Potential car buyers are sending a loud and clear message to the automotive industry: they are ready for a major shakeup. Tesla Motors, an American electric vehicle company, began taking reservations last week for their Model 3. Tesla’s Model 3 is the latest vehicle in Tesla’s mission to make electric vehicles affordable and practical.
The Model 3 is expected to be available in late 2017 and its base price stands at $35,000, though chairman and CEO Elon Musk anticipates that the average selling price will be around $42,000, including options. The average mileage range for a new electric car hovers around 100 miles per charge, however, the Model 3 will more than double that range, with an expected 215 miles per charge.
Before Tesla even unveiled the Model 3 to the public, it had already received an astonishing 115,000 preorders, which consumers can make for $1000. Tesla has now taken over 276,000 reservations. To put that number into perspective, Kia Motors America sold 146,321 cars in all of 2015. However, Tesla Motors is not the only revolutionary automaker to take pre-orders from potential customers. To date, Elio Motors has received over 51,000 reservations, approximately the combined US sales of Fiat and Audi in 2015.
According to the Verge, “The Model 3 is the culmination of a decade’s worth of work.” In August of 2006, Elon Musk outlined his 3-step plan for Tesla Motor’s success. Step one involved building a sports car, the Tesla Roadster. Then, using the revenue generated by the Roadster, Tesla built the more affordable Model S. The money from the Model S would, in turn, be used to develop and build the even more affordable Model 3.
Tesla has experienced its fair share of roadblocks on its road to success. Tesla’s Model X was unveiled to the public in February of 2012 and deliveries did not begin until over three year’s later in September of 2015. In an interview with Wired in 2008, Elon Musk said “Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson.” For years, Tesla has battled with state legislatures to be able to implement a direct sales model. While the fight continues, Tesla has enjoyed successes in many states. Despite the adversity, Tesla Motors increased sales by 60% in 2015, selling more than 50,000 vehicles.
With a combined 327,000 pre-reserved vehicles between Tesla Motors and Elio Motors so far, consumers are signaling that they are ready for change in the automotive industry. They are looking to support companies that offer innovative ideas as well as disruption in technology and design, even if that requires a bit of patience on their part. With the level of interest being shown by consumers, it is time for major automakers to take notice of these American-based upstarts and follow their lead in order to continue to remain relevant in this ever-evolving industry.