The roll-out of the Tesla Model 3 has been one of the most successful and popular in history. Since Tesla Motors first handed over a few cars at the end of July, over 450,000 buyers have reserved one for delivery in 2018.
So what gives this electric vehicle mass appeal? With prices starting at US$35,000, it is the first fully electric car designed for affordability that also offers a premium reputation for design and safety. Its Panasonic battery allows it to travel up to 310 miles and reach a top speed of 140 mph, so it comfortably meets the needs of most drivers.
Potential buyers have faith not just in the vehicle itself, but that Tesla Motors and its charismatic CEO, Elon Musk, will ensure that the infrastructure is there to support their use. Tesla has addressed the primary concern of most first-time EV buyers: getting stuck with a dead battery and no charging station. The company is developing a network of Superchargers beyond the home, including its Destination Charging push to install chargers at commercial properties.
The Model 3 shows how success in a new, sustainable market depends on systemic thinking – providing the supporting infrastructure for the EV, and creating a mobility service, rather than just selling a car. Hopefully other businesses, seeking to transform their own markets, will understand and take on the challenge of thinking beyond their industry and form pre-competitive partnerships.
The Model 3’s popularity has accelerated our transition to a clean energy future by pulling the market with a bold and unprecedented move. Others in the automotive industry are hustling to develop and release their own 'everyman’s EV', and create a competing network of charging stations - or find out how to join Tesla’s.
Tesla’s mobility services are not developed and launched exclusively in the United States. The company is active throughout the Asia-Pacific region, with networks of stores, stations and chargers in China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, among others, as well as in Europe and parts of the Middle East. This means its power to accelerate the energy transition is on a global scale.