Officially marketed in mid-2017, the Tesla Model 3 has slowly gained markets across the globe. Now installed, the electric sedan is not only one of the best-selling electrics, but it sometimes takes the lead in all segments. Has Tesla found the magic formula with the Model 3?
In less than two years of career, the Tesla Model 3 has become the best-selling electric car in the majority of the markets where it is offered. Particularly in Europe where it represented an 85% share of the 109,500 vehicles sold by Tesla in 2019, boosting the brand’s sales by 274%. It has even managed, for its first full year of marketing, to win ahead of its thermal competitors such as the BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class.
More episodically, the Tesla Model 3 has also taken the lead in sales of all categories and energies combined. This was the case in England last April and May, placing ahead of the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. Or even in California in the first quarter of 2020, with 18,856 units sold, more than the Honda Civic (18,001 units), yet extremely popular on the shores of the Pacific. A particularly remarkable success for an electric car, whose market shares are always lower compared to combustion cars. What is the secret of this success? Here is our analysis.
No show, no usual presentation, but a keynote
Then with a Tesla Model S and a Model X, the Californian brand launched the Model 3 on March 31, 2016. A real event in the world of the electric car, since this newcomer announced the whole universe of the brand priced at $ 35,000. Elon Musk then unveiled the lines of the new sedan at a party that only start-ups and other companies in the world of tech and telephony have the secret. The latest buzzword was the Tesla Model 3, and 180,000 customers expressed their intention to purchase in just 24 hours after the presentation. Some even queuing in bundles in front of the brand’s concessions to deposit a reservation check. An image that very quickly evokes that of the Apple Stores on the morning of the release of a new flagship product. A week later, they were 325,000 to have been amazed by the figures announced by Tesla for its sedan.
While waiting for the arrival of the first copies, enthusiasm subsides and handfuls of barges retract. Enough to make the cabbage of some self-proclaimed financial analysts, who announce the commercial failure of a sedan which still does not see the light of day. But Elon Musk remains confident. According to him, 1,800 customers make reservations each day, with one or two models at most, keeping the specter out of speculators unnecessarily inflating the numbers. Still according to the boss of the brand, 93% of them come from new buyers who do not yet own a Tesla. Elon Musk’s strategy seems to be working. Because beyond the promises of the car, which stacks all the qualities, the methods of presentation worthy of the late Steve Jobs hit the mark: the clarity of the speech, the simplicity of the presentation and the effects of announcements were enough to give rise to envy . The verse is in the fruit, the collective frenzy and the qualities of the car will do the rest.
A Generation Z car
In the trough of the wave as the first copies hit the road, the Tesla Model 3 was quick to establish itself as one of the benchmarks in electric cars. But also in terms of the automobile quite simply, since it manages to sort of reinvent mobility as we have known it until then, no matter what the refractory thinks. Like most of the latest Silicon Valley products, the Tesla Model 3 fully plays the card of on-board technologies. Like the Tesla Model S, which stood out with its huge central screen containing all the tools and functions that are useful for everyday use, the family sedan relies on a particularly complete central panel. Of course, other competing proposals are not tech-savvy, but none offer such an easy-to-access interface.
Perfectly refined in its presentation, the on-board device also presents a very modern intuitiveness. So much so that any individual of Generation Z, even foreign to the automotive thing or not of driving age, will quickly find his bearings thanks to a logic coming from computers and telephony, again. Beyond this ease of use (except for the adjustment of the windshield wipers in the eyes of German justice visibly), the sedan also embeds a whole new connectivity in a car as well as a whole batch of applications and other attentions for geek : the installation of Netflix, Youtube, the Beach Buggy game or Rainbow Road mode are enough to satisfy the generation of “always more” attracted by gadgets as useless as they are essential which, like in the smartphone segment, is becoming one of the purchase criteria. Because it is not so much the fact of having flatulence in the speakers as soon as one settles on board that pleases (although having a lot more fun than one might imagine), but the fact that the neighbor’s car cannot do it.
A car that improves over time
What the latter also cannot do is improve over time. Because since its inception, the automobile has depended on time, seeing its mechanics and technologies wither under the weight of years. Automobile of the new era, the Tesla Model 3 is for its part fully connected and can receive remote updates to improve its electronic systems, but also its mechanics.
This is one of the main strengths of Tesla and its products, by offering a car that improves over time and this in the greatest simplicity: connected to an internet network, it downloads and installs software providing with them improvements and new features without going through the service center. These updates are often minimal, but it suggests some mornings to discover a more up-to-date car than the day before.
A car that drives itself, in complete safety
The more pragmatic drivers, however, appreciate the endowment in terms of safety and driver assistance. A set of equipment that allows the Tesla Model 3 to climb to the top of the EuroNCAP ranking. With 5 stars overall, it even earned the highest score ever awarded by the organization in the chapter on safety assistance. This was achieved in part by the remote upgrade of the last-minute automatic emergency braking system.
Automation is also central to the specifications of the Tesla Model 3, whether in the area of intuitiveness or driving. For the occasion, it is equipped with the brand’s Autopilot system, which we no longer present. Certainly restricted to the Old Continent, the device borders on fully autonomous driving in its native lands. Still making headlines when its few flaws lead to an accident, Autopilot still shows itself to be the most efficient system on the market for surveying kilometers with confidence.
A car that is not afraid of miles and side roads
In terms of driving, the Tesla Model 3 gives motorists confidence. Equipped with the latest generation of batteries, the Californian sedan announces a range of 409 km in the entry-level Autonomie Standard Plus version and even 560 km in its Grande Autonomie version. One of the biggest fields of action on the market, behind the Tesla Model S, obviously. But unlike its big sister, it can connect to V3 Superchargers that can deliver a charging power of 250 kW, allowing it to climb to 80% load in less than thirty minutes. Only the Porsche Taycan offers more attractive figures, but very few facilities allow it to get the 350 kW promised at the moment. As for the Superchargers network, we no longer present it: dense, fast, easy, reliable and accessible, it has all the qualities expected to consider an electric car trip.
But we should not consider the Tesla Model 3 as a simple car for geek. She also knows how to be fun to drive and even touch the level of some established references. With a low center of gravity inherent in battery-powered cars in the floor, it is even adept at handling a very dynamic pace on bending roads. A terrain where it is not exceeded thanks to its interesting performance, especially in the Performance version where it achieves a 0-100 km / h in 3.4 seconds. At more family-friendly speeds, it then delivers all the qualities we know from electric cars, with appreciable smoothness and silence in operation in a refined interior.
A car that sells itself
In addition to its road and electric car qualities, the Tesla Model 3 is successful because it belongs to a whole new generation. A generation that then resembles that of teens, also known as Generation C for Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Connection. Like the other models in the range, it is to the car what the smartphone is to the telephone. Or a perfectly modern redefinition of an antique object, to the point of becoming a benchmark in the field. Who today would hesitate between a smartphone and a mobile phone used only for calling? It was with this question in mind that Elon Musk and his team of engineers who were equally dedicated to computers and automobiles shaped the Tesla models.
Especially since the Model 3, which offers all this coveted universe since the appearance of the Model S, is now available at a more controlled price. If the $ 35,000 version announced is still pending, the sedan starts at 49,600 euros in France, or $ 37,990 in its home market. Being the most affordable and successful of the cars of the future, the Tesla Model 3 finished taking off with entirely new marketing methods: by favoring a sale on the internet, the sedan continued to sell during the periods of confinement around the globe, thus allowing it to continue on its way when the traditional concessions had closed their doors.
The Model 3 success story will not end there. One need only look at the results of a recent survey conducted by CleanTechnica among motorists in a few European countries, including France, to be convinced. But let us note that this success could on the other hand fade with the arrival of the Model Y. Based on the same characteristics of the sedan, the recent SUV will integrate a more buoyant segment, where the demand is twice as high as in that of sedans. family.