Tesla Model 3 Week: Interior Images, Apple Car, Test Drives
This past week, Tesla informed future Model 3 owners about upcoming test drives. And, as usual, fresh Model 3 release candidate images appeared. There was also lots of chatter (some from Apple) about Apple EV projects.
Dash images: The Model 3’s spartan dash and single screen have become somewhat of an obsession for Model 3 watchers. To the disappointment of some, not much has changed since Tesla offered Model 3 test rides in the spring of last year. More images appeared at the beginning of this past week (see below). A full Model 3 gallery was posted by Reddit user “inamachineshop” (via Electrek).
Test drives: Here’s what Tesla’s Model 3 reservation FAQ says about test drives: “We will provide the opportunity to get behind the wheel of Model 3 once we begin production.” But wait. Though production is slated to start in July, Tesla is now telling reservation holders that “Model 3 test drives will begin late 2017,” according to a report at Electrek. Note that clicking on the “Test Drive” link on the Model 3 FAQ page sends you to Model S and Model X test drives. We’ll see if Tesla sorts this out.
Tesla (Model 3?) rivals — Apple Car and compact EV from China: Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with Bloomberg that “there is a major disruption not only for self-driving cars but also for the electrification. If you’ve driven an all-electric car, it’s actually a marvelous experience…We’re focused on autonomous systems…we see it as the mother of all AI projects.”
After these comments were made by Cook, a research note landed in my inbox from Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty speculating that Apple will eventually make a car.
From the Apple perspective, core self-driving software is likely the first step in its autonomous pursuits, and we believe Apple will eventually move beyond just software into designing a full car and/or launching a platform for third party services and content over time. This is because Apple argues it is most successful when it vertically integrates in a market, controlling the hardware and software and creating a platform (e.g. iOS + App Store + iTunes). However, these pursuits will take time and investment dollars and competition will be fierce.
–Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty.
$7,800 EV: Think the $35,000 Model 3 is cheap? A Chinese company is planning to launch a $7,800 “ultra-compact” (2.5 meters long and 1 meter wide) electric car in 2018 with changeable batteries — so says a report at CNBC, who spoke with Co-Founder Kevin Shen of start-up CHJ Automotive.
It runs on two batteries which are swappable, meaning that the car won’t need to stop for too long at a charging station to re-juice. Google’s in-car operating system called Android Auto is equipped in the vehicle
It will be priced at between 7,000 euros ($7,824) and 8,000 euros.
But don’t get too excited: “Shen said the company will launch the product in Europe too, but not as a consumer offering, meaning people will not be able to buy a vehicle.”
By the way, if you want a cheap U.S.-brand compact EV, used Chevy Spark EVs (real-world range up to 90 miles) are hitting the market now with pricing typically starting around $9,000.