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Answers to burning questions about the Tesla Model 3

Updated 4 years ago
Published Apr 5th, 2016 9:55AM EDT
Tesla Model 3 Burning Questions
Image: Tesla

The Tesla Model 3 has been a very hot topic on the Internet for the past week, which also means that it’s been a hot topic on Quora. While Tesla has given us a lot of basic details about the Model 3 and while some of the vehicle’s hidden features have been uncovered by Internet sleuths, a lot of questions remain about the car, including how well it will stack up against competing cars in two years and whether Tesla actually has the production capacity to meet demand. Based on some of the most popular Model 3-related topics on Quora, we’ll post answers to some of the most burning questions you might still have about Tesla’s newest car.

RELATED: Tesla fans explain why they shelled out $1,000 to reserve the Model 3

1.) Will a range of 215 miles per charge really be that impressive in a couple of years?

This is really an important question for any prospective Model 3 buyers since no one wants to buy a new electric car only to discover that competing options will deliver much better battery life by the time the car is actually shipped.

Having a range of 215 miles per charge is impressive right now, but what if BMW and other manufacturers are able to build cars with ranges of 300 miles by 2019? That could significantly hurt the Model 3’s attractiveness to electric car buyers.

The good news here is that Tesla right now has a giant head start when it comes to charging infrastructure. Tesla has 613 supercharger stations around the world today and it plans to double that number to over 1,200 by the end of next year. If that’s not impressive enough, Tesla also plans to quadruple its Destination chargers that are set up at assorted hotels, shopping centers and restaurants by the end of 2017. This means that there will be approximately 15,000 different Destination chargers set up for you to use.

So even if a range of 215 miles doesn’t sound that great to you, you should know that Tesla is seriously bumping up its charging infrastructure so you won’t have to worry as much about finding a place to add juice to your Model 3’s battery.

2.) Does Tesla really have the manufacturing capacity to meet the insane demand for the Model 3 right now?

In a word: No.

In fact, Elon Musk basically admitted that Tesla’s manufacturing capabilities are going to need a big upgrade if it’s going to actually deliver on its promises for Model 3 shipments:

For some perspective, it took Tesla three-and-a-half years to sell 100,000 Model S cars. Its registrations to buy the Model 3 are likely already past 300,000.

So is this a bad thing? Not entirely. As self-described Tesla fan Phillip Remaker writes on Quora, “In the short-term I suspect they will use the excess demand to create a halo effect for the brand.” He also says that Tesla “would be much better off in the long term ensuring that the newest cars are extremely high-quality rather than carelessly for filling the demand with subpar vehicles.”

Some good things are worth the wait. And if you haven’t reserved your Model 3 yet, you could be in for a lot of waiting.

3.) How do tax credits work for the Model 3?

You can get a $7,500 federal tax subsidy for buying the Tesla Model 3, but you’re going to have to reserve one relatively soon to take advantage of it… and honestly, it might already be too late. Once Tesla sells over 200,000 vehicles to customers in the United States, this tax credit will drop down to $3,750 for the next six months and then $1,875 for the next six months after that. Quora user Charles Wang notes that Tesla had sold just under 61,000 Model S cars by December 2015 and he estimates that it will cross the 200,000 car threshold in 2018.

This means that if your Model 3 doesn’t get delivered until 2018, you may not be eligible for the full tax credit. This is why it made all the sense in the world for the early adopters to stand outside in lines on the first day Tesla started taking reservations for the Model 3 — they were literally saving themselves thousands of dollars by doing so.

4.) Where is the speedometer located in the Model 3?

One of the things that a lot of drivers will need to get used to about driving the Model 3 is that it won’t have a traditional dashboard or any physical instruments. Instead, everything you need to operate and monitor the car will be located on a 15-inch tablet. The speedometer on the tablet is located in the upper-left hand corner so you won’t have to look over very far to see how fast you’re going. In fact, you’ll be able to see your speed right out of the corner of your eye.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.