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The stakes could not be higher for Tesla this week

Published Mar 28th, 2016 4:24PM EDT
Tesla Model 3 Launch Analysis

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Tesla is due to unveil its potentially game-changing Model 3 electric car this week and the stakes for the company have never been higher. The Model 3 is expected to sell starting at $35,000 before incentives, and could cost as little as $25,000 when all incentives are factored in. This is by far the most affordable all-electric car that Tesla will have ever released and it’s no exaggeration to say that its success or failure will determine the fate of the entire company.

So, no pressure or anything.

RELATED: Audi Executive: ‘I hate to admit it but Tesla did everything right’

Up until now, Tesla cars have been the favorite toys of environmentally conscious rich people who want cars that are not only eco-friendly but also get sick acceleration as well. The Model 3 will be the first Tesla car targeted at the mass market and if it succeeds, it will prove that there’s tremendous demand for electric cars among drivers everywhere. If it flops, however, Tesla might never recover.

As this informative Quartz article points out, Tesla’s investors are not going to show much patience if the Model 3 bombs since it will be the car that they’ve been waiting for Tesla to release for years now.

“From the beginning, Musk has essentially bet the company on the Model 3,” Quartz writes. “If it is a flop, his investors will flee in droves. He will have no more access to the cash that is required to run the company—remember, he makes no money. In the absence of a hit car for the middle market, Tesla could very well go bust.”

So, that sounds bad. But let’s focus on the upside here, which is that the Model 3 really could spark a revolution in the electric car industry.

Tesla CEO Musk has said that the Model 3 won’t have as many of the “bells and whistles” of his Model S and Model X series and its overall design likely won’t be as pretty, but it will still be an all-electric car with a range of around 200 miles per charge that costs just $35,000 before incentives. General Motors has already announced plans to counter the Model 3 with its own $35,000 Chevy Volt that will also get 200 miles per charge. Other car manufacturers are certainly working on similar cars, as they don’t want to be left behind if the Model 3 is a hit.

Will the Model 3 live up to the hype and point the way to a future where we don’t rely on fossil fuels to drive ourselves around? We’ll find out starting on Thursday, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.