The production Tesla Model 3

Elon Musk has officially unveiled the production Tesla Model 3, delivering on his promise to develop an affordable EV for the masses. With more than 200 mi (354 km) of range in base form, a pared back interior and the cool factor associated with buying a Tesla, the Model 3 looks good on paper. But hitting the promised US$35,000 price is going to take some restraint.

When he announced plans to build the Model 3, Elon Musk promised to deliver an EV with usable range for $35,000. Turns out Chevrolet had the same idea and beat Tesla to the punch with the Bolt, but we’ll leave that aside for now. Credit where it’s due, Musk has delivered a 200-mile electric sedan for $35,000 – but you’ll need to show restraint to drive away with a car for that price.

The base car takes less than two hours to fully charge on a Supercharger, while range replenishes at around 30 mi (42 km) per hour when hooked up to a 240V, 32A home plug. Thankfully, the car accelerates faster than it charges, hitting 60 mph (97 km/h) in just 5.7 seconds from standstill.

People regularly covering longer distances will likely want to tick the box for the Extended Range package, which adds $9k to the list price, but boosts range from 220 to 310 mi (499 km). It also cuts the 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint to 5.1 seconds, and slightly improves charge times. Few owners are likely to care, but top speed jumps from 130 to 140 mph (209 to 225 km/h).

Regardless of what battery is under the floor, the Model 3 interior looks absolutely brilliant. Telsa has dropped the digital instrument binnacle and vertical touchscreen combination of the Model S and X, replacing them with a freestanding central touchscreen responsible for giving the driver information about essentials like speed, along with infotainment. We’ll be interested to see if this layout is easy to use, or whether it proves distracting.