As production ramps up in California, Tesla is showing its new entry-level model at the Festival of Speed

The Tesla Model 3 has made its European debut at next week's Goodwood Festival of Speed, which is taking place close to exactly one year before production of right-hand-drive versions is due to start.

The car displayed on the Duke of Richmond's front lawn is of US specification and will remain a static display, meaning it won't be driven up the famous hillclimb. But it will provide people in the UK and Europe with their first chance to get up close to the new electric car.

Model 3 production has reached 5000 cars a week. The milestone was hit in the last week of June, just meeting Tesla's self-set output deadline for that number of cars to be made in a week by the end of the second quarter of 2018.

It required the construction of a temporary 'tent' outside the firm's California factory, to hold another production line and increase output.

Deliveries are now predicted to arrive 12-18 months after orders are placed, although only left-hand-drive cars are currently in production, meaning UK cars aren't expected until 2020.

It's estimated that around 500,000 orders have been received for the Model 3, which costs from $35,000 (£26,500) in the US before incentives. 

Our Verdict

Tesla Model 3 2018 road test review hero front

Lowest-price, largest-volume Tesla yet has wooed the buying public in the US. Should UK buyers join the queue for a Model 3?

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The car is claimed to be capable of covering 310 miles on a single charge, according to official tests carried out by the US's Environmental Protection Agency.

This figure applies to the Long Range variant. The car is available with 50kWh or 75kWh batteries.

The 50kWh model has a claimed range of 220 miles, hits 0-60mph in 5.6sec and has a top speed of 130mph. The Long Range model costs from $44,000 (£33,400), can do 0-60mph in 5.1sec and has a 140mph top speed.

In the UK, the entry-level price is expected to be around £30,000 after the £4500 government grant for zero-emissions vehicles is applied. That will pitch the Model 3 against the likes of the Audi A4BMW 3 SeriesJaguar XE and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in terms of pricing and size.

A Performance variant is due later, but Musk has previously said a more powerful 100kWh battery (which is the standard battery for Tesla Performance models) will not fit into the Model 3's smaller structure. This suggests Tesla might only slightly increase the battery size of the 75kWh Model 3 for the Performance version.

The Model 3 is more than 400kg lighter than the Model S, so it could be quicker than the Performance version of that car.

Model 3 owners will not get free access to the Tesla Supercharger high-speed charging system, with the company planning to charge for electricity as demand grows and it requires more investment to build up the network of chargers.

However, if Tesla hits its planned production of 500,000 cars a year - something it has faced an uphill struggle to achieve until the recent 5000-car milestone - analysts predict that it will outsell BMWMercedes-Benz and Lexus in the US.

Prospective Tesla Model 3 owners tell us why they're buying one

Tesla launched its Semi lorry and a new Roadster last year, following an injection of $1 billion (around £800 million) worth of investment into the company - something Musk has previously said would help the company meet high demand for the Model 3.

Tesla has raised capital to help production and ease the financial risk associated with the production run. This has led to a rise in its share price and has been further boosted by reports of its future model plans, including the Model Y compact SUV, according to New York financiers.

However, some analysts still question Tesla's ability to ramp up production to meet its demand. The brand is yet to make a profit, although the latest reports suggest it could do so later this year.

Join the debate

Comments
52

24 February 2017
By the time Tesla starts producing a million cars a year - projected 2020 - it would have moved the transport world away from the fossil fuels by quite a bit.

3 July 2017
It's peanuts in this industry and makes me wonder why people - hacks and readers - give Elon Musk such an easy ride. Any other motor industry CEO is treated with some degree of scepticism, and if Musk was in any industry except this one he'd be written off online as a tax-avoiding fat-cat scumbag rather than the People's Hero.

3 July 2017
Byzantine wrote:

if Musk was in any industry except this one

You're joking, right? Please tell me you are joking.

4 July 2017
But there are billionaires the public love to hate and billionaires whom they love and forgive for the precisely the same qualities - and whom they believe are infallible and will somehow save the world. None of the reporting of Tesla is anything like the coverage other companies gets. Little scrutiny, almost zero scepticism, just join the queue to say what a hero he is and to accept as truth anything we're old.

7 July 2017
Byzantine wrote:

But there are billionaires the public love to hate and billionaires whom they love and forgive for the precisely the same qualities - and whom they believe are infallible and will somehow save the world. None of the reporting of Tesla is anything like the coverage other companies gets. Little scrutiny, almost zero scepticism, just join the queue to say what a hero he is and to accept as truth anything we're old.

Maybe it's because he's offering a vision that people believe in? (400K deposits) He and VW have turned the auto industry upside down in the last couple of years .. a shake up that's been a long time coming , especially for the German OEMs.

10 July 2017
Exactly. Tesla has been subjected to much scrutiny (Autocar included) but customers and investors have bet on the company in a big way.

3 July 2018

emm not sure about that. There's plenty of anti-musk/ Tesla feeling on this very site

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

24 July 2018

He is joking...and heavily intoxicated

29 July 2017

This is just the start. Expect to see many more EV's in the road in the coming years. And many more manufacturers competing with Tesla. Time to embrace the future and ditch the old fossils that we currently drive.

30 November 2017

You are some kind of twit I cant put a name to

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