will eventually allow the cars to drive themselves. But the self-driving feature will cost an additional $US4,000 after purchasing the vehicle. The regulatory environment will determine when Tesla can release the fully driverless system.
Tesla's Supercharger network is nothing to sniff at. A Supercharger can restore 170 miles of range in 30 minutes. That's much faster than a Tesla partner station or a wall socket.
Better yet, Tesla is doubling the number of Superchargers worldwide by the end of 2017. The grey dots on the map above show the new Superchargers expected to come online by the end of the year.
Just like it does with the Model S, Tesla will offer an array of premium features for its Model 3, Electrek reported. In addition to the glass roof, Tesla will allow customers to purchase 18- or 19-inch wheels, according to the report.
Tesla opened its glass division in October to make its solar roofs. The group is developing glass that can use heating elements to clear snow while generating energy. Musk said this kind of glass could be used as a rear defroster on cars, but it's unclear whether we will see this technology on the Model 3.
It also comes with a massive 15-inch tablet. But unlike the tablets in the Model S and Model X, the display is horizontal.
Reorienting the touchscreen might make it easier to access different features while driving.
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