If you’ve ever driven Tesla’s flagship vehicle–the $140,000 Model S P100D–you’ ve experienced an unparalleled version of driving power. Zero to 60 in 2.3 seconds punches you back in the seat while building the belly turning somersaults. Some people live for that sensation. I’m not one of them.

Sure, driving a fully loaded electric beast is as thrilling as the fiercest roller coaster–but not everyone wants their everyday commute to be the Kingda Ka. After taking one of the first drives of Tesla’s new Model 3 last week, I went away thinking that CEO Elon Musk has finally delivered an electric car for the everyday street tripper like me.

The Model 3 still has plenty of pickup, effortlessly jump-start from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds in the upgraded version I test drove, which gets a stunning 310 miles on a charge. It’s nimble, comfortable, and has tight steering that’ll retain you grinning. The seats embrace you in a gentle hug that feels a bit more geared for street trip than racetrack. It’s the Model S on a diet, building up in practicality what it loses in extravagance.

And I haven’t even gotten to the good material yet.

The fact that this car still appears, drives, and feels like a Tesla–at a starting cost of $35,000 — shows how far the Silicon Valley automaker has come. It’s still an expensive vehicle for many of Tesla’s biggest fans, and compelling alternatives packages will drag a lot of stretching spenders into uncomfortable province. But at current battery prices, Tesla is setting a new standard for value in an electric car–which of course was Musk’s plan all along.

Step Inside

Source: Tesla

The minute you approach the Model 3, you realize you’re in for a new sort of auto experience. The auto’s elegant, flush entrance manages swivel into your palm with the light press of a thumb. The ethereal swoop of metal feelings amazingly solid.

The car doesn’t have a key, or a key fob. Instead it syncs to your telephone through a bluetooth connection and will automatically unlock as you approach. The backup in case your phone dies or you need to hand it off to a valet is a thin key card that you are able to keep in your billfold. Swipe it on the car’s B pillar to unlock it, and place it on the center console to become the car on.

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Stepping within the cabin, I speedily realized that my assumptions had been all wrong. I’ve seen a lot of spy kills of Model 3 prototypes online, and the interiors ever appeared to be flat, spartan, and lifeless. Not so. The lack of gauges on the narrow dash is refreshing. The solid strip of open-pore lumber dedicates the space warmth, and the glass roof makes the the cabin feel like an atrium. The forward field of vision–uninterrupted by knobs, illuminations, and levers–is expansive.

Tesla is getting better at house vehicles. Unlike early versions of the Model S and X, the Model 3 is built to be a daily motorist, with plenty of cupholders, door pockets, and console storage. The materials of the limb rests and doorways feel “re ready for” mistreat. And the sewn synthetic material used for insurance premiums seats is different than leather, but not inferior.

Shots Fired

BMW and Mercedes should be concerned. This automobile is clearly targeting their marketplace. Since Musk handed over keys to the first 30 cars on Friday, I’ve heard a lot of people trying to compare the Model 3 to GM’s all-electric Chevy Bolt( known as the Opel Ampera-e in Europe ). Although they’re similarly priced and both run on batteries, the parallel purposes there. The Bolt is an economy gasoline vehicle that’s been electrified; the Model 3 is, well, something altogether different.

Tesla aims to sell 500,000 electric cars next year. In ordering to succeed, it will have to tear down the artificial differences between a” auto purchaser” and an” electric-car buyer” and go straight at the heart of the $35,000 sedan class: the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The Model 3 is Musk’s missile aimed at this target.

” We finally have a great, affordable, electric car–that’s what this day entails ,” Musk mentioned, when I asked how he was feeling about the launch.” I’m really confident this is likely to be the best auto in this price scope, hands down. Judge for yourself .”

Two Battery Versions

The Model 3 comes in two battery kinds: standard and long range. In a transgres from the past, Tesla wouldn’t disclose the size of it two battery packs. Instead, moves forward, the vehicles will be identified by the miles they can drive on service charges, and the cars will lose their exterior badges that indicate battery sizing and premium performance alternatives. This route, Tesla will get more credit for the efficiency gains it squeezes out of its engines and designing, instead of being judged by kilowatt hours alone.

From the outside, a $35,000 Model 3 will look no different than a $57,000 fully loaded version. The company plans to attain the same transition with its Model S and Model X platforms later.

Here’s how the two versions break down 😛 TAGEND

Standard Battery 😛 TAGEND

Price: $35,000( not including government incentives 1)

Scope: 220 miles( EPA calculated)

Supercharging rate: 130 miles in 30 minutes

Zero to 60 mph period: 5.6 seconds

Price: $44,000( not including government incentives)

Range: 310 miles

Supercharging rate: 170 miles in 30 minutes( Same as Tesla’s Model S)

Zero to 60 mph day: 5.1 seconds

Forty Model 3s and a bank of Superchargers

Photographer: Tom Randall/ Bloomberg



The Model 3 has arrived.