Tesla Model 3, The Millennial’s Mustang?

Photo Credit: Spencer Lowell via Wired Germany
Photo Credit: Spencer Lowell via Wired Germany /

The hype over the Tesla Model 3 is insane.

I will date myself a bit.  The first car I watched my parents own was a 1987 Camry.  I was a young kid at the time, so everyone else can take a stab at what age I was back then.  As a young child, I was a car guy.  I was excited when we took a 1984 Toyota Corolla to Expo ’86.  I yelled at my dad for driving too slow in his Datsun 210.  I stared at that 1987 Toyota Camry when we finally brought it into our garage.

I’ve been to a lot of auto shows.  I’ve never been to an automotive press unveiling.  (Seriously, how has this not happened yet?)  But, I can’t help but think the Tesla Model 3 is like the Ford Mustang unveiling, nearly 50 years later.

Admittedly, I don’t know too much about 60’s cars.  However, I am well aware of the hype, marketing, and popularity of the 1964 Mustang.  If I remember correctly, off-hand, they sold over 100,000 in three months?  Over a million units in 18 months?

Considering it was the 1960’s, that number is insane.  That’s like waking up tomorrow and realizing that at least a third of your neighborhood already has a Mustang, while another third has theirs on order.

More from Art of Gears

The 1964 Mustang derived a lot of parts from other Ford models to help keep costs low.  I can imagine that Tesla has done the same with the Model 3.  However, cars are a lot more complex than what they used to be.  We can’t live without our navigation systems.  Cloth seats in a Tesla?  Please.  All aluminum construction please with proper alloy wheels.  Even power winders and door locks are expected, and those were luxury items in the 1980’s.  Let’s not even get into autonomous driving hardware, which could easily be perceived as an option.

So no, the Tesla Model 3 won’t fit into the budget of a modern day Corolla or Civic.  That would be insane.  Frankly, I don’t think Tesla even has the supercharger network to keep up with that kind of automotive volume.

However, with a predicted base price of $35,000 and lower running costs than the average internal combustion engine, today could be seen as a transformative automotive event.  Chevrolet is trying to complete already with the Bolt already in assembly.  Somehow, I think Tesla’s badge carries more weight at the price point.

More cars: Is A Pre-Owned Tesla Model S Worth It?

With just under 2 hours and 30 minutes to go, not only are there lots of people in line at Tesla stores throughout the world, but there are people just like me, sitting behind our screens, waiting for the unveil.

Hopefully, this will reinvigorate automotive interest, just like the Mustang did, all over again.