Tesla to begin test building affordable Model 3

The all-electric 3 Series rival will boast a minimum range of 215 miles and a 0-62mph time of less than six seconds when it arrives in the UK, we're just not sure when that'll be.

Tesla will briefly pause production at its California-based factory this month to start pilot production of the eagerly-awaited Model 3, it has been reported. This will take the company a step closer to starting full Model 3 production in July.

Tesla's Model 3 is due to hit the production line in July

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The Model 3 is the car that’s promising to democratise electric vehicles but, unless you’re one of the lucky ones to have already placed an order, it looks as if you won’t be able to have one silently rolling into your driveway until mid 2018.

The all-electric 3 Series rival will boast a minimum range of 215 miles and a 0-62mph time of less than six seconds, regardless of derivative. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said these numbers were “minimum targets” which Tesla hoped to exceed when the finalised figures are revealed closer to market launch.

The Tesla Model 3 promises to be affordable, but when deliveries will start exactly remains a question.

It is understood Tesla will pause general production and begin test building the Model 3 on 20 February. Commenting on the pause in production, Tesla told Reuters: “It will allow Tesla to begin Model 3 production later this year as planned and enable us to start the ramp towards 500,000 vehicles annually in 2018."

We should hear more about the production tests later in the month, with the company aiming to build a small number to test the production process and ensure the quality of vehicle parts.

 

From the outside, the Model 3 takes styling cues from the larger Model S, and gets two luggage bays like its larger sibling too.

What can we expect to see from the Model 3?

The Model 3 is seen as the final stage in a ‘master plan’ to popularise electric vehicles. The three-stage plan began in 2006 when the Roadster was launched. From there, Tesla planned to build an “affordable” car (the Model S), before revealing an even more affordable car (the Model 3).

Tesla has also said that the Model 3 will be very practical for its size. Like the larger Model S, the Model 3 gets a luggage bay at both ends, and the lack of an internal combustion engine means that extra cabin space has been freed up. The windscreen and roof are also made from a single pane of glass designed to make the passenger cell feel light and airy.

Here’s the Tesla Model 3 reveal in full

The all-electric mid-size saloon was unveiled in California in April, and has been pre-ordered by around 400,000 people. It’s because of this high demand that Tesla has announced that any orders placed hereon in won’t be filled until mid-2018 or later.

The new model has been described as a “mass-market, affordable car”, and will cost from around $35,000. At the time of its unveil, that meant it’d cost around £24,300, but the recent drop in the value of the pound means UK customers currently stand to pay roughly £28,000.

Unless you've already placed an order, don't expect to get behind the wheel of a Model 3 until mid 2018 at the earliest.

However, for those in the UK that want to reserve one, the £1,000 deposit currently remains unchanged. Tesla has also confirmed that the extended delivery dates don’t reflect any problems or delays in initial production, which will still commence by the end of 2017.

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