While killer looks and an extremely pocket-friendly price tag ensured the Model 3 go for bookings of around 400,000 so far, the new Advanced Autopilot system could well catapult the sedan to newer heights of popularity.
CEO Elon Musk has already gone on record claiming the necessary self-driving hardware will be built into all Tesla vehicles currently in production. The Model 3 automatically qualifies for the new self-driving hardware though installing the necessary software will jack up the price by $5,000 and $8,000 for the "Enhanced Autopilot" and "Full Self-Driving" options respectively.
The Model 3 with the autonomous tech factored in will cost either $40,000 or $43,000 depending on the self-driving package selected, according to Business Insider. Compare those with the $37,500 that the Chevy Bolt is priced at. With a 238 miles range, the Bolt is considered the nearest competitor to the Model 3.
However, without the federal tax credit coming into the picture, Model 3 buyers will have to shell out $2,500 to $5,500 more for the most capable Model 3. True the Bolt, too, comes with a host of driver assist tech such lane-keep assist and front-pedestrian braking.
However, Model 3 even with the base self-driving pack promises to be a much more advanced offering which can well justify the $2,500 extra that the sedan would eventually cost, according to LearnBorn. The price difference can widen considerably in the scenario where the Bolt benefits from a federal tax credit whereas Model 3 missing out on that. The Model 3 will be costly by a quite hefty $10,000 for the semi-autonomous drive and an even heftier $13,000 for a fully self-driving car confirming to Level 5 autonomy.
Both the Bolt and Model 3 has similar base line specs though the Bolt has a greater EPA certified range of 238 miles. That no doubt exceeds the 215 miles that Tesla has mentioned of the Model 3 though that's surely expected to increase by a few notches in the final version.
Eventually, it could boil down to a car developed by makers of conventional cars but has branched out to EVs or one that has started with EV in its genes. Tesla is in the latter group and has stood out with its unconventional ways, be its marketing or design and so on. Also, with regular OTA software updates, Tesla ensures its cars remains fresh with new features made available intermittently.
What remains to be seen to though is whether its buyers would be eager to pay more for a technologically more advanced car or settle for something capable yet mundane.