Tesla's Model 3 Release Promises Serious Upgrades And Customization

Many questions have now been answered after Tesla had their release party for the Model 3. The base model is $35,000, as expected, but there are tons of upgrades available, such as color changes, premium features, Autopilot upgrades, and more.


Jul. 31 2017, Updated 10:17 p.m. ET

After months of hype, Tesla’s Model 3 was finally released at a handover event in Fremont, California, last weekend. 30 vehicles were given out to signal the start of a long journey Model 3 production will have over the coming years. Many details on the electric vehicle are now concrete, and there are some seriously interesting takeaways from those that were lucky enough to ride in one.

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Two different versions of Tesla’s Model 3 will be made available first. Both vehicles were referred to as the “Standard Battery” and “Long Range Battery” editions. The base models start off at $35,000 and $44,000, respectively. Easily the most attractive part of the more expensive edition is the ability to drive up to 310 miles on a single charge versus 220 miles on the other.

Outside of a significant boost in range, there are various tweaks in the “Long Range Battery” edition. The vehicle has slightly faster top speed, can reach 60 miles per hour a half second quicker. Deliveries have begun for this unit, while those that want a white interior will be getting their version sometime in the fall. The “Standard Battery” will be releasing in November.

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What about the other versions? According to a Tesla FAQ on reservations, they’ll be coming as early as Spring 2018. Elon Musk told IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey on Twitter that a “Performance” edition would come around that time too as Tesla’s focus is to meet demand.

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There’s an almost overwhelming amount of options to look forward to for those wanting to spruce up their Model 3. For example, five different colors are available, such as deep blue metallic or midnight silver metallic, for those that want something more than the standard solid black. A package of upgrades are available for $5,000, which includes a higher quality sound system, tinted glass roof, an enhanced center console, and more.

Autopilot will come with every Model 3, but those wanting to get ahead of the autonomous curve can get a few upgrades. “Enhanced Autopilot” has been featured in the Model S and Model X, gives the vehicle an ability to automate basic functions, such as parking, switching lanes without steering, and keeping up with traffic. An addition to that is equipping the Model 3 with full self-driving capabilities when the technology is released.

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Some reporters covering the event had a chance to take the new Model 3 out for a quick spin. Prior to driving, many noted the minimalistic approach the vehicle had inside. Contrary to most vehicles out there, all of the information can be found to the right of the steering wheel on a large 15-inch touchscreen. Tamara Warren of The Verge noted the dashboard had a few compartments and a charging pad, but no air vents are found on the dashboard’s wooden finish. Despite the simple approach, “it wasn’t bland, nor sterile, nor cheap feeling.” 

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Fred Lambert of Electrek compared the Model 3 to a smaller, simpler version of the Model S. He praised the look of the glass roof and also described the new process of unlocking the vehicle. Instead of a key fob, a cell phone that’s connected to the vehicle will be able to unlock it via Bluetooth technology. For those that don’t have a phone on them at the time, he explains, “Tesla provides a keycard with a NFC chip” and running that over the pillar between driver’s side windows will unlock the vehicle.

Expect many more impressions, upgrade additions, and delivery reports of the Model 3 over the coming months. Elon Musk has been able to deliver a mass-market Tesla option with the very affordable $35,000 price tag. Those that want more can pick and choose what they want. For now, over 500,000 reservers will be anxiously awaiting to receive an invitation to customize and complete their vehicle purchase.


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