Tesla's new Model 3 coming here

The Tesla Model 3 electric car is said to be able to accommodate five adults comfortably.
The Tesla Model 3 electric car is said to be able to accommodate five adults comfortably. PHOTO: REUTERS

Model 3 - Tesla's most affordable car - will have a range of about 345km and autonomous driving function

Tesla Motors boss Elon Musk has announced that the Model 3 - Tesla's most affordable car starting at US$35,000 - will be available in Singapore.

In a tweet yesterday, he said the electric car will be available in more countries than before.

The additions include India, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Ireland.

 

The tweet was followed by an unveiling of the Model 3 via live streaming yesterday.

The car appears to be a fastback sedan that is slightly smaller than the Model S.

Mr Musk says the basic variant will hit 100kmh in under 6 seconds, but there will be "versions that go much faster".

The car will have a range of about 345km "at least" on one charge and will be fitted with Tesla's "Autopilot" autonomous driving function.

Mr Musk says it will accommodate five adults "comfortably".

Based on back-of-envelope calculations, the car could cost less than $150,000 here after carbon rebate.

To loud cheers from a live audience, Mr Musk reveals that Tesla has already collected 115,000 bookings in the first 24 hours.

He adds that deliveries will begin next year.

Tesla Motors' press department was, however, not available for further comment.

The Model 3 is expected to ramp up sales for the Californian electric vehicle maker.

The company is shooting to hit 500,000 units by 2020 - 10 times its estimated sales last year.

But analysts say it is likely to reach only 250,000 as competition from rival companies increases.

Porsche, Audi and Mercedes- Benz are some of the mainstream automotive players that are rolling out all-electric models in the next three to five years.

Meanwhile in Singapore, the Land Transport Authority has no update yet on what it intends to do with a lone Tesla Model S that was registered here in early February.

The car was imported by Mr Joe Nguyen, a 44-year-old senior vice-president with an Internet research firm. Instead of an expected carbon rebate of $30,000, the car was slapped with a carbon surcharge of $15,000 - making it the first electric car to be penalised this way.

News of the unusual tax treatment reached Mr Musk, who then contacted Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The Prime Minister's Office said various agencies would look into the case. Soon after, the LTA came out to say it would review the case.

That was three weeks ago.

Mr Nguyen says he has not heard anything from the authorities.

When contacted by The Straits Times, an LTA spokesman said there has been no development since.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2016, with the headline 'Next Tesla model coming here'. Print Edition | Subscribe