Tesla’s ‘affordable’ family car, the Model 3 has been one of the most anticipated new cars of recent years. Deposits have been rolling in since the car was first announced in April 2016. The company received over 300,000 orders within the first few weeks.

Those people who have paid their deposits are now a step closer to getting their hands on a car, as the first production Model 3s began to emerge from Tesla’s Californian factory this week. Company founder Elon Musk tweeted the first pictures of the car. The first customers will get their cars by the end of July, and Tesla hopes to be producing 20,000 a month by December.

Model 3 Features

Priced at around £27,000, the Model 3 is a much more affordable proposition than the £61,000-plus Model S. So, what will Model 3 buyers be getting for their money? The car is a five-seat family hatch. It’s fully electric of course and should offer a range of over 200 miles on a single charge. Acceleration to 60 mph is under six seconds, and the car has a five-star safety rating.

The Model 3 will have Tesla’s Autopilot feature – allowing it to steer itself on certain roads – as standard. It will also be able to use the Tesla Supercharger network, adding enough charge for 170 miles of driving in around 30 minutes. However, this will be chargeable, whereas it’s currently free for other Tesla models.

Part of the reason that Tesla has been able to keep down the cost is by simplifying the range. While the Model S executive car and Model X SUV have a wide range of options available, the only choices on the Model 3 are the paint colour and the style of wheels.

The Competition

While the Model S largely had the market to itself when it launched, because there was no direct competition, the Model 3 enters a rather more complicated and closely contested segment of the market.

The Model 3’s price and size puts it on a par with cars like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. It will also be up against other plug-in electric alternatives like the BMW i3, the Nissan Leaf and the VW e-Golf. Most of these currently have a shorter range, though, and lack Tesla’s Autopilot technology. They also don’t have access to the fast charging network.

With recent announcements from Volvo that it will have fully electric or hybrid propulsion in all its new vehicles in the next few years, and with France setting an ambitious target to phase our internal combustion cars by 2040, it’s clear that the motor industry is changing. Tesla has been, up to now, one of the leaders in electric propulsion, but the competition is hotting up, and it will be interesting to see what happens as the might of the motor industry’s established players and that of technology giants like Google is brought to bear.

If you want to find out more about why there’s such a buzz surrounding Tesla and its vehicles, you can opt to try the Model S for yourself. When it comes to Tesla hire London has companies offering this.