“WILL BEAT anything in its class on track.” That’s quite a claim for a hefty four-door electric car, but it’s one that Elon Musk is ready to stand behind, if his latest volley of tweets on the box-fresh dual-motor version of the Model 3 are anything to go by.
Of course, it’s pure conjecture as to how Musk defines that particular class, but with a 0-60mph (97km/h) time of 3.5 seconds and a 250km/h top end, the hottest Model 3 is bringing some serious firepower. Musk isn’t shy of naming names either, claiming that its USD $78k price is about the same as a BMW M3, but with his car delivering 15 percent better performance and superior handling to boot. That’s fighting talk.
Thus far, we’ve only seen plans for the single-motor version of the Model 3, but Tesla announced the next phase of the Model 3’s rollout yesterday: the dual-motor version. As is becoming a Tesla trait, the dual-motor car is being offered in two distinct versions, a standard and a performance version. Even the standard version (available for a USD$5000 premium over the single-motor model) will get to 60mph in 4.5 seconds, with a 224km/h top speed and a range of 496km.
The performance version retains the 496km range and bundles in the cost of all options other than Autopilot. Both cars feature an AC induction front motor and a switched reluctance, partial permanent magnet rear motor.
As has been widely publicised, Model 3 production is nothing like as quick off the line. In February, Tesla said it had taken deposits and orders for more than half a million Model 3s in the last two years, but by the end of March it had built a mere 12,500 units, or around 2.5 percent of the order backlog.
Read next: Elon Musk sends Tesla Roadster into space
Production has recently improved to around 2200 cars a week, and Musk is optimistic that the company will be building 5000 Model 3s per week by the end of next month. Right-hand drive versions of the Model 3 are slated to start being built in the middle of 2019, and Australia is due to get both single and dual-motor versions of the car, confirmed Tesla’s local spokesman, Heath Walker. Given that this is still around a year away, potential currency fluctuations mean that exact local pricing has yet to be pinned down.
Shortly before sharing the specs for the Tesla Model 3 performance version, Musk also signalled the launch of a service option called Tesla Ranger, in which a technician will "take care of your car" after being summoned via smartphone. A version of that service has already been trialled in Perth, and Tesla is expecting to roll out this programme across Australia over the next year.