The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years
Tesla’s big party for the Model 3 kicks off on Friday.
The electric automaker will reveal the production version of its long-awaited sedan to the first 30 customers who ordered one at a handover party. Tesla will then kick Model 3 production into high gear with the goal of producing 1,500 sedans in September and 20,000 cars in December.
We decided to take a look back at just how far Tesla cars have progressed, and within just the last year there’s been a lot of change. Scroll down for a closer look.
In 2012, Tesla released its Model S — the first luxury electric sedan on the market.
The car could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds and had a range of 265 miles per charge. It was named Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year.
But the car was pricey at $106,900 before federal tax exemptions.
In late 2014, Tesla released two dual motor all-wheel drive configurations for the Model S, the world’s first dual electric motor car.
It was also the first time Tesla made Autopilot, its semi-autonomous package, standard on every car. The car came in three versions — the 60D, 85D and the top-of-the-line P85D. Above you see the P85D.
The P85D could reach a top speed of 155 mph and could accelerate to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, outperforming the McLaren F1 supercar, Tesla wrote on its blog at the time.
Tesla offered three new versions of the Model S in early 2015, the 70D, 90D, and P90D. At the time, the P90D was coveted for its Ludicrous mode.
The P90D could go from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds while driving in Ludicrous mode. When it first came out, people went bananas for the new feature. It also had a range of 253 miles and could reach a top speed of 155 mph.
At the time, the Model S started at around $68,000.
Tesla introduced its Model X with its stylish falcon wings to the world in September 2015.
Like the Model S, the Model X comes in three different versions. At the time, the vehicle started at $74,000 before tax incentives.
The highest performance version at the time of its release was the P90D. It came with a range of 250 miles and could reach 60 mph in 3.2 seconds in ludicrous mode and had a top speed of 155 mph.
The car had some production issues and deliveries were pushed back from early 2016 to the second half of 2016.
Tesla rolled out its 7.1 software update at the beginning of 2016 — giving the Model S and Model X several cool new semi-autonomous features.
The software update offers safety features like automatic braking, lane switching, and blind-spot warnings. The cars also gained the ability to autosteer without a center divider, self-parallel park, and manage speed using traffic-aware cruise control.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the new update was giving drivers the power to summon their cars at the click of a button — it’s like a personal, robotic valet. At the time of its release, the Autopilot package cost an extra $2,500.
Since the 7.1 software release, Autopilot has gotten another massive upgrade. Cars built after October 2016 are equipped with a suite of new hardware that advances Autopilot’s capabilities.
Like new Model S and Model X cars, the upcoming Model 3 can support Tesla’s second-generation Autopilot system.
The software hasn’t been fully released yet, but it will eventually allow cars to match their speed to traffic conditions, automatically change lanes without driver input, merge on and off highways, and park itself. It will also be able to maneuver around objects in a more complex environment than it could before when you summon it.
The software costs $5,000 at the time of purchase. Tesla says the hardware will also support full, self-driving capabilities, which will cost an additional $8,000 at the time of purchase.
The Model S and Model X got a major battery upgrade to extend their ranges.
In August 2016, Musk announced the new 100-kilowatt-hour battery upgrade for the Model S and Model X cars that have Ludicrous modes last August.
The new battery option extends the range of the Model S to 315 miles per charge, making it the first electric car on the market to exceed 300 miles of range. The new battery option also extends the range of the Model X with Ludicrous mode to 289 miles.
The upgrade also enables the Model S P100D Ludicrous to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds, making it the world’s third-fastest production car. The larger battery pack also makes the Model X the world’s quickest SUV with the ability to accelerate to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.
But the upgrade isn’t cheap — those who already own the car can upgrade for $20,000. If you don’t own it yet, it will tack an extra $10,000 on the price.
All of these releases have led up to Tesla’s biggest car launch yet: The Model 3. the sedan was first unveiled in March 2016 and it got almost 325,000 pre-orders.
The Model 3 will start at $35,000 without federal tax exemptions, making it a huge competitor in the EV market. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds and will boast a range of at least 215 miles.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that these are baseline specs Tesla hopes to exceed.
We got a glimpse of a pre-production version of Tesla’s Model 3 on Interstate 680 in the San Francisco Bay Area last week.
The Model 3 has a very smooth and restrained design, which is the handiwork of Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen. The sedan has a more subtle rear haunch than the Model S and a continuous glass roof that starts at the windshield and run through the rear spoiler.
We’ll get to see more soon!