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Tesla, Inc.'s Model 3: What We Know So Far

By Daniel Sparks – Updated Jul 29, 2017 at 1:03PM

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The automaker has already said quite a bit about the Model 3. Here's a sneak peek of what we already know before the vehicle's final unveiling tonight.

Ahead of Tesla's (TSLA 0.72%) Model 3 launch tonight, fans, investors, and auto analysts will be watching closely. The vehicle marks an important milestone for both for the electric-vehicle market and for Tesla's business.

While much of the focus ahead of the vehicle's final unveiling has been centered on what investors and fans don't know yet about the Model 3, it's worth reviewing what we do know about it. As it turns out, Tesla has already shared a lot of information about the important vehicle, including a preview of the vehicle's range, acceleration, size, cargo capacity, Supercharger and Autopilot capability, and its touchscreen display. Before the Model 3's final unveiling and first deliveries tonight, here's a close look at what we know so far.

 Black Model 3 teased in Tesla's event invitation art

Model 3. Tesla will unveil it on Friday, July 28, at 8:45 p.m. PT. At the event, Tesla also plans to deliver the first units to customers. Image source: Tesla.

It will have a starting price of $35,000

Tesla has already shared arguably the most important tidbit about the vehicle: its price. With a starting price of $35,000, Model 3 will be the most affordable fully electric vehicle with over 200 miles of range to come to market yet. Of course, General Motors' all-electric Chevrolet Bolt comes close: It has a starting price of $37,500.

It will have at least 215 miles of range

The Model 3 will boast a driving range on a single charge of at least 215 miles, Tesla said when it teased Model 3 for the first time in March 2016. Sure, investors won't know the official driving range until tonight, but it's good to know the minimum.

For context, General Motors' Bolt has an EPA-rated range of 238 miles. And Tesla's cheapest Model S, which has a starting price of $69,500, has an EPA-rated range of 259 miles on its base battery offering. The Model S' largest battery offers an EPA-rated range of 335 miles. 

It will be quick

"At Tesla, we don't make slow cars," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at Model 3's first unveiling last year.

Tesla promised a zero-to-60 time for the base version of under six seconds. In addition, Musk later said on Twitter that the all-wheel-drive Model 3s will be even quicker. 

The first production version of Model 3 outside of Tesla's factory.

The first production version of Model 3. Image source: Tesla.

In a more recent update on the Model 3's acceleration time, Tesla said it will be able to achieve a zero-to-60 time of 5.6 seconds.

It will be smaller than the Model S

One area where Tesla has already provided quite a bit of information about the Model 3 is its size.

The vehicle will be about 20% smaller than the Model S, making it a midsize sedan. In addition, Tesla asserts that the vehicle will fit five adults comfortably -- something I can attest to from my test drive of Tesla's Model 3 prototype last year. For comparison, the Model S offers five-plus-two seating, or seating for five adults with an extra two rear-facing seats for children.

Furthermore, Tesla has also already revealed the vehicle's cargo space. Model 3 will include 14 cubic feet of front and rear trunk cargo volume, less than half of the 30 cubic feet of front and rear cargo trunk cargo volume in Tesla's Model S.

It will sport a 15-inch display

One of the features that will make the Model 3 unique is that it will not include a dash. In addition, Tesla has also said its center digital display will measure 15 inches diagonally and be oriented horizontally. The Model S includes two digital displays: the driver's dash display and a vertically oriented 17-inch center touchscreen. 

Supercharging won't be free

Tesla currently offers free Supercharging for life for Model S and Model X owners, as long as they purchase the vehicle with a current customer's referral code. The Model 3, on the other hand, will adopt a pay-per-user model, Tesla says. 

Red Tesla Model S charging at a Tesla Supercharger location

Image source: Author.

It will have Autopilot sensors

One of the best selling points for Tesla's Model 3 is that it will include Tesla's second-generation Autopilot sensors. The sensors currently enable Tesla's driver-assist Enhanced Autopilot system, which features automatic lane-changing, automatic steering, summoning, and more. But Tesla says that the sensors will eventually enable fully autonomous driving -- even without a driver in the vehicle.

Of course, Tesla Model 3 customers will have to pay to enable Enhanced Autopilot, just as Model S and Model X customers must.

Investors can tune into Tesla's live stream of the event tonight at 8:45 p.m. PT on Tesla's website. Stay tuned at The Motley Fool for some Foolish analysis on whatever new information Tesla shares tonight.

Daniel Sparks owns shares of Tesla. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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