Tesla Model 3 has no key, so don't forget your phone

Tesla Model 3 has no key, so don't forget your phone

The auto is the culmination of Musk's strategy - spelled out 11 years ago in his teasingly named "Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan" - to use the proceeds from Tesla's first highly expensive vehicle models to fund development of a more affordable auto.

So, has all the hype been worth it? By December, he estimated that Tesla should be producing 20,000 Model 3 cars every month.

With over 500,000 pre-orders globally, Tesla announced that pricing will kick off from $35,000 - United Kingdom pricing is expected to follow shortly. "We're going to go through at least six months of manufacturing hell", Musk told journalists.

The more affordable Model 3 is a significant step for the firm, whose market value hit $49bn in April. It has a 220-mile range, goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds and can go as fast as 130 miles per hour, Musk told the crowd.

Musk ended the event by thanking Model S and X owners, whom he said made the Model 3, the third part of his original Master Plan to save the environment, a reality.

Created to be smaller, simpler and easier to assemble than its bigger sibling, the Model 3 is also priced to compete in the heart of the auto market.

Lost your keys? Nothing to worry about.

The minimalism described by The Verge refers primarily to the interior design.

We opened the doors via flush mechanical handles and settled into nicely shaped leather seats.

Success with the Model 3 could ease concerns about the ability of Tesla to grow significantly.

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Total cargo volume is 423 litres, with a large hold available beneath the boot floor, plus a reasonable sized front boot that Tesla aficionados love referring to as a "frunk".

That could be a stretch for some buyers, especially since there are limits on the $7,500 USA tax credit for electric cars. It's hard to predict which step this will be until we get further into the production ramp. Early cars will be rear-wheel drive to simplify production, with four-wheel drive coming as an option later.

Steering feel is great and can be adjusted through three levels - comfort, standard and sport. "I'm confident it'll be the best vehicle in its class, gasoline or not, hands down", Musk said.

The Model 3's speed and gear selection will be shown in the top portion of this screen, with mapping and audio information in the middle, and climate control settings sitting at the bottom.

This might take a little getting used to.

"No doubt the premium carmakers need to play a better PR game vs. Tesla", Johnson wrote in a note to clients.

That affordability and Tesla's growing popularity help explain why the automaker now has over a half million reservations for its newest vehicle.

The standard Model 3 has a battery range of 220 miles and gets from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds.

That's the electric range of a $44,000 version of Tesla's Model 3, unveiled in its final form Friday night.

Some of the executives responsible for the Model 3 have been there from the beginning, leading Tesla from a tiny upstart to an icon of automotive desire. Yet one can not simply ignore the care which goes into the car's overall presentation - consisting of user experience, the interface, interiors, and the overall design.