Monday, 30 october 2017 | Redacción CEU
Tens of thousands of people have decided to cancel the booking of the most awaited car in the world. It does not seem to worry Tesla since it registers an average of 1,800 reservations per day of its Model 3. Neither celebrities, nor relatives, nor special offers; all the people who wish to acquire the vehicle have to endure a long queue and respect the strict order of registration. This lateness begins to despair some, especially when they read headlines in the press about unexpected delays or production problems. Is it worth signing up for the long waiting list? Will the new vehicle meet the expectations provoked among its fans? Will the star car of the electric revolution be as good as they think?
A few weeks ago, the media talked about a surprising event, the cost of the resale of the first Model 3 reached four times its initial sale price. A Californian employee posted an advertisement on the Craiglist webpage to sell his vehicle for 150,000 dollars. It should be noted that Tesla has only prioritized the delivery of vehicles to its employees upon the masses. It is most likely that the worker considered this preference as an unique opportunity to do business. However, this selling attempt remained only as an anecdote. The ad was deleted. The brand had previously made clear that the privilege did not contemplate the possibility to resale –all employees accepted this in the booking terms of their coveted sedan–. Otherwise, would anyone be willing to pay the prohibitive figure in order to jump the queue? Probably, yes, someone would be.
What is so special about Tesla Model 3 so the waiting list is that long and does not stop growing? Their bodies are made of aluminum and steel. Their interiors are simple. Behind the steering wheels, they have no frontal. It is replaced by screens of fifteen inches that are located between the pilot and copilot. These monitors allow to control other vehicle services like speed, navigation or air conditioning. By simply getting into the vehicles, drivers unlock the cars through the Bluetooth that connects with their mobile phone. They can also start them with a card, the conventional keys are in the past. The autonomy model of the car is defined in two concepts: "Standard" and "Long Range". Their output color is black, but it can be changed by paying an extra. They can also be converted into full autonomous driving cars for 8,000 euros.
What makes these electric sedans unique, is that they set the possible start of a revolution. These vehicles are the promise of the standardization of electric cars with "affordable" prices for the masses. Tesla Motors General Manager, Elon Musk, unveiled his master plan eleven years ago: 1- Build sports car. 2- Use that money to build an affordable car. 3- Use that money to build an even more affordable car. 4- While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options.
At present, Musk's approach seems to be still on. The minimum price of its Model 3 is between 35,000 euros –autonomy version standard– and 44,000 euros –Long Range–. The costs, although still far from the popular average, are the cheapest of the brand. The firm looks up, thinks about the future launch of cheaper models than this one. It is the intermediate step toward the normalization of the electric mobility. These electrics cars might not become the most successful or extended in the world –although their commercialization figures are high until now–, but they will certainly be the cars that lead the way, the great bearers of the electric revolution.
If something can back out potential buyers of electric vehicles is the recharging system. One of the great challenges of Tesla with this model is the lack of infrastructure to recharge, as for many brands that bet on electrical cars. Although northern and central Europe are better prepared than other places for the integration of these types of cars on the road, much work needs to be done. In Spain, the scenario fills with less encouragement, the recharge network is still very poor. This situation greatly contributes to the potential population who can enjoy these cars being reduced to those who live mainly in urban environments. The Model 3 can only be commercialized to circulate in large cities or to make short routes. The recharge network must be expanded a lot so this system can succeed.
Minimalism is another point that generates debate among the motor enthusiasts. This design is a very risky move, it completely changes the appearance of the vehicle. Some people consider that the simplicity in the interior is excessive for a car with a category like this one. On the other hand, the navigation panel requires to take the eyes away from the road for its use and some are not very confident about the efficiency of management through voice commands.
But if there is anything that worries potential consumers about the Model 3 commercialization is the ability to produce and deliver the vehicles within the timeframe that Tesla has estimated. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the firm to fulfill the demand. The company has already admitted publicly that the process is a bit slower than the one announced and Elon Musk plays down the importance of it. From outside, the criticisms about these delays are tougher. In a recent article published by Bloomberg, it was estimated that the company would have to transform one of the smallest volume automobile factories in North America into the second highest production plant of the region in order to meet the goal set for 2018 –half a million cars–. The challenge that Tesla faces is really ambitious.
While the brand works in the production process acceleration and tries to keep calming down its investors and customers in the waiting list, the rest of the companies are also working on designing new sustainable models. The Model 3 is the intermediate step for the standardization of the affordable and electric vehicles for the masses. On the way towards the electrical revolution, Tesla is not alone. The rest of firms could surpass it. The waiting list has already reached to two years of length, will the rivals offer an alternative before then? Will the Model 3 be the most attractive option when it gets to the roads? Will Tesla lead the future market of electric cars?