Environment

Here's What Tesla's New Model 3 Looks Like

April 1st 2016

By:
Mike Vainisi

After years of anticipation, Telsa has unveiled its Model 3, the electric car priced at $35,000, half the price of Telsa's other models. Electric car fans hope that the Model 3 will be the beginning of a sea change in the auto industry where electric cars are affordable for most American households.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off the car last night, calling it "the final step in [Tesla's] master plan, which is a mass market, affordable car." Musk emphasized the importance of electric cars in the battle against climate change.

Elon Musk CO2

"It's very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport," Musk said in front of a graph showing rising CO2 levels, adding that electric cars are also better for our air quality because they're much cleaner than gas-powered cars.

The car's battery will last for 215 miles per charge, according to Musk. Musk also mentioned that Telsa plans on doubling the number of "superchargers," which are the charging stations that allow Tesla drivers to charge their cars in minutes.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla says that more than 100,000 people have already pre-ordered Tesla's Model 3. Buyers have put down a $1,000 deposit and won't be able to actually drive the car until at least late next year.

Tesla Model 3

Are electric cars better for the environment?

When it comes to whether electric cars are better for the environment than gas-powered cars, studies have disagreed. One study from last October from the Union of Concerned Scientists said that electric cars are indeed better — the study found that the average electric car cuts emissions by 60 percent compared to the average gas-powered car.

But that's not the whole story. Whether or not your electric car is really 60 percent better depends on where you're driving. That's because electric car batteries suck up power from the electric grid. If the electric grid is powered by dirty energy, that means your electric car is getting its power from a dirty energy source, as the environmental blog Grist explained:

Electric vehicles provided the most pollution reduction in places rich in renewable energy (like upstate New York) and the least in central U.S. states (like Kansas) that still rely heavily on coal to produce electricity.

This map shows where you get the most environmental bang for your buck if you drive an electric car:

Electric Cars Sustainability Map

You can watch the rest of Elon Musk's presentation of the Model 3 here: