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  • Tesla’s cheaper, longer-driving car may be a gamechanger

    Tesla has fired the starting gun in the race to build the ‘second generation’ of electric vehicles by unveiling its Model 3, a small luxury sedan with a range of around 350km and, at $35,000 US selling price, half the price tag of its earlier models. The Model 3 is expected to go into production late in 2017.

    It will face stiffer competition in the electric segment than before, including the Chevrolet Bolt from General Motors which should be launched late this year. But the Californian carmaker’s latest offering has the ability to drive further than any other battery car on a single charge, which could make it a game changer.

    Some 276,000 orders – each requiring a $1,000 downpayment – have already been placed on the four-door. Tesla has a target of selling 500,000 cars a year by 2020. The Model 3’s success will also be crucial for the company’s ‘Gigafactory’, a huge battery research and production facility in Nevada which should pave the way for better and cheaper batteries.

    GM’s Chevrolet Bolt electric car will launch late this year, offering about 320km of electric driving range and a similar starting price. A new generation of Nissan’s Leaf is also expected to expand its driving range and be in that price range.

    Meanwhile a Bloomberg report found battery prices have fallen 65% since 2010; one of the big factors explaining progress.