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Affordable Electric Cars: Will Chevy's Early Availability Hurt the Tesla Model 3?

Written By, Todd M.

The amount of discussion on the future Tesla begs the decades-old question: is the new Tesla model  popular for its name, or is it about the affordable access to a fully-electric car?

News of the pre-ordering craze of the Tesla Model 3 has been widely-discussed since Tesla began accepting orders on March 31. However, the 2017 Chevy Bolt may cast a shadow over the Tesla Model 3.

Why? Well, if the pre-ordering craze of the Tesla Model 3 is due to consumers’ excitement for an affordable fully-electric car, the 2017 Chevy Bolt is a big competitor. Not only is the Bolt just as affordable and offer similar performance to the Tesla Model 3, but the 2017 Chevy Bolt will be available to dealerships (including NowCar) this (2016) fall. Currently, the first orders of the the Tesla Model 3 aren’t expected to be available until end of 2017 and the later pre-orders might not be fulfilled until 2019.

Engine and Price

So far, the Tesla Model 3 will have a sticker price of $35,000, and the 2017 Chevy Bolt is priced at $37,500. Both vehicles will be eligible for the entire federal tax credit of $7,500, putting the price of both vehicles around $30,000.

The 2017 Chevy Bolt will be able to run for approximately 200 miles without stopping to be charged, and currently Tesla projects that the Model 3 will be able to cruise for 215 miles before being recharged. The Tesla Model 3 is rumored to accelerate from 0-60 mph in six seconds and the Bolt doesn’t fall far behind with a 0-60 mph acceleration in seven seconds.  

Other Vehicle Details

Since the Model 3 is still in the very early stages of production, there are not as many details about the performance and specs of the Model 3, and a majority of the available information is based on the car’s look inside and out.

In terms of charging time, the Chevy Bolt will be able to travel up to 25 miles on electricity per every hour of charging and can be fully recharged in 9 hours. The only current knowledge we know about the time to recharge the Model 3 is that for drivers who have access to a Tesla Supercharger station, the car can be fully recharged in about 30 minutes. While that sounds extremely nice, the availability of those super fast stations is limited, especially for owners that do not live in major metros. Currently, Florida has 14 charging stations and aside from South Florida, the remaining Florida metros like Orlando, Tampa/ St. Petersburg and Jacksonville only have one -- so this will not be an amenity drivers will be able to count on, at least for now.

Both vehicles have well-equipped interiors that feature excellent technology features, like large touchscreens that provide easy access to the car’s remaining charge, efficiency and entertainment.

We do know that the Chevy Bolt will offer excellent safety features including 10 airbags and several cameras that will allow drivers to get a bird’s eye view of the vehicle. Additionally, the Bolt EV offers a number of ingenious radar-systems that will help make driving safer.

One very cool feature on the Tesla Model 3 is the look and feel of the car.   Tesla’s designs are also styled very modern and minimal, which is a big trend right now. Additionally the Model 3 does have a very cool-looking roof -- it is all glass. But, while it looks “cool”, will it be cool? Will the glass roof make the car’s interior very hot on a summer day? That’s an important consideration in Florida.

So is the Tesla craze about the appeal of the vehicle or the appeal to drive a fully-electric car? It might be the Tesla name. That’s understandable though. Tesla is one of the first manufacturers to create the original buzz and they glorified the idea of driving and owning an electric car.

What Really Matters . . .

Regardless of the specs of each car, the buzz and introduction of both of these models is very  important. Electric cars are finally making their way to American roads -- and they are popular and are now being competitively priced.

In addition to both of these fully-electric vehicles, hybrid technologies are rampantly spreading in the U.S. and are being produced by foreign and American car manufactures. Later this year, the world’s first hybrid minivan, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, and the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the most popular car in Europe, will be available in America and at NowCar.