The last Model 3 event was probably the least climactic Tesla event. It was short, some parts were a bit awkward & they didn’t focus much on the car. Why? The Model 3 event was The Anti-Sell. Tesla does not want you to buy a Model 3 yet.
Tesla doesn’t want you to think Model 3 is its best car just because it’s their newest model, even though it does have some newer technology compared to last year's Model S which is 2x the cost. Tesla doesn’t want to sell any more Model 3’s right now. With over 450,000 preorders, Tesla has a huge backlog. They’d much rather sell a more expensive Model S or X because they can produce those immediately and make an instant profit.Model 3 has new Autopilot Hardware 2.5 and its purpose is to provide more power for future autonomous driving, including added computing and wiring redundancy which improves reliability.
Why introduce HW 2.5? The Tesla Network is Tesla’s future ride sharing platform. It’s like Uber & Lyft but instead of a human driver the car will drive itself, pick up passengers, and take them to their destinations.Starting in July or August 2017 all Tesla cars have HW 2.5, and Tesla said that any previous cars with HW 2.0 that somehow may not be capable of full self driving would get a free upgrade if the customer paid for FSD. Tesla still believes HW 2.0 is capable of self driving.
From Tesla’s Master Plan:
"When true self-driving is approved by regulators, it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else enroute to your destination. You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost.”The secret? Model 3 is currently the only Tesla vehicle that is capable of joining the autonomous ride sharing network.
The minimalistic interior is one of the most polarizing features of Model 3. Some people are infuriated that almost everything in Model 3 is controlled by the 15” touch display. I mean almost everything, from opening the glove box to setting the direction of the air vents to opening the trunk, it’s all software-based controls on the touch screen.
What about damage to your car? Model 3 has something in it that the S or X don’t currently have: an interior camera. It’s built into the rear view mirror and it can see who is in the car at any given time and monitor what’s happening inside the car. But with a new camera how will the car handle the new data processing? Remember the new Hardware 2.5 has added computing and wiring redundancy? There’s your answer. But there’s one more piece to the puzzle.Why? Because autonomous ride sharing. Since it's software controlled, everything is customizable and can be remembered based on who is using the car. Model 3 answers the two biggest concerns regarding autonomous ride-sharing: What if someone steals my valuables, and what if someone damages my car? The first is addressed with software-controls. You can restrict or grant access to anything.
This means Tesla Model 3 is not just another electric car built for the mass market. It’s not even about a car capable of driving itself. Model 3 is the first car ever to be designed for autonomous ride sharing.Model 3 doesn’t come with a car key or even a key fob. It comes with an NFC key card to unlock and start the car. But this is just the backup entry method. The real entry method is a smartphone. With the Tesla app & Bluetooth LE, it sends an encrypted signal to Model 3 as your get near it so when you have your smartphone in your pocket and walk up to Model 3 it will unlock. But not only will it do that, it will also know exactly who is getting in the car and it will set the car settings based on who the person is.
Let’s recap. Model 3 has new autopilot hardware, a new interior camera, is software controlled, and has automatic entry via a smartphone.
Tesla is downplaying the significance of Model 3 for now, but there’s no denying that it may be the most technologically advanced car ever.
From Elon himself:
“There will be a shared autonomy fleet where you buy your car and you can choose to use that car exclusively. You can choose to have it used only by friends and family or other drivers who are rated five stars. You can choose to share it sometimes but not other times. That’s 100% what will occur. It’s just a question of when.”
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