Tesla’s Model 3: It just may well be worth the hype
With all the fanfare of a new Apple product launch, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s latest model, the Model 3. Clearly the hype was not related to the name. Question is, is the car worth the hype?
Well actually it just may be.
Tesla cars are hyped like Apple products, and in some ways are similar. They represent new technologies, or if not new technologies then at least a vastly improved packaging of old ones. Some may scoff at the company’s actual technical achievements, but these are the same people that scoff at Apple products. The scoffing has little to do with the product and much to do with the bitterness embedded in the scoffer.
No one else has come close to making a truly desirable electric car. Nissan has the totally forgettable Leaf, which is compromised because it is based on conventional car architecture. Fashion-accessory BMW has offered up the inexplicable i3, which may be a decent car but whose target market is, for some reason, well to do blind people. Why a company would choose to design a car from a blank sheet of paper that looks like it’s from the desk of a 5 year old is beyond me.
Toyota does have the quite successful Prius, but it has had trouble breaking out beyond the die-hard green set. It has served the company well and has a devoted following, but then so do delivery vans. What Tesla has done is create environmentally friendly cars that people, beyond die-hard environmentalists, are actually interested in.
Tesla’s whole game plan has been well thought out. Compare it to Toyota’s or Nissan’s. Those companies started with good econoboxes as bases for electric/hybrid vehicles, which generated as much excitement as a mew battery design. Tesla started out by modifying a Lotus. Instantly it was a desirable car, and any engineering shortcomings were considered after that fact.
Next, Tesla designed its first in-house cars the proper way, with a complete free rein to optimize packaging around the new technology. The floor is perfectly flat from wheel to wheel (to wheel to wheel, technically). There is decent luggage space in front and excellent luggage space in back. It drives as well as the best European luxury cars, which is an incredible feat for a new company.
The Tesla 3 now moves the bar downwards towards the masses. While journalists weren’t allowed to drive them, passenger seat reports indicate that this is another excellent automobile that is groundbreaking and affordable. That again is a tremendous feat for a new, small car company; it’s not hard to build an excellent car that costs as much as an aircraft carrier. It’s a much trickier task to do it on a budget.
Which is why the Tesla 3 is so significant. It has massive appeal built in, partly as a result of the company’s history, and partly because it is just plain appealing.