Tesla has been out testing the Model 3 on the road ahead of launch, and in these latest public sightings, the car looks incredible with a silver paint job. Since the upcoming entry-level vehicle entered the release candidate phase in March, numerous photos have surfaced of the car in the wild, but this is the first time a release candidate model has been spotted in silver.
The Model 3 represents an important point in Tesla’s history. At $35,000, it will be the company’s cheapest car by a wide margin, undercutting the $68,000 Model S. The company is planning for a mass expansion in manufacturing capabilities in anticipation of increased demand: where the company currently makes under 100,000 cars per year, Tesla aims to increase this to 500,000 per year by the end of 2018.
Raj Khaitan, who spotted the car around the company’s headquarters, took this photo of the car making its way around the neighbourhood:
In the photo, the company’s attention to aerodynamic design is apparent. A lip runs along the sides of the door, while the rear demonstrates the company’s aim to shape air flow around the vehicle. Tesla is aiming for a drag coefficient of 0.21, a breakthrough that would enable the car to slip through the air far easier than before.
This reduced coefficient will help the car achieve a greater range on a smaller battery. Tesla is aiming for a minimum range of 215 miles for the Model 3, but with a low target price, the company will be looking to use a smaller battery to cut costs during production.
The vehicle has now been spotted in public testing painted in five colors: red, blue, black, white and now silver. These various models have received small changes along the way: earlier versions appeared to show an extra set of sensors at the C-pillar, which led to speculation that the company was planning a more advanced semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. The removal of these sensors in future iterations suggested these sensors were simply for testing purposes and will not make the final vehicle.
July can’t come soon enough.