We're live-blogging the launch of Tesla Motors' new Model 3 — which promises to be the first affordable long-range electric car in Australia. Come join in, and watch with us!
Update: For official pictures and video of the Model 3, look right down the bottom of this post.
2:05PM: I've put together a quick list of things we think we know already about the Model 3. Let's see how close they are to reality.
Prolific Aussie Tesla owner Simon Hackett features in one of the videos currently looping on the live-stream, along with some other testimonials.
Click the image below to go to the Model 3 live-stream on Tesla.com.
2:15PM: So, if you don't know anything about the Model 3, here's a quick summary of what we're expecting. A smaller, cheaper electric car than Tesla's $100,000-plus Model S and Model X, with comparable range, but likely fewer fancy bells and whistles inside. But we're ready to be surprised...
This guy delivers mail with his Tesla!
2:20PM: This guy is talking about how his kids just won't have a petrol-powered car. That's a pretty confronting thought, but we're pretty confident that petrol and diesel will be around for a long time to come. It's just that there'll be less of them, and hopefully more efficient with the dinosaur juice they burn.
2:25PM: The looping videos have stopped, and we're being treated to a stark black screen with the Model 3's three horizontal bars. We're close to kick-off... probably.
2:30PM: Here's a Periscope live-stream of all the attendees. But we're live and broadcasting!
2:35PM: Tesla design boss Franz von Holzhausen took to the stage quickly to greet attendees and introduce Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is now on stage. Musk is talking about "accelerating the world's transition to sustainable transport", a cause that's close to his heart. Pollution is a problem that is getting forever worse around the world, and Musk thinks electric cars can fix that.
"Combustion cars emit toxic gas" — that's "bad for your health", says Musk, and that's the rationale behind the company's not-so-secret Secret Master Plan.
Tesla started with the low-volume Roadster — a high price, low quantity car that proved the company could make a great electric car — "the first great electric car", says Musk.
2:40PM: Interestingly enough, Musk says the Roadster was what tipped General Motors' boss Bob Lutz to build the GM Bolt. But Tesla decided to continue its electric vehicle journey and to build the Model S.
Consumer Reports famously named the Model S as its best car ever — not the best electric car, but the best car — in 2015. Half the market wants a sedan and half the market wants a SUV — and that's why Tesla then built the Model X, says Musk.
2:45PM: Going from the S and the X, "we finally come to the end of the master plan — and we're here to show that to you tonight". This is the Model 3, still under wraps in the image behind Musk. He's about to talk about some of the aspects behind the 3 before showing it off.
This is the Tesla Model 3:
"The Model 3 is going to be an incredibly safe car — we think that safety comes first. The Model 3 will be five star in every category": Musk.
Even the base model will do 0-100km/h in less than six seconds. "And there'll be models that go even faster."
"At least" an EPA-rated range of 215 miles (345km) per charge — "but we hope to exceed them".
"All Model 3s will come standard with autopilot hardware", and "the safety features will always be there" — with no additional purchase required.
The Model 3 will be built slightly different to other cars, with passengers in the front seats sitting slightly further forward "than you'd expect", with space for five adults. Can you fit a seven-foot-long surfboard on the inside? "
"All Model 3s will come with Supercharging standard," says Musk. Supercharging gives buyers "freedom of travel", without the range restrictions of other range-limited electric cars. There are 3500 Superchargers worldwide and just as many destination chargers.
2:50PM: The crowd is pretty happy with what they're hearing, unsurprisingly...
Tesla is going to double the number of service locations around the world from 215 to 441 — "if you're in any mid-sized metro area, you'll be able to buy your car and get it serviced."
To build the Model 3, "we would need to absorb the entire world's lithium production" — that's why Tesla is building the Gigafactory. The largest footprint of any building of any kind anywhere in the world, and only second in volume to the Boeing factory in Washington. It'll build more batteries than every other factory in the world combined.
"And it's already operational today."
"And when are our deliveries? Next year....... I feel fairly confident that it'll be next year." (laughter)
"And how much? It'll be $35,000."
2:55PM: Alright, Musk is done speaking. Now, we see a video of the Tesla Motors Model 3. And it's out on stage! The Model 3 looks very similar to the Model S and the Model X, almost a hybrid between the two.
Image credit: Jalopnik
"You like the car?" — Musk.
Holy shit — there have been 115,000 orders of the Tesla Model 3 around the world in the last 24 hours, sight unseen.
3:00PM: With no huge fanfare, Musk is done. If you want one, you can order one — simple as that. Reservations are now open at Tesla.com, says the live-stream....
Our first official image of the Tesla Motors Model 3:
Model 3 is the next logical step of Tesla's "secret master plan" and mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Like every Tesla, Model 3 is engineered to combine range, performance, safety and utility. Smart design maximizes interior space, to comfortably fit 5 adults and all of their gear. Tesla makes fast cars, Model 3 is no exception. The high efficiency electric motor provides zero to 60 mph acceleration in less than six seconds. And when equipped with electric all-wheel drive, Model 3 provides safe and dependable traction in all conditions. Designed with safety as a priority, Model 3 should be the safest car in its class once testing completes. This, combined with over 200 miles of range while starting at $35,000 before incentives, makes Model 3 an extraordinary mid-size sedan. Model 3 will begin production in late 2017, ramping Tesla vehicle production to 500,000 vehicles per year.
3:05PM: In Australian dollars, Tesla has clocked $172.5 million in pre-order deposits for the Model 3 in the last 24 hours worldwide — all sight unseen.
— Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) April 1, 2016
In the Periscope live-stream of the first ever Model 3 drive, you can see that the Model 3 has a similarly large touchscreen in the centre of the display, but arranged in a landscape orientation rather than a portrait one like Model S and Model X.
"We will have both rear-wheel-drive and dual-motor cars."
Click the image above to go to the Periscope stream of the first ever Model 3 drive.
How close is this to a production car? "It's quite close, but we have a lot to do in the time we have left." Things like crash safety, production tooling, and the like. Almost no recycled or reused parts from the Model S or Model X...
The car is a combination of steel and aluminium — "steel in some locations, aluminium in some". A higher percentage of steel, dominated by steel. We'll get "a lot more statistics" on that closer to the car's production. Air suspension is "expected to be an option."
Tesla isn't disclosing anything specific on battery packs, but there will be a variety on offer. We do know that the entry-level Model 3 will be 215 miles of range, under 6 seconds for 0-100km/h, and US$35,000 price before incentives.
We don't know the Australian price just yet. We don't actually expect to know the price any time soon, so expect those estimates — varying between $45,000 and $60,000 base price in Australia — to continue for some time to come.
3:15PM: Alright folks, I'm calling that a wrap! Thanks so much for tuning in and watching along with us, we really appreciate it. Let us know in the comments below what you thought, and stay tuned for more Model 3 news as we get hold of it.
Tesla Model 3 official images: