My Model 3 invite is here!

With over 400,000 people who have put down a deposit for the highly anticipated electric car for the masses, the anxiety level is high. The priority has been given to Tesla employees, followed by the previous or current owners of Model S or X who has placed a deposit as well.  At first, Tesla has invited California residents to configure their dream car, then slowly extending it to other states. My turn has come:

Model3_invite.png

I must confess that this invite no longer holds an element of a surprise for me, as I was following closely Tesla forums and was also able to have a sneak peek into the configuration a few weeks earlier. It is exciting, nevertheless, that my personal invitation is here. So, let’s have a look into the available options, shall we?

Model3_choice

As you can see, there are two basic choices available: long range battery model (310 miles) available with estimated delivery within 3-6 weeks or a placeholder for the shorter range (220 miles) and/or dual motor drive available later this year. You will also notice that the long range option adds 9,000 dollars to the base price of 35,000 promised by Tesla. In addition, the Premium Upgrades package is thrown in as well, bringing the total price to 49,000 (48,000 when considering the deposit). This does not come as a surprise for me either, as I knew that the more expensive option will be released first. If you follow Tesla’s history this is has been always a trend.

Model3_featuresModel 3 Premium vs Standard features comparison.

Since I was impatient (wink) and bought a Model S earlier on, I am more interested in the more affordable version of Model 3. It will be a secondary vehicle for our family, one that will be primarily driven by my better half. Since she does not have long distances to commute and we are not planning to use it for road trips (that’s what the bigger brother is for), the extended range of battery does not make much sense for us. All-wheel drive might be interesting, but we’ll have to wait and see how much it will add to the base price. Model 3 will be an economy-driven option for us. Regardless, I wanted to see what the final configuration could look like if I would order it today.

In order to keep the default price, one would also have to keep the default color (black) and 18″ aero wheels:

Model3_default

Selecting any other color (blue would be our preference) and sport 19″ wheels will add 1,000 for the paint and 1,500 for the wheels, respectively:

Model3_blue_sport

Should we opt in for the Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features, it will add even more to the price tag:

Model3_EAP_FSD

With EAP and FSD selected, the final configuration would be just shy of 60,000 dollars:

Model3_final_config

Is this shocking? Not really, considering that Tesla always appealed to people who prefer “fully loaded” cars first. Besides, it is targeted to compete with cars such as the BMW 3 series. They are also advertised to have a base price around 35,000, but if you customize the configuration the price will end up really close. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample configuration of BMW 340i with non-standard (metallic) paint, 19″ wheels and Executive Package:

BMW_340

It even comes with some driving assist features, but it is nowhere close to the Autopilot features on Tesla, even in its current reincarnation.

So there you have it. Most people will probably opt for the more affordable version of Model 3. They might even forgo the Autopilot or Self-Driving capability, or add it on later, just to keep the price down. As of now, unless you are the current Tesla owner, all you can do is hurry up and wait, since the company struggles to meet the demand. If you are lucky enough to have already received an invitation and are willing to pay the premium to take possession of the car before the masses, that option is available. All working as intended. As for us, we will continue waiting patiently.

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My encounter with EVs in Singapore

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Being a very young country (it merely celebrated its 50th birthday in 2015), Singapore is also a stellar example of what a country can achieve with proper leadership and people’s dedication. While having one of the strongest economies in the world and state-of-the art infrastructure, Singapore is not exactly known for EV adoption. You have probably heard the story of a Tesla owner who was taxed for CO2 emissions. The country is also known for astronomical prices of privately owned cars. Imagine that a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic would cost you an equivalent of a well-equipped Tesla Model S or X in United States (about SGD 102,000 after taxes and COE). All this is designed to curb the pollution and road congestion. To be honest, while car ownership is definitely a luxury there, one can get by perfectly fine without it. All thanks to the excellent public transportation system encompassing the whole island.

So where does it place electric vehicles? During my recent visit to Singapore I’ve seen a lot of Toyota Prius cars (mostly taxis), a few of BMW i3 and… that’s about it. There is one initiative, though, that looks interesting and could be an alternative to an Uber or taxi ride. A company called blueSG launched in December 2017 and it provides an EV sharing service. The company itself is a subsidiary of Bolloré Group that already has a similar offering in Paris called Autolib’. The vehicles are also provided by Bolloré and are based on LMP® (lithium-metal polymer) battery technology, providing about 200 km (125 miles) of range on a single charge.

blueSG

How does it work? One has to simply register (on the website or through an app) to receive a card, then follow these instructions:

blueSG_howto
Image source: blueSG website.

The cars are available at any of 30 locations across the island (currently the fleet consists of 80 vehicles) and can be returned to any of the designated charging stations across the country. BlueSG ultimately plans to expand their network to 1000 cars, 500 stations with 2000 charging points.

blueSG_map
Image source: blueSG website.

The service is charged on a per minute basis (50 cents for non-subscribers, 33 cents with 15$/month subscription). In a city-state such as Singapore it can definitely be an option when compared to other ride for hire services mentioned earlier. It provides a sense of independence when needed and definitely beats the cost of owning a car. Plus, there’s no carbon emissions!