Tesla has not delivered a single unit of its EVs in Malaysia but it has certainly been getting lots of publicity with a lot of activity since launching the brand and first model in July. Now comes the second model, the Model 3 which has been updated and began rolling out of the factory in China in September.
Having now included Malaysia in its export markets, the factory has probably been able to better incorporate allocations into its production schedule and the first customers will get their cars before the end of this year – earlier than the Model Y which was launched earlier.
The Model 3 is offered in two versions – Rear Wheel Drive from RM189,000 and the Long Range with all-wheel drive with dual motors from RM218,000. These base prices are for cars that come in a Pearl White multi-coat finish with a black interior and 8-inch wheels. For other colours and larger wheels, and a black and white interior theme, there are added charges ranging from RM5,000 to RM11,000.
In the Tesla timeline, the Model 3 was the fourth model to be launched in 2017, after the Roadster, Model S and Model X. Unlike the Model Y which is a crossover SUV, the Model 3 is a 4-door sedan and this year received many updates.
Tesla tends to be ‘thin’ on product information, offering only details to support marketing of its products but not going in-depth on technical matter. Apart from a significant number of component changes to reduce noise levels, the updated styling has improved aerodynamics (down to 0.219 Cd), which would have contributed to the improved range. Also helping go further are the upgraded tyres on 18-inch wheels (19 inches available for an extra RM7,500).
The outputs of the powertrains are not revealed but the range is and for the Rear Wheel Drive, it is claimed to be 513 kms while the Long Range AWD is said to be 629 kms. The AWD version is significantly more powerful, able to go from 0 to 100 km/h in a claimed 4.4 seconds, 1.7 seconds quicker than the Rear Wheel Drive version. Both versions will top out at 201 km/h.
Charging times using Tesla’s own Superchargers which have high-power DC supply of 170 kW, a range of up to 282 kms is said to be possible with just a 15-minute recharge. Enough time for a cup of coffee and you’re on your way again. The only thing is, for the conceivable future. The Supercharger network will only be along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and if you plan to go to the East Coast, then you would have to use other charging stations (which are very limited).
The cabin, which Tesla says is quieter than before, has the same open feel as the Model Y with the large panoramic glass roof. There’s also the same minimalist layout for the dashboard with significant reliance on the central display panel as the ‘command centre’ for virtually all functions.
The 17-speaker audio system is designed by Tesla and rear passengers get their own display panel (8-inch touchscreen) to adjust the interior climate settings and entertainment. The LED ambient lighting is also customisable to suit different moods.
The base price comes with basic Autopilot functions and customers have the option to add on more autonomous capability. An Enhanced Autopilot package will cost RM16,000 and if you want Full Self-Driving Capability, then add another RM32,000 to the price.