Tesla is set to unveil the production Model 3 electric vehicle on March 31, according to its quarterly earnings release. The budget electric vehicle (EV) promises a price tag of $35,000 (£30,000 in the UK) and 200 miles of pure electric driving.
The price tag is before any federal or state tax incentives, which can bring the cost as low as $25,000, if you live in the right state. Tesla's aggressive pricing puts the Model 3 slightly lower than the upcoming Bolt, which Chevy prices at $37,500 MSRP.
But, you'll have to wait a while to purchase a Model 3. Production and delivery of the budget EV doesn't start until late 2017. Chevy plans to roll out the 200-mile range Chevy Bolt later this year as a 2017 model year car, getting a one-year head start on Tesla.
Tesla's timeline for the Model 3 puts it as a 2018 model year vehicle, and it will face fierce competition. Nissan recently updated the Nissan Leaf EV for 2016, but a completely new model is right around the corner that promises even more range. Meanwhile, Ford is planning an all-new Focus for 2018, with an accompanying electric model to follow.
As an owner of a 2015 Nissan Leaf SL, longer range EVs are appealing to me. However, gas prices keep going down in the US, which makes a harder case for switching over to EVs.
I managed to fill the gas tank of a Ford Mustang GT review car for $25 (about £17, AU$35), which makes me less likely to take the Leaf, just so I don't have to deal with public charging. That's going to make for an interesting challenge for not only Tesla, but all EV makers.