This should be quite the party!

The Tesla Model 3 is hands-down the most anticipated model of the year, promising to bring an affordable EV to the masses. It’s been a long time coming, but today is the day that the handover party kicks off and Tesla will hand over the keys to the first 30 models to roll off of the line. It’s obviously a very small first step, considering the hundreds of thousands of reservations, but it’s only a matter of time before Tesla really ramps up production. The party kicks off at 8:45 PM PST tonight and will be live streamed right on Tesla’s homepage.

The Model 3, which will finally be completely revealed later tonight, is basically a smaller, more basic version of the Model S, and has a set starting price of $35,000. As far as the exterior goes, it’s rather bland, just like the interior which is about as spartan as they come. It will be void of an instrument cluster, speedometer, or a conventional dashboard. Initial customers of the new baby EV will also be limited as far as options go, with the only choices to make being exterior color and wheel choice. As far as tonight’s event goes, there’s no word as to who the first 30 customers are, but we know the first model is going Elon Musk himself, as Tesla board member Ira Ehrenpreis gifted his place in the queue to the big guy. As far as the other 29 models, they will go to Tesla employees or current owners of other Tesla EVs. We’ll be sure to embed the live steam to this video as soon as we have it, but until then, keep reading to learn a little more about the Model 3.

There’s a Huge Waiting List, But Musk Promises Huge Production Numbers

2018 Tesla Model 3 High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Tesla Model 3 High Resolution Exterior
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It’s taken a long time to get these first 30 examples off the line, and naturally, Tesla employees and previous customers are getting first dibs. And, with at least 375,000 confirmed reservations, some folks will be waiting quite a while to get their new all-electric whip. But, it’s not going to be as slow going as it has been thus far. Next month, production will more than triple with at least 100 examples expected to roll off the line. Starting in September, Musk claims that the brand will be able to shell out a total of 1,500 examples. Eventually, that figure will climb to 20,000 examples per month by the end of the year, and eventually 10,000 examples per week. Most customers don’t even know their place in the queue, so some of those who have reserved a model could still have to wait as long as mid-2019 to get their new car, and any new reservations could take even longer.

2018 Tesla Model 3 High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Tesla Model 3 High Resolution Exterior
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Waiting forever isn’t the only bad news that some Model 3 customers have to face, either. See, the Model 3 is also eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit – a rather nice incentive to move into the EV segment, right? Well, those at the bottom of the list won’t see that tax credit, as after Tesla sells a total of 200,000 EVs, the U.S. Government begins to drop that tax credit slowly but surely. And it could come sooner than you think. So far, Tesla had sold an estimated 112,000 vehicles at the end of 2016 and somewhere around 47,000 in the first half of this year, that means that after the first 30,000 Model 3s are delivered, that tax credit will drop to just $3,850 for the next six months. After that six-month period, the credit drops to just $1,875 for another six months. From that time on, the federal tax credit is no longer applicable, and customers are out of luck. You’ll still be able to get your state tax credits, but you’ll undoubtedly pay $7,500 more than the first run of customers. All told, the Federal tax credit will likely be obsolete by early 2019, so if you haven’t gotten your new EV by then, you’ll have to pony up more dough.

Will The Model 3 Be Worth It?

2018 Tesla Model 3 High Resolution Interior
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Whether or not the Model 3 will be worth it is a tough question to answer. For starters, it becomes significantly more expensive once that federal tax credit is gone. On top of that, there’s no telling what the final price will be, as an official list of options has yet to be released. Initial customers get to choose between exterior colors and wheels, but that is it. Future customers will likely have more options, but that also means there’s no way to accurately predict a maximum price point for the Model 3. At some point, its spartan nature – with a rather bland interior at that – one will have to question whether or not the car will actually be worth it. If prices start to approached the $50,000 mark after the tax credit is gone and options are available you could get yourself a well-equipped hybrid or non-ev for the same price that is much nicer and more luxurious

What to Expect

Tesla Model 3 Handover Party Kicks Off at 8:45 PM PST Tonight! High Resolution Exterior
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At this point, official specs are still held deep within Tesla’s bowels and the mind of Elon Musk, but we do know a few things. First off, the interior will be void of most features that we’re all familiar with. Things like the instrument cluster, HUD, and even a speedometer have all been integrated into the tablet like display that floats in front of the most uneventful dash in recent history, meaning there should be almost no physical buttons inside the cabin. Furthermore, from the interior shots we’ve seen, it looks as if the seats will be rather bland as well, and one really has to question how comfortable they will really be. As far as motivation goes, the entry-level model will be rear-wheel drive and should come with a range of around 215 miles – enough for it to compete with the next-gen Nissan Leaf and the new Chevy Bolt EV. Should Tesla go with a 60 kWh for the Model 3, that range is pretty much guaranteed with the potential to even be a bit higher. Horsepower should be around 335 ponies, while the 60-mph sprint will take somewhere around five seconds. That’s not bad, and with a top speed of around 130 mph, it will be plenty fast too. We expect higher trim levels to come with a larger battery pack and AWD, which would also increase range, power output, and performance, but we’ll just have to wait and see what Tesla decides to do as the Model 3 settles into the lineup.

Initial Reveal 3/31/2016

References

2018 Tesla Model 3 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our speculative review on the 2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3 High Resolution Exterior
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Read all the latest Tesla news

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