Tesla Model 3 early reviews: swoons, sticker shock

The Tesla Model 3 arrived with a whoosh on Friday night, leaving some tech and automotive writers a little breathless and blushing.

Wired gasps its “much more than an electric car.” Mashable swoons the Model 3 is “pretty damn awesome.” Business Insider has a topper, saying “the entire world will want this car.”  Others getting a few minutes behind the wheel — Tesla limited exposure — found it quite fetching.

Motor Trend reviewer Kim Reynolds spun through a Southern California roads, accompanied by a company executive. Reynolds raved about the handling, feel and the “nearly-nil body roll” on turns. The magazine got a quick look at a premium, $60,000 model, a price a great deal more than nearly-nil.

Others note the Model 3 — CEO Elon Musk’s vision for the mass market — can hardly present itself as a car for the average U.S. driver.

The bestselling sedan in the country this year is the Toyota Camry, a workhorse that starts around $23,000 and gets 33 mpg on the highway.

The first Tesla production Model 3s rolling off the Fremont factory floor carry a $49,000 sticker price and a 310-mile range.

The base model for $35,000 will not be available until at least November for early reservation holders. Additional features — like color (non-black adds $1,000), Autopilot ($5,000), full-autonomous mode ($3,000), and a larger battery pack ($9,000) — quickly inflate the price tag.

The first deliveries drew hundreds of Tesla employees around a temporary stage Friday night in back of the Fremont factory. Fueled by drinks and appetizers, with liberal doses of dance music and flashing lights, the audience swelled and aimed their phones toward the rows of charging Model 3s in their parking lot.

Tesla invited fans to produce commercials for the automaker, which boasts to spending nothing on paid advertising. The top videos were projected on the white factory walls.

Musk drove onstage in a red Model 3, drawing roars.

The tech mogul warned his troops about the stress ahead, with a half-million reservations for Model 3s to fill. “As the saying goes, if you’re going through hell,” he said, “keep going.”

Musk turned over the first 30 cars over to Tesla employees. The party rolled on.

Photo: Tesla delivered its first production-Model 3 sedans Friday night, July 28, 2017 from its Fremont factory. CEO Elon Musk turned over the lower-cost electric cars to 30 company employees at an invitation-only event. (Louis Hansen/Bay Area News Group)


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  • Tom in NY

    “The bestselling sedan in the country this year is the Toyota Camry, a workhorse that starts around $23,000 and gets 33 mpg on the highway.”

    I’d be interested in the average selling price of a Camry. I expect it is much closer to $30,000 than $23,000. And it burns $0.07 of gas per mile vs less than $0.03 of electricity per mile for the Tesla 3.

  • Stephen Pace

    The FUD is pretty high in a lot of those articles. Tesla always said the car nicely optioned would average $43k, but if you want to buy the $35k base version, there is nothing stopping you. I know 5 people in my city ordered the stripped Model S for $50k when it was available (briefly) and they loved the car. Given Tesla shipping them a software limited 60 kWh car for the price of a 40 kWh car, they got a great deal.

  • Stxle

    Nobody I talked to would like to buy a Car of the past that gonna loose value as quick as it looses OIL and GAS, if you can get a Car that is future proof for an added 10k US$. There will be software upgrades that make the car even better every year. Which CAMRY is gonna have that? It has a awesome range. This should be more compared to a BMW 3 series.

    • Jones

      Tesla’s don’t depreciate, dufus?

      • Stxle

        To put the depreciation in context, whereas a Tesla (Model S) will on average lose 28% of its value after being driven 50k miles, a Mercedes S-Class will lose 38%, a BMW 7-series will lose 40%, and an Audi A8 will lose 41%.(Stand: Sep 13, 2016) – So yes I gonna take a TESLA anytime over dirty gasoline cars.

  • mrdoubleb78

    The average new car price in the US in 2016 was just shy of 35k. You would have done yourself a favor if you spent 5 minutes googling before posting this article.

  • omegatalon

    People need to think of Tesla like Henry Ford with his Model T as this is just the beginning and the question you’ve got to ask yourself is whether you’re going to spend your money now or wait until the rest of the industry goes electric given that the continent of Europe will only allow the sale of zero emission vehicles meaning fuel cell or electric by 2040.

    Something else to think about is that Tesla sells it’s Model S at a $7-10K lost; thus, how much money is Tesla losing with the Model 3.. General Motors said it loses $7K on each Chevrolet Bolt they sell.