Tesla Brings Serious A-Game With Gorgeous $35,000, 215+ Mile Range Model 3 EV

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Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has been hyping up what will likely be the most important model ever for his decade-old electric car company for over a year now. Today, after much anticipation, we get our first look at the Model 3 in the flesh, and oh boy is it a beauty. If you were already enamored with the looks of the handsome Model S, the Model 3 caries on the same design theme in a slightly shrunken package.

Perhaps the biggest difference in styling is up front — while the Model S has a faux grille to create the illusion of a more conventional internal combustion-engine vehicle, the Model 3 avoids the false pretenses by ditching the accessory. It may look a little odd at first, but we have the feeling that many will get used to it once these vehicles start hitting the road next year.
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On the inside, you’ll see an extremely minimalist interior where secondary controls have for the most part been completely wiped off the dashboard and center console (which in turn saves money and reduces complexity). In their place is a 15-inch, centrally-mounted touch screen display that is ever so slightly smaller than the one you’ll find in the larger Model S. There’s room for five inside the vehicle, and like the Model S, there are two cargo compartments: a traditional trunk in the rear and a front-mounted “frunk.”

As for performance, Musk says that even the base model will dash to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds and the total driving range will be at least 215 miles for the base vehicle. There will of course be faster, performance models and larger capacity batteries that will extend driving range further. All Model 3 EVs will come standard with Tesla Autopilot, and all will have free access to Tesla’s nationwide Supercharger network.

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The Model 3 starts at $35,000 before tax incentives and preorders are now open. In fact, preorder madness struck early as people have been lining up at Tesla stores around the globe for days hoping to be one of the first to get their hands on the vehicle once production gears up by the end of 2017. So far, over 133,000 preorders have been tallied (and counting) with each potential customer forking over a $1,000 down payment.

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Even its base form, the Model 3 looks like it will be a killer bargain in the EV space and could revolutionize the auto industry altogether. Throw in the federal and tax incentives that could bring the price of the vehicle down to as little as $21,500 for the base model — depending on what state you live in — and this could be quite a hot ticket for those wanting to go green in style without breaking your bank account.

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With that said, after seeing tonight’s unveil, we can’t help but wonder what the folks over at General Motors must be thinking now that their rather frumpy looking and comparably-priced Chevrolet Bolt EV will be going toe-to-toe with this looker from Tesla Motors.

Be sure to catch the unveil video coverage from the event, right here...