Elon Musk has announced two new versions of the Model 3, including a high-performance model capable of hitting 60mph in 3.5 seconds, following months of production woes.
The new versions follow a similar development plan to that used by Tesla for the Model S. The first is an all-wheel drive version of the Model 3, adding a second motor to drive the rear wheels.
Announcing the additions to the lineup, Musk said that for the AWD version of the Model 3 one motor was optimised for range and the other for power, allowing it to maintain its 310-mile quoted range.
The dual-motor option will cost an additional $5,000, and will increase the car’s power, knocking 0.6 seconds off the time to accelerate to 60mph – now just 4.5 seconds – and reaching a top speed of 140mph.
The performance version of the Model 3 is aimed at rivalling German performance saloon cars, such as the BMW M3. Musk boasted the $78,000 car will “beat anything in its class on the track”, reaching 60mph in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 155mph.
The performance Model 3 won’t be the quickest car Tesla sells at the moment, as the Model S P100D accelerates to 60mph in 2.5 seconds, but it will cost about $57,000 less. Tesla’s $200,000 Roadster sports car is expected to be able to accelerate to 60mph in 1.9 seconds once production begins.
Production has been the biggest problem Tesla has faced in recent years. The company has hundreds of thousands of reservations for its Model 3, which starts at $35,000 and was announced in April 2016. But the company has struggled to increase production, continually missing targets and producing only approximately 3,600 cars a week for a total of less than 30,000 Model 3s according to estimates by Bloomberg.
Musk blamed an overreliance on automation for production delays at its Freemont, California facility, temporarily suspending production in April and reportedly due to again at the end of May. But Tesla said that US production estimates were improving, reportedly decreasing the waiting time from 12-18 months to 4-6 months for some versions.
The company reported a $709.6m loss in the first quarter of the year, having burned through $745.3m in cash.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010