LOS ANGELES — Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk unveiled the long-awaited Model 3 last night at a special event in Hawthorne, just a few minutes outside of Los Angeles. The California-based automaker will begin shipping their $35,000 pure electric cars to customers at the end of 2017. Meanwhile, General Motors is fighting back with its $35,000 Chevrolet Bolt EV. The Detroit-based automaker will begin production of the Bolt this summer with the first models arriving in dealerships by the fall. The end goal is to make electric cars affordable to the masses.
Here’s what we know so far:
Tesla Model 3
Tesla Motors is a luxury carmaker known for its $70,000 Model S. Think Apple. The Model 3 project was announced several years ago and kept getting delayed for some unknown reason. CEO Elon Musk finally took the wraps off the Model 3 (with three horizontal lines in its badge) on Thursday night at it’s Hawthorne Design Studio.
The Model 3 will be a premium sedan with a total electric range of 215 miles per charge. There will be no compromise in speed. It is expected to go from 0 to 60 mph in under six seconds. The Model 3 will feature seating for five adults, come equipped with autopilot safety features and is expected to come with a 5-star safety rating.
This will be Tesla’s most affordable electric car starting at $35,000 before incentives. Consumers can take advantage of a $7,500 federal tax credit, but they must pay the full price upon delivery. California offers an additional tax rebate of $2,500 for battery electric vehicles like the Model 3.
“You will not be able to buy a better car, any better car, for less than that,” said CEO Elon Musk at the special unveiling. “The Model S and X made the Model 3 possible. So to all of you who bought an S or an X, thanks for paying for this.”
Analysts are calling it the most important car the company will ever build. “The Model 3’s power obviously comes from its brand,” said Akshay Anand, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “At this point, Tesla is like an Apple in that it’s a lifestyle, not just another car company or product. Approaching 200,000 reservations in a 24-hour period is a huge accomplishment, and reception about styling seems to be positive initially.”
Where is it being built? The Model 3 will be manufactured at the automaker’s Fremont plant in the Bay Area.
How many are being produced? Tesla has a unique business plan in that they build cars after they are ordered. So far, we know that more than 150,000 consumers have made $1,000 deposits on the Model 3. The first deliveries will begin in late 2017.
Click here for more information about the Tesla Model 3.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
General Motors is a Detroit-based automaker founded in 1908. The Bolt EV made its first appearance at the 2016 CES in Las Vegas. CEO Mary Barra unveiled the Bolt EV to the worldwide media back in January.
The Bolt EV will be a crossover vehicle with an electric range of more than 200 miles. It is not known if it will meet or beat the Model 3’s 215-mile range. The Bolt will feature a 10.2-inch MyLink color touch-screen display, a rear camera mirror, surround vision, EV navigation mapping and the all-new MyChevrolet mobile app.
“It was less than a year ago that we revealed the Bolt EV concept and promised to deliver a long-range electric vehicle attainable by the masses,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “The Bolt EV is capable of using the latest mobile app technology to enable car sharing, advanced GPS routing and gamification, all designed to enhance the ownership experience now and into the future.”
This is GM’s second attempt at a pure electric vehicle following the Chevrolet Spark EV. The Spark is a subcompact car designed for urban areas like New York City. It features an 82-mile range on battery power alone with a sticker price of $25,995.
The Bolt EV is expected to be priced at or near $35,000 before incentives. Consumers can take advantage of a $7,500 federal tax credit, but they must pay the full price upon delivery. California offers an additional tax rebate of $2,500 for battery electric vehicles like the Bolt EV.
Analysts called the Bolt EV the most important vehicle at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. “The Bolt has its advantages though: there shouldn’t be production and trim rollouts and nuances, Chevrolet has a dealer and service backbone and perhaps most importantly, the Bolt comes out before the Model 3,” Anand explained. “These two will be in tight competition when the Model 3 comes out, but the reality is we’re seeing the first frontier of EVs that consumers are willing to purchase as true primary vehicles with substantial range at a price point that suits the masses.”
Where is it being built? The Bolt EV will be manufactured at GM’s Orion Township plant near Detroit.
How many are being produced? That information is not yet known. However, it is likely that GM will begin with a small order of Bolts, see how they are selling and then possibly increase production.
Click here for more information about the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.
The bottom line is…The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV will arrive at dealerships this fall while Tesla fans will have to wait until the end of 2017 to get hands on a Model 3. It will be interesting to see how many Bolts GM can sell in that one year period. The war is on!