Tesla's latest driving mode is an about-turn from its previous options, which were all about squeezing the optimal performance from its cars. The new "chill" setting makes for a "gentler ride," according to the manufacturer. That sounds like an odd upgrade from an EV maker that was once obsessed with cracking the fastest acceleration time, motivated by its rivalry with Faraday Future. It achieved that milestone earlier this year (after dropping the "Ludricous" easter egg), when the Tesla Model S P100D became the quickest car to 60 MPH. All those boring folk can tap chill mode for "smoother" and "more gradual" acceleration.
An Australian who waited outside Sydney's Tesla dealership for 48 hours has become the first person in the world to order its hugely anticipated electric car. Andreas Stephens pre-ordered the Model 3, an as-yet-unseen model expected to retail for about A 45,000 (US 35,000) when it is eventually released in Australia in 2018. Stephens, who drives a Toyota Corolla Seca, told EFTM that he does not have a garage: "I've got two years to build one." SBS reported that the line of people waiting to place orders stretched more than 20 metres outside the Tesla dealership in St Leonards, in Sydney's north, on Thursday morning. Australia was the first market to be able to order the Model 3 globally, ahead of its official release in the US in late 2017.
Would you put down a 1,000 deposit to buy something you haven't even seen? For fans of Tesla Motors, the answer isn't only yes, but also that they will happily camp out for hours to ensure a favorable position on the company's waiting list. On Wednesday, lines began to grow outside Tesla showrooms around the United States and Europe ahead of the electric carmaker's unveiling of the Model 3, which is expected to cost 35,000. The lines -- reminiscent of what Apple has previously drawn for product launches -- speaks to the anticipation of Tesla's most affordable vehicle yet. Tesla has long said its mission is to speed up the arrival of sustainable transportation; yet so far, its cars have been affordable only to the affluent, with price tags sometimes reaching over 100,000.
If the car becomes as popular and successful as Musk hopes, Tesla stands to become a major consumer brand that helps to finally usher the all-electric car era into the mainstream. But it may be a bumpy road ahead -- the Koch brothers are planning a multimillion-dollar assault on electric vehicles, Tesla's direct-to-consumer sales model is still prohibited in several states, automotive technology and trends are evolving rapidly and there is a possibility of shrinking tax incentives that push electric car prices down, a key to driving sales. When the Model 3 finally does begin to ship in late 2017, it won't be the first affordable all-electric vehicle to hit the market, so Tesla stands to face considerable competition.