back to article Elon Musk takes wraps off planet-saving Model 3 vapourmobile

Elon Musk has revealed the Tesla Model 3, the company's attempt at making a more affordable family hatchback. Launched before a live audience of adoring fans, Musk said he feels the time for a mainstream model is now, thanks to rising CO2 levels and growing disquiet about air quality issues caused by petrol-burning cars. Tesla …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This:

    " growing disquiet about air quality issues caused by diesel-burning cars"

    TFTFY

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: This:

      " growing disquiet about air quality issues caused by burning hydrocarbons"

      TFTFY

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This:

      " growing disquiet about air quality issues caused by burning heretics at the stake"

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: This:

      cornz1 has a point.

      If you live in a highly-polluted city, then don't blame the modern petrol/gasoline burning cars. Their exhaust can easily be cleaner than ambient. Which kinda proves they're not to blame; they're helping, leave 'em running overnight.

      Hardly anyone seems to be aware that the auto industry, with mandates from enlightened governments, has made vast progress since the 1970s. It's really unfair. The media shares the blame. Their reporters talk about 'cars' causing air pollution, and then they show a close up of a heavy diesel exhaust, probably an old DetroitDiesel 2-stroke diesel powered bus. It's very misleading, leading to demands for the wrong policies.

  2. Credas Silver badge

    Bizarre

    The amount of slack Tesla/Musk is being cut is amazing. There are other electric cars available, you know, at similar price points, with similar performance? And you can actually buy them now, without risking your cash in Kickstarter-style funding of the project. A mass-market model is the big play for Tesla; this one has to be a financial success or the company's toast. And in that context, I didn't see any mention of how deposits are protected if 2017, or 2018, comes and goes with no sign of mass-produced cars.

    1. xj650t

      Re: Bizarre

      The problem with existing all electric cars is range, most can do around 100 miles before flat. 200+ miles might be the game changing range, making longer journeys a realistic possibility.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Bizarre

        xj650t "...around 100... ...200+... ...making longer journeys a realistic possibility."

        I'm not sure I follow...

        Are you claiming that longer range equates to "the possibility" of longer journeys?

        That claim seems astounding. I never realized that 200+ was greater than 100.

        ;-)

    2. corestore

      Re: Bizarre

      Errr you do know you can get a refund of the deposit at any time for any reason?

    3. GettinSadda

      Re: Bizarre

      "There are other electric cars available, you know, at similar price points, with similar performance?"

      Really?? Care to name a couple? Or just one?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Bizarre

        It's a very impressive spec for the price. I'm seriously tempted, but I don't think the tenant-led company that owns my block of flats would go in for the associated charging point installation works and reserved parking spaces.

      2. Credas Silver badge

        Re: Bizarre

        Errr you do know you can get a refund of the deposit at any time for any reason?

        Provided the company's still solvent - which was why I was interested in how the deposit's protected.

        "There are other electric cars available, you know, at similar price points, with similar performance?"

        Really?? Care to name a couple? Or just one?

        Chevrolet Bolt? And let's bear in mind that we're talking about products that you can try & buy now, not promises of what will hopefully be available a year and half in the future.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          The Bolt is subsidised to the tune of "up to" $7500 - which could mean $0. The non-subsidised price is $37,500 - so more expensive (for now).

          Musk promises over 215 miles, the Bolt ensures 200 miles, which means Musk wins again.

          Except, of course, that Musk has nothing now and, whenever the vehicle does appear, nothing guarantees either the price or the performance.

          Working in Luxembourg, I see a few Teslas now and then. They do look good (mush better then Chevrolets), and I do feel like getting one some day. If this scheme does take off, looks as there will be more choice.

          I can't see how this is not a win for consumers - if it works.

          1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

            The Bolt subsidy, it's a tax credit really, is no different from any other electric car. It's been in place since 2010 and applies to Tesla models as well so we'd need to know if the price Musk quotes is with or without the tax credit.

            Essentially it's $7500 on full EVs with reduced amounts for some PHEVs like the Ford Fusion Energi which is only a tick over $4k while the Chevy Volt is the full $7.5k. Not sure what the formula is but I assume it's based on battery only range or worse like some convoluted politician derived formula that involves the overall batting average of the Washington Nationals.

            Of course if you're in California you can also get a "clean vehicle rebate" up to a theoretical $6.5k even though I don't see any on the list that are over $5k.

        2. WonkoTheSane
          Unhappy

          Re: Bizarre

          GM have stated they do not intend to bring the Bolt to Europe.

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

            Re: GM have stated they do not intend to bring the Bolt to Europe.

            They already sell the Opel Ampera in Europe:

            http://www.opel.de/fahrzeuge/modelle/personenwagen/ampera/index.html

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: GM have stated they do not intend to bring the Bolt to Europe.

              The Ampera is the Volt.

              The Bolt is something different.

              1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

                Re: GM have stated they do not intend to bring the Bolt to Europe.

                "The Bolt is something different."

                What ever Usain,

        3. GettinSadda

          Re: Bizarre

          >>"There are other electric cars available, you know, at similar price points, with similar performance?"

          >>

          >>Really?? Care to name a couple? Or just one?

          >

          >Chevrolet Bolt? And let's bear in mind that we're talking about products that you can try & buy

          >now, not promises of what will hopefully be available a year and half in the future.

          Only the Bolt is not available now, may never come to the UK, is more expensive, has a lower range, is much slower, is considerably smaller, charges at about a third of the speed and has nothing like the desirability factor.

    4. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: Bizarre

      Tesla's product has much going for it.

      Firstly, it's not beaten by the Electro-car Ugly Stick as so many hybrids and other fully electric cars tend to be - such as the Prius or the BMW i3. What is it with designers? They stick their brains into duurrr as soon as they find it has anything other than petrol or diesel (except Fiat - they'll do it anyway - go look at the Multipla).

      The next big one is range, as others have no doubt posted. This car, let's face it, is aimed at the Rep Machine market. Therefore, 100 mile commuter/shopping trolley range isn't going to cut it. Even 220miles is lean - particularly for a sales rep, but it's certainly in the right direction. It's this last factor that will win over the converts - if it's cheap to run, has the range and looks good, then it's onto a winner.

      Though there's still the whole charging issue too that isn't fully addressed. The availability of public charging points is improving, but is still thin on the ground and takes a long time. Home charging simply won't be possible for many (example - Terraced houses with on street parking). Now, if you could replace the battery with a nuclear reactor... :-)

  3. Timmy B Silver badge

    Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

    We knew this was on the horizon a year ago and the end of 2017 date too. We timed the three year PCP on our Leaf to coincide with it. Tesla has two issues, though: 1. Their only major pro is that they have better range that other EVs. 2. They have a pitiful servicing network. I live in the South West of England and if I were to buy one I'd have to travel to London to get it serviced!! If the next generation Leaf has a 200 mile realistic range then I can see the cheapy Tesla struggling.

    1. petur

      Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

      But it doesn't need service as much as a traditional car!

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        But it doesn't need service as much as a traditional car!

        That's actually a very interesting point - does anyone know how much service a Tesla needs?

        There's still brake fluid that needs replacing biannually, and I would imagine the moving parts will still need some lubrication but I'd be quite interested to know how much maintenance the motors and the batteries need.

        1. Geoff Campbell
          Happy

          Re: Service Intervals

          I had that discussion when I was looking at a Model S (sadly couldn't afford it, in the end).

          They recommend a service every 12,500 miles, but there's no warranty requirement, and they were quite happy with once a year even at 40,000 miles per year. I guess there's pretty much nothing to service, really.

          GJC

          1. annodomini2

            Re: Service Intervals

            @Geoff Campbell,

            "and they were quite happy with once a year even at 40,000 miles per year"

            Can you charge one from a normal socket fast enough to do 40K a year?

        2. wiggers

          Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

          There's still brake fluid that needs replacing biannually,

          I think you'll find the recommendation is biennially... 6 months is a bit too frequent!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        From the Tesla web site:

        "Tesla recommends an Annual Service Inspection every year or 12,500 miles to maintain your vehicle to top performance standards."

        My current car only needs a service every two years.

      3. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        "But it doesn't need service as much as a traditional car!"

        It does - it still has wheels and breaks, etc. Just the same as a normal car. We still service our leaf every year.

        1. Magani
          Happy

          Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

          @Timmy B

          "...it still has wheels and breaks..."

          One would hope that the breakages would be covered by warranty, though?

      4. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Servicing

        Servicing is one thing, but it's worth taking a look at the cost of accident repairs for Tesla cars, they've come out quite high in the USA, and could have an effect on insurance premiums..

    2. Blue Pumpkin

      Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

      But unlike most of the others, Teslas actually look like cars you'd want to drive and (certainly for the Model-S) have enough room to fit stuff in them - including people.

      But convincing people to pay twice as much for something that doesn't go as far and is more inconvenient to refuel when away from home is still difficult. For £30k you can get an equivalent sized vehicle and at current UK prices (high compared to other countries) still have enough to travel over 100k miles.

      Unless petrol prices rise significantly (unlikely until the oil producers have had a good go at putting shale and other competition out of business) or battery technology improves by orders of magnitude, electric vehicles will unfortunately remain toys for the rich.

      Doesn't mean to say I don't want one :-)

    3. DaLo

      Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

      " I live in the South West of England and if I were to buy one I'd have to travel to London to get it serviced!!"

      Or Bristol, bit closer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        I'm in the South West too and as there's only on-street parking where I live, I'd probably have to drive to Bristol just to get it charged!

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

          "there's only on-street parking where I live"

          One of the selling points with electric cars is that you can get a street charger installed for "only" £1200 (and a higher per kWh rate than a home charger)

          This (and the fact that observastion shows noone will respect the "electric car" reserved spot) was what put me off getting a Leaf a couple of years ago.

        2. Mattjimf

          Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

          You can use standard on street charging as well as the superchargers, just takes a little bit longer.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        Bristol sell but don't service - That's according to the bloke in Cribbs anyway.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

          Just look on the Tesla page, they are setting up service facilities which will be there well before your 2017 deadline.

          Also you don't need a specialist dealer to service brakes and tyres. The same as you don't need a main dealer to service your normal vehicle.

          1. Andus McCoatover
            Windows

            Also you don't need a specialist dealer to service brakes and tyres.

            Except, after the service and a software update in the future, you go to use it, and...

            ERROR 53.

    4. Dan Wilkie

      Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

      Well performance is better too - I've only driven the leaf and the Ampera. The Ampera was OK, the leaf was just slow. I didn't like it :( I'm sorry, I know how much it irks me when people start wailing on Alfa's as that was what I chose.

      Plus I think this is bigger, more Focus sized?

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Re: Size

        Closer to Mondeo sized, I think. The Model S is *huge* by UK standards, and the Model 3 is not that much smaller, as far as I can see. Also, five full-size adults must surely mean Mondeo-scale?

        GJC

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Size

          Closer to Mondeo sized, I think. The Model S is *huge* by UK standards, and the Model 3 is not that much smaller, as far as I can see. Also, five full-size adults must surely mean Mondeo-scale?

          A model S isn't that big. It's narrower than a Mondeo width-wise including mirrors, and only about 10cm longer. Five full size adults go into a Focus or Astra.

          1. Thesheep

            Re: Size

            Actually the S is large. Went in one (a taxi) in Amsterdam. It's a five seater, but with an additional two child seats in the boot. It has a second boot in the front too. As for space in the back, I thought it was very, very comfortable, and I'm 1.92m tall...

      2. Shane Sturrock

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        The LEAF is not slow by any stretch (take it from an ex-Alfa driver) but if you have the car in Eco mode (or potato mode as we call it because it feels like there's a potato under the throttle pedal stopping you from getting the full power of the car) then it will be sluggish. This mode is intended for wafting around gently in traffic and saves a fair bit of power, but take it out of Eco mode and the throttle response is instant compared with any petrol car I've ever driven and while 0-60 in 9ish seconds doesn't sound that quick, it is the fact that it does it without any gear changes that make the thing feel swift and it can easily surprise the usual go boys away from the lights. Not the fastest EV on the block but certainly not slow. Range is an issue for some but for us it is plenty for our use as we don't do cross country drives very often and the charging network is getting better all the time. I like to stop regularly for a top up of coffee and give the car a fast charge anyway.

        That all said, yes, I put a deposit down for a model 3. I'll probably never buy it because I doubt I'll be able to afford it but I wanted to at least have the option when they do become available.

  4. It wasnt me

    The amount of slack they are all being cut is amazing. Where does the electricity come from for these amazing super green electric vehicles? Because until the answer is definitively NOT "from burning fossil fuels" then they have no right whatsoever to be claiming green credentials. They're cheaper to run at the moment as there's no fuel duty, but if the whole world changed to electric cars tomorrow then 1>. We'd burn more oil to generate the leccy and 2>. the government would find a way of taxing it.

    I just wish someone would start being honest about electric cars.

    Caveat: My whole argument falls down if and when we make a massive planet-wide switch to nuclear power. But we won't cause its got a scary logo and you can't see its fumes. And I wont win any friends around here for suggesting that we should, will I Mr Page?

    1. smartypants

      I think it's a good thing because electric cars can in principle use renewable sources or nuclear, whereas petrol ones rely solely on burning fossil fuels. We can speculate on how long before power generation is not fossil-based (the evidence so far is that we will burn fossil fuels until we can't extract any more) but regardless of when, it's a step in the right direction.

    2. xj650t

      Yes we all agree electric vehicles aren't 100% green because we have to burn fossil fuels to make the electricity, but that same fossil fuel had to be burnt to make the electricity to make the fossil fuel that we fill our petrol tanks with, and then burn to get down the road.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        The problem still remains that the amount of energy used by cars in the UK is approximately that available in the generating and distribution system of the UK. Which doesn't leave a lot of electricity left for little things like industry, lighting, heating, and making sure we can all see the latest edition of Eastenders.

        Unless we double both the power generation and distribution systems, of course, but I can't see that happening overnight. And when the government notices that it is no longer receiving £26B a year from fuel tax, we can expect to see that appearing on the electricity bill, right sharpish.

        Don't get me wrong; I think electric cars are a great idea. I'd have one tomorrow, at the kind of price Tesla are promoting (though my commute would still require me to charge daily!). But I don't think they're a panacea for everything until the infrastructure is in place.

        1. Mike VandeVelde
          Trollface

          Here in the backwoods of Canada in my small town there are about as many charging stations as there are gas stations, and the electricity is something like 90% hydro. Plus a few lots empty for decades that used to be gas stations while they wait for the soil to become habitable again. So, this is happening, and it's a good thing. I feel for the rest of you out there in the barren waste lands.

        2. Gordon 10 Silver badge
          Mushroom

          @Neil

          You do get that the infrastructure only has to increment as fast as electric car ownership right? Thats very manageable imo.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: @Neil

            Because until the answer is definitively NOT "from burning fossil fuels" then they have no right whatsoever to be claiming green credentials.

            Electric cars don't drive along our crowded high streets pumping toxic NOx gas and soot into the faces of children, as diesel cars do, so that for a start gives them a right of greenness over the old type engines.

            And because electricity generation is not done on wheels, it can use equipment to clean emissions that would be too heavy or dangerous to mount on a car for fossil fuel generation.

            How much electricity gets used in the refinement of crude oil into hydrocarbon fuel? The answer is a huge amount, so why not just put that electricity straight into the vehicle, instead of using it to make petrol/diesel, cut out the noxious middle man.

            Compared to a filthy diesel, an electric car is a sparkling emerald of greenness.

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