The affordable EV is already looking good months before it goes on sale to consumers.
A new spy video indicates the production version of the Tesla Model 3 could look practically identical to the prototype from the debut in 2016. Tesla aims to start assembling the affordable EV in July, and the silver example in this video already look ready to show up at one of the automaker’s stores.
The Model 3 in this clip drives around an office park where both Tesla and SpaceX operate. It generally stays at fairly low speeds but eventually heads out onto the road.
Tesla started building pre-production units of the Model 3 on February 20. The vehicle in this video is likely one of them. The company is giving these EVs a final bout of testing before it begins assembling the ones for public consumption.
Once production starts in July, Tesla employees and investors get the first crack at much of the initial batch of Model 3s. High-volume assembly for satisfying the hundreds of thousands of reservations starts in September.
Tesla’s goal is for the Model 3 to be the company’s mass market EV. Offering a range of at least 215 miles (346 kilometers), the vehicle should have a starting price around $35,000. Even standard examples should be able to reach 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) in less than six seconds, and Tesla’s cutting edge Autopilot system would also be on board. A version with Ludicrous Mode would be even quicker, and an optional solar roof might boost the car’s range.
The Model 3 can expect a fight for supremacy against other low-cost EVs. For example, the Chevrolet Bolt has a head start of several months for grabbing buyers in the segment. In addition, Nissan is showing the next-generation Leaf in September, and it should be on sale in 2017.