Posted on April 01, 2016 by Matt Pressman
We were there. A historic night. If you haven't watched the announcement yet, scroll to the bottom to see the video of Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] CEO Elon Musk introduce the Tesla Model 3. It was an elegant event. Small, but charged with so much energy. We were humbled to be there. What was it like? Here's an all-access pass...
After some drinks and hors d'oeuvres and mingling with the likes of Tesla youtube celebs like Electric Jen, KMan, Bjorn, and amazing writers like Gene (from Teslarati), Dan (from Motley Fool), and Zach and Kyle (from Clean Technica), we watched the groundbreaking intro to the Model 3 no more than 10 feet away from Elon Musk (see video at bottom). But the real fun started when the new electric vehicle design was unveiled...
Cars were revealed in matte grey, silver (not shown above), and a candy apple red. Stunning. The cars just exude sex appeal. Yet, at the same time, the design language was powerful, even a bit aggressive. This is not a Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, or Toyota Prius. This car makes a statement. We were given gorgeous design sketches (see above) from Tesla's chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, that showcase the essence of the vehicle's design. It's absolutely breathtaking in person. While it's consistent with Tesla's prior design language it has hints of Porsche in front, and, Aston Martin in back. One thing is certain, its looks are luxurious but its price tag (starting at: $35k) is not. Next up, test drive.
Tesla Model 3 pulls up, recessed door handles (a new shape) are pressed, and in we go. Wait... is that Tesla Co-Founder and CTO JB Straubel giving a test drive? Yes. Wow. We're ready for this... but first, let's take a look at the interior.
Look close at the new steering wheel... no look closer -- behind it. No instrumentation. It's all placed on the upper left corner of the landscape (not portrait) floating touchscreen. The touchscreen is meant to be shared by both driver and passenger while all available information simply "lives" there, no need for extra visual distraction behind the steering wheel. A long sleek wood grain covers the dash and center console while copious space and an airy feel surprises in the cabin. Oh, and the car is fast, very fast. Grips the road with supreme confidence. Yes, this car will amaze you.
Okay... we get out. We hang around to get a close-up of the new wheels styles. One is a "take" on the classic Tesla "Turbine" design. Another is a sporty "Aero" redesign. Both have hints of carbon fiber... they're stunning. Even the brake lights look seductive. The attention to detail, the lines and curves, will prove to be very alluring for those in the market for a car like this... in fact, as noted in Fortune*, "a ticker counted the pre-orders coming in, and the number reached 138,000 before media dispersed. For perspective, it took Nissan five years to sell 200,000 Nissan Leaf EVs." Tesla may have that many registrations by the end of this week.
Nevertheless, when all the smoke clears, it won't be the base model's 215 miles of range, the $35,000 price, the 0-60 in less than 6 seconds, the supercharger access, or the (standard-on-all-cars) autopilot that will sell this car in large numbers. It will be the stunning design and unparalleled performance we felt tonight.
Once again, if you haven't caught Elon Musk's announcement, please watch (courtesy of Nick Howe), or feel free to watch it again...
Source: News from the Frunk
Okay.... that's it. Have to sign off and get some sleep. Got an early flight tomorrow morning. What a trip. Think we just witnessed automotive history. All I can say is this: place your reservation now, it's going to be tough to wait for this car.