Posts

Tesla Model 3

Traffic to Tesla's website surges 798% as Model 3 is revealed

Tesla Model 3

The hype around Tesla’s affordable electric car has been massive in recent weeks – and figures revealed today show that traffic on the firm’s website attracted an incredible seven million visits over the three days around the Model 3’s unveiling.

Reservations for the Model 3 opened on March 31, with traffic increasing by 798% the following day. US visits jumped from 220,000 on March 31 to a peak of 1.9 million on 1 April.

To put that into context, the data (revealed by digital market intelligence firm SimilarWeb) shows that Ford’s website received 358,000 US visits on 1 April, followed by Toyota (320,000) and 130,000 for Nissan.

Potential customers could register their interest in the $35,000 (£25,000) Model 3 by leaving a deposit of $1,000 (or £1,000 in the UK) online. Within 24 hours, 115,000 orders had been received – rising to 325,000 within the first week.

Nearly half (48%) of visitors to Tesla’s website during this period were from the US, followed by Canada (6.64%) and the UK (5.58%).

Tesla Model 3

Video: Telsa Model 3 revealed in California

Watch Tesla chief Elon Musk pulls the covers off the new Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3: all you need to know – with video

Tesla Model 3 first lookThe waiting is over – Tesla has launched its $35,000 (£25,000) high-volume Model 3 electric car and the world is buzzing with excitement.

The firm is already accepting $1,000 (refundable) deposits – £1,000 in the UK – for the new Model 3 and during the launch event, Tesla chief Elon Musk revealed 115,000 orders had already been placed in the first 24 hours alone.

This figure currently appears to be rising by many hundreds every single minute…

Tesla Model 3: need to know

  • Price: From $35,000
  • Range: From 215 miles
  • 0-62mph: Less than 6.0 seconds
  • Seats: 5
  • Delivery: 2017
  • Driverless functionality: Auto Pilot standard
  • Ordering: $1,000 (£1,000) refundable deposits taken from now
  • Target annual production: 500,000

Video: Tesla Model 3

Musk started the launch event by setting the scene for Tesla: record high global CO2, making it “very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport”. Enter the four-part ‘Tesla Secret Masterplan” that started with the Tesla Roadster, evolved to the Model S and Model X, and now takes in the Model 3.

GM’s Bob Lutz credited the Telsa Roadster with inspiring the Chevrolet Volt programme, which also led to the Nissan Leaf. Already, Tesla’s had a big effect on the auto industry. And now the Model 3 is set to take the next step.

What is the Tesla Model 3?

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 is a mid-size model that will compete with models such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. It is all-electric and Musk says the range will be a minimum of 215 miles on the U.S. EPA test cycle; all models will have Telsa Supercharger recharge functionality as standard (and the Supercharger network is set to double, to 441 global locations, by the end of next year).

It will be a fast car – even the ‘slowest’ model will do 0-62mph in less than 6.0 seconds. “At Tesla, we don’t make slow cars” says Musk. And there will, of course, be models that go much faster, he confirmed.

Both all-wheel drive and air suspension will be optional.

The Model 3 will be “an incredibly safe car” said Musk, with 5-star ratings in every category. “Safety has to come first” said the company founder. We can thus expect glittering Euro NCAP test results when the Model 3 is assessed in Europe.

Active safety will be boosted by the standard fitment of Tesla Auto Pilot, the autonomous ‘self-driving’ technology already seen on the Tesla Model S.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Inside, the Model 3 is a full five-seater with the “best roominess of any car of this size”, promised Musk: five adults will fit comfortably and the cabin will fully swallow a 7-foot surfboard. As with the Model S, there are luggage compartments both front and rear, offering class-leading capacity “and more cargo space than any same-size gas car”.

Tesla Model 3 interior

The cabin incorporates the familiar oversize touchscreen in the centre of the dash – although this time it’s mounted horizontally rather than portrait-style. There’s also no traditional instrument panel dashboard – the designers have instead shifted the cabin layout, seating those in the front much further forward than normal to maximise interior space.

As for the price, Musk was clear: it will “of course” cost from £35,000 – that’s around £24,500 in the UK, although it will likely rise to around £30,000 once it arrives in the UK.

The base model won’t be a stripped-out, featureless machine though, promised Musk. All the key features of the Model 3 will be standard across the range.

And when will deliveries begin? Next year, he said: a 2017 delivery date is something he’s “fairly confident” of (although Tesla perhaps doesn’t have the best track record of meeting delivery date targets…).

Tesla Model 3: a high-volume EV

Tesla Freemont

Tesla wants to significantly ramp up its global volumes with the Model 3. This is its mainstream model, the car that should take it from 50,000 units to 500,000 units per year.

The Freemont factory – a former GM/Toyota joint venture called NUMMI – already has the capacity to make half a million cars a year, said Musk: the challenge is the batteries. 500,000 batteries a year represents the world’s current total lithium ion production!

Tesla Gigafactory

Hence Tesla building a new battery factory, the Gigafactory (pictured above). This will boast the largest footprint of any building in the world and be second in overall size only to the Boeing factory in Washington. It’s enormous – and its success is essential to the Model 3’s viability.

Video: watch the Tesla Model 3 launch

What are the rivals to the Tesla Model 3?

The Model 3 is a revolution for Tesla but it’s not a car without rival. Here are the established contenders and ambitious newcomers set to go up against the new Model 3

Chevrolet Bolt

Similar price, all-electric ability, similarly ambitious goals: GM’s first modern EV is being pitched as the real world alternative to the fancy Tesla Model 3 and will be a fierce competitor to Elon’s baby. But is it a bit too real world?

Nissan LEAF

2015 Nissan Leaf 30kWh review: Verdict

Musk namechecked the Nissan LEAF during the reveal of the Model 3: the original Tesla Roadster led directly to its development, he said (which may be news to Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn). Today the world’s most successful fully electric car, it’s a groundbreaker that will become even more formidable in next-gen form that’s likely due around the time of the Model 3’s launch…

BMW 3 Series

BMW 320d LT part 2

Tesla aims to make a full EV that can challenge the compact executive hierarchy with the Model 3, and there’s no finer example of this than the BMW 3 Series (a car we’ve been living with for the past few months). Most are sold with conventional petrol or diesel engines but there’s also now a plug-in hybrid. BMW also offers…

BMW i3

BMW i3 in Central London

… The brilliantly ingenious i3, which has ingenious construction, brilliant driving manners and all the reliability, solidity and cut-above feel you’d expect of a BMW. If a full EV is a step too far, there’s even a range extender version with a tiny motorbike engine in the back

Toyota Prius Prime

Revealed at the 2016 New York Auto Show, Toyota has added extended-range plug-in hybrid capability to the established, multi-million-selling Prius hybrid. But what if buyers truly want zero emissions? Toyota has an answer there too…

Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai

… With the brilliant Mirai, an all-electric car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell rather than the Tesla’s plug-in batteries. It’s the first volume fuel cell car on sale and as much of a ground-breaker as anything Tesla’s done. Could this be the one the Model 3 must really watch?

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 teased ahead of March 31 reveal

Tesla Model 3Tesla will reveal its crucial Model 3 electric car on March 31 – the £30,000 volume EV it hopes will give it the higher sales necessary for long-term sustainability.

Sitting below the Model S saloon and new Model X crossover, the Model 3 will be similar in size to an Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class: not only that, it also has those three cars directly in its sights as a full EV alternative to the top-selling German compact executive cars that dominate the sector.

Tesla boss Elon Musk has revealed the Model 3 is around 20% smaller than the Model S, a car nearly 5 metres long. The Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are all around 4.6 metres long.

The all-electric Model 3 will, on the insistence of Musk, have a range of at least 200 miles, although the reality is that most customers expect at least 20% more, he added. Call it 250 miles then – not far shy of the larger Model S.

Technically, achieving such a range in a more compact car is an interesting challenge – particularly as Tesla will also have to maximise interior space and luggage capacity to ensure its market appeal is as broad as possible. This makes it likely some next-generation battery technology may debut in the Model 3.

This will also give it the standout performance that’s becoming a Tesla trademark. Expect best-in-class acceleration figures, with numbers likely to challenge sports cars for potency.

Following the reveal at the Tesla Design Studio in California on March 31, pre-orders for the new Model 3 will open, although first deliveries are not expected until 2017.

Musk has also said a crossover version derived from the Model 3 will be launched later, likely to be called Model Y.

The Model 3 will be key to Tesla hitting its goal of selling 500,000 cars by 2020. Last year, it sold 50,000.

Man criticises Elon Musk – gets Tesla order cancelled

Man criticises Elon Musk – Tesla cancels his order

Man criticises Elon Musk – gets Tesla order cancelled

A man who wrote a blog post criticising Tesla boss Elon Musk and complaining about an event in which ‘no food was provided’ has had his order for a Model X cancelled by the firm.

Venture capitalist Stewart Alsop was one of the first to leave a deposit for the upcoming Model X electric SUV, and had been invited to a special launch event hosted by Musk himself.

In the original blog post, Alsop said: “Starting a 7:00pm event at 8:50pm is simply unacceptable, particularly when the invited guests are actually your customers! But for you to stand up at 8:52pm and not even acknowledge that you have wasted your own customers’ time was insensitive and poor judgement.

“You should have apologised right then, but you didn’t. You have our email addresses, since we’re all the people who put a $5,000 deposit on your new Model X. When I was invited to the launch event, I was excited to hear that I could drive to the factory and see and touch a new Model X, even if I’ll have to wait another 3–4 months to actually get mine.

“Instead, I drove 2.5 hours round trip. I arrived on time, waited around 30 minutes outside the building, got packed inside the building with 3,000 other people for another 60 minutes, got moved from one room inside the building to another to wait another 20 minutes with the same 3,000 people. And then, drum roll please, you shuffle out on stage and start with a slide show — an amateur slide show at that — all about how safe the Model X is.”

He went on to complain that he left feeling angry and hungry, as no food had been provided.

In a follow-up blog post, Alsop explains that he received a phone call saying that Musk didn’t ‘feel comfortable’ with him owning a Tesla, so was cancelling his order.

He added: “The end result is that you have decided that I can’t own one of your cars, and I am terribly disappointed. I had outlined in the original post how excited I was at the prospect of owning a Tesla, especially the Model X and especially the configuration I ultimately ordered — the P90D in red with black leather seats and the Ludicrous Speed option.”

The Tesla boss has since tweeted, describing Alsop as a ‘rude customer’.

Spotify logo

Tesla adds free Spotify Premium to ALL cars in Britain

Spotify logoTesla has given UK Model S owners an early Christmas gift – by adding Spotify Premium to every car in Britain completely FREE of charge.

The automatic upgrade is underway now and will happen ‘over the air’ as part of Tesla’s routine software updates: owners thus won’t have to do anything to get the upgrade.


Read more:


Tesla owners won’t need to already have a Spotify account – the full library will be accessible without signing in, via Tesla’s trademark massive touchscreen.

Those who do have Spotify accounts already will be able to port across their playlists, favourites and other Spotify data into the car.

Tesla won’t even charge any data fees for streaming near-limitless music into the Model S.

Tesla’s made the move because its previous digital music streaming service, Rdio, has gone bust. Spotify is a much more well-known and popular alternative and its inclusion in all Teslas in Europe, Hong Kong and Australia is worth £9.99 a month in the UK.

Spotify is among the leading digital archive services, featuring millions of songs from thousands of artists. It claims to have more than 75 million active users, including 20 million paid users.

We ‘drive’ Tesla’s driverless car on UK roads

We ‘drive’ Tesla’s driverless car on UK roads

We ‘drive’ Tesla’s driverless car on UK roads

Like it or not, driverless cars are coming. Manufacturers are competing with various trials of autonomous vehicles around the world, with lots of debate about who will actually bring the first one to market.

But then, in one fell swoop, Tesla’s launched a software update that essentially allows the Model S to drive itself. And there are people out there, in the UK, who have downloaded the latest 7.0 software and now own a driverless car and can use it on the roads. Sort of.

  • Tesla Model S P85D review: 2015 first drive
  • Elon Musk reveals Tesla Model X SUV

You might have detected a bit of hesitation. Tesla is keen to point out that this isn’t an entirely autonomous car. Autopilot is still very much going through the Beta stage – meaning drivers are being used as guinea pigs to try out the system, and will be feeding information back to the manufacturer.

It’s not yet advanced enough to work around town. The system can’t detect oncoming cars and relies on white lines on both sides of your lane to keep you heading in the right direction.

So what can Tesla’s Autopilot do?

So what can Tesla’s Autopilot do?

For the moment, it’s best suited to motorway use. Join the motorway, set the adaptive cruise control and let the Tesla use its sensors at the front of the car to keep you moving with the flow of the traffic. It’s clever stuff but nothing groundbreaking – adaptive cruise control is getting increasingly commonplace on premium cars.

Other sensors, meanwhile, detect the white lines on the motorway and control the steering to keep you in your lane. This is more impressive – but still, not overly new. Volkswagen’s Lane Assist, for example, detects when you’re about to unintentionally leave you lane and nudges the steering.

But these kind of systems usually get pretty shirty pretty quickly if you take your hands off the steering wheel. VW’s system, for example, will alert the driver within 10 seconds if it detects you’ve taken your hands off the wheel.

The Tesla, however, is happy for you to take advantage of its Autosteer for longer periods. In fact, you can cruise for up to 10 minutes on the motorway before having to put your hands briefly on the steering wheel.

But can it change lanes?

But can it change lanes?

Things get more impressive when you want to change lanes. As it is, the Tesla will stay in the lane it’s in, speeding up and slowing down with the traffic, until you tell it to do otherwise.

You do this simply by indicating towards the lane you wish to be in. Its sensors look around and make sure it’s happy to move there – if it detects a vehicle approaching or thinks it’s dangerous to move across, it’ll stay where it is.

When it’s happy, the Model S will change lanes. But there’s an issue. Legislation in Europe means you have to have your hands on the steering wheel while it does so. You’re not actually doing anything – you can hold the wheel very lightly, but allowing it to change lanes on its own is getting a little too close to entirely-autonomous cars than lawmakers would like. In the USA, it can do it without your hands touching the wheel.

Any other clever tricks?

Also as part of the Autopilot system, the Tesla Model S can now parallel park itself. Again, this isn’t particularly new – many manufacturers offer similar systems. But most manufacturers require you to control the pedals. In the Tesla, once it detects a suitable parking space, you simply have to stop the car and press a button for it to slot itself in the gap. You don’t have to do anything.

It works pretty well, too. Systems like this are often a little ropey – abandoning the car too far from the kerb or struggling to park as well as a human could (and often that’s not particularly well at all). But, when we tried it, the Tesla slotted itself into a fairly tight space in no time at all, sticking into the road no more than the cars alongside it.

What next for the autonomous Tesla?

What next for the autonomous Tesla?

Anyone with a Model S, apart from the very earliest in the UK, has the hardware and can simply download the software update to enjoy the benefits of Autopilot. But it’s not cheap. If you’ve already got a Model S without the feature, it’ll cost £2,500 to add it. Buyers of new cars can have it straight away for £2,100.

That sounds a lot of money for a feature which is restricted by regulations and offers little more than Lane Assist. But it is currently in Beta mode, and we’re excited by what it means for the future. Unlike most cars, if you buy a Tesla, it isn’t instantly out of date as soon as a newer version is introduced.

No, you’ll be able to take advantages of updates coming in the future. And if Tesla can manage to get the car so close to being autonomous already, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what’s coming a few years down the lane. It’ll get more competent at tackling motorways. Legislators will be under pressure to be more flexible in their approach to autonomous cars. When you’ve had a passenger ride in a Tesla driving itself down the motorway, it’s easy to imagine that cars will be making their own way through city centres within a few years.

Man criticises Elon Musk – gets Tesla order cancelled

Elon Musk reveals Tesla Model X SUV

Elon Musk reveals Tesla Model X SUV

Tesla boss Elon Musk has taken the covers of the company’s new Model X SUV at an event held in California.

Like the Tesla Model S, the X is powered by two electric motors creating a combined output of 762hp – meaning it can hit 62mph in just 3.2 seconds.

That’s in ‘ludicrous’ mode – typically, the P90D model takes 3.8 seconds, while providing up to 250 miles of range from a single charge.

With the batteries located on the Model X’s floor, Tesla says it’ll handle better than other SUVs thanks to its low centre of gravity. It also boasts the lowest drag coefficient in its class of 0.24 – thanks partly to an active spoiler that adjusts depending on speed.

The Tesla Model X is practical, too, with seven seats and a towing capacity of 2,250kg. Tesla says it’s ‘designed to be the safest car on the road’ with automatic emergency braking and a side-collision avoidance system as standard.

Elon Musk reveals Tesla Model X SUV

Every model will also come with a forward-facing camera, radar and 360-degree sonar sensor that, the manufacturer claims, will ‘enable advanced autopilot features’. Although they’ll just be used for tricks such as automatic parking for now, Tesla hints that they bring ‘the Model X ever closer to autonomous operation’.

Like the concept version revealed in 2013, the Model X features ‘Falcon Wing’ doors that require just 30cm of space on either side to open. They open automatically as the driver approaches the car, meaning they never need to touch the door.

As in the Model S, the Model X will feature a large 17-inch touchscreen on the centre of the dashboard to control the car’s features, from audio to vehicle data.

Prices are yet to be confirmed for the UK, where the Model X is expected to go on sale before the end of the year. Expect them to be similar to the Model S, starting at around £55,000 and going up to £90,000.

Tesla Model S P85D 2015 review

Tesla Model S gains 'Ludicrous mode' for 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds

Tesla Model S P85D 2015 reviewTesla is to launch an upgraded version of its Model S electric car – capable of 0-60mph in just 2.8 seconds.

This will make it the fastest-accelerating car in the world, claimed the U.S. EV firm (later revised to ‘world’s fastest Model S’)… and the function that delivers this intense acceleration is, brilliantly, called ‘Ludicrous mode’.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the news in a conference call, as part of a series of updates for the Model S executive car, including a price drop for the regular Model S, plus a more powerful 90KWh battery option.

The 90KWh Model S will boast a range further extended by 5%, says Tesla.

But it’s the ludicrous acceleration of the enhanced Model S P85D that’s grabbing the headlines. And we thought the itself-recently-enhanced all-wheel-drive P85D version was already fast: that does 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds (provided you had the ‘Insane mode’ selected…).

Not fast enough for Musk, who described the acceleration of the Ludicrous mode Model S as “faster than falling”.

Generating 1.1G of acceleration force, he said “it’s like having your own private roller coaster”.

Apparently, engineering changes over the regular P85D are not huge – although Tesla has had to design a new fuse to cope with the ‘ludicrous’ rate of electricity flowing through it.

Keen to buy a Tesla Model S with Ludicrous mode? It’ll cost you $10,000 over the P85D – or, if you own one of those cars, Tesla will upgrade it for $5,000.

Sounds to us like not a lot for what now becomes, according to Tesla, even more easily the world’s fastest-accelerating EV…

MORE on MR

Tesla Model S P85D review: 2015 road test

Amsterdam and back in a Tesla Model S

Tesla launches gimmick-free finance for Model S

Tesla Model S P85D 2015 review

Tesla Model S gains ‘Ludicrous mode’ for 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds

Tesla Model S P85D 2015 reviewTesla is to launch an upgraded version of its Model S electric car – capable of 0-60mph in just 2.8 seconds.

This will make it the fastest-accelerating car in the world, claimed the U.S. EV firm (later revised to ‘world’s fastest Model S’)… and the function that delivers this intense acceleration is, brilliantly, called ‘Ludicrous mode’.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the news in a conference call, as part of a series of updates for the Model S executive car, including a price drop for the regular Model S, plus a more powerful 90KWh battery option.

The 90KWh Model S will boast a range further extended by 5%, says Tesla.

But it’s the ludicrous acceleration of the enhanced Model S P85D that’s grabbing the headlines. And we thought the itself-recently-enhanced all-wheel-drive P85D version was already fast: that does 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds (provided you had the ‘Insane mode’ selected…).

Not fast enough for Musk, who described the acceleration of the Ludicrous mode Model S as “faster than falling”.

Generating 1.1G of acceleration force, he said “it’s like having your own private roller coaster”.

Apparently, engineering changes over the regular P85D are not huge – although Tesla has had to design a new fuse to cope with the ‘ludicrous’ rate of electricity flowing through it.

Keen to buy a Tesla Model S with Ludicrous mode? It’ll cost you $10,000 over the P85D – or, if you own one of those cars, Tesla will upgrade it for $5,000.

Sounds to us like not a lot for what now becomes, according to Tesla, even more easily the world’s fastest-accelerating EV…

MORE on MR

Tesla Model S P85D review: 2015 road test

Amsterdam and back in a Tesla Model S

Tesla launches gimmick-free finance for Model S