The hotly-anticipated Tesla Model 3 made an appearance in prototype form last week, as investors gathered at a Gigafactory event where the company confirmed it has started mass production of battery cells. The photos confirm what everyone was hoping: despite being a budget-range car, the Model 3 is going to be stunning when it hits the roads.
The $35,000 vehicle, first unveiled in April 2016, is intended as a more affordable version of the company’s vehicles intended to bring the technology to mass market. CEO Elon Musk has stated that the company is “anti-selling” the Model 3 in a bid to push interested consumers onto the Model S or Model X.
The car is estimated on the company’s website as entering production in mid-2017, with new reservations estimated for delivery at some point after mid-2018. If you want one of these, you’re in for a long wait.
Model 3 prototypes have made a few appearances since the vehicle’s announcement, and eagle-eyed Tesla followers have spotted some interesting details that could make the production model. Here’s a snapshot from November:
The prototype’s November appearance was at a company party to celebrate successful financial results.
It’s going to be a while before the Model 3 hits the streets in final form, but by the time it does, it may have a surprising trick up its sleeve: autonomous driving. Musk is aiming for self-driving cross-country road trips by the end of 2017, so at least one benefit of the long wait ahead is that you’ll have access to the cutting-edge in autonomous technology.