2017 Tesla Model 3 "first production" car, in photo tweeted by Elon Musk on July 9, 2017
With the Tesla Model 3 electric car now in early production and an aggressive ramp rate targeted, it's getting lots of media attention.
Part of that is due to the allure of the Tesla brand and fascinating with company CEO Elon Musk.
Some more may be due to the widespread misapprehension that the Model 3 is the first long-range electric car for sale at a mass-market price. (It's not.)
One of the Model 3's strongest advantages—the Tesla Supercharger network of DC fast-charging stations—often gets overlooked by breathless media coverage.
But, hey, that's the game these days.
So now that Tesla's third major line of electric cars has emerged, we surveyed our Twitter followers to see what they thought the prospects for the Model 3 were.
The results indicate that it's never wise to underestimate enthusiasm for the Tesla brand and its cars.
Six out of 10 respondents said flatly that the Model 3 will outsell any other electric car on the market.
Given Tesla's statement that it has 455,000 deposits of $1,000 apiece for the car, that's not an altogether unreasonable prediction.
While more than 250,000 Nissan Leafs have been sold in almost seven years, and a second generation of that pioneering electric hatchback is on the way, its low range likely doomed its chances.
(The new Leaf to be introduced next month is expected to offer at least one model with a range of 200 miles or more.)
As for the Model 3 survey, none of our other three choices attracted even one in five respondents.
2017 Tesla Model 3 and 2011 Nissan Leaf, Half Moon Bay, California, Aug 2017 [photo: Scott Forrest]
The next most-popular option, that the Model 3 was "basically what I expected," garnered 18 percent of the votes.
We'd expected the common complaint on Tesla forums—"Cost of best model [too] high"—to get more support than the 12 percent it actually received.
Just 10 percent of respondents picked the least-popular option, suggesting that Tesla is still challenged as a car company. (It's consistently lost money for 13 years, for example.)
In thinking through the survey, we'd have to acknowledge that we're limited by the Twitter format, which doesn't allow more than one choice to be selected.
The four options we offered in this survey aren't mutually exclusive: you can believe the Model 3 will be the most successful EV on the market while also agreeing its maker is challenged, for instance.
But with at least 30 of the cars now in buyers' hands (likely more now), and Model 3 sightings popping up all over Silicon Valley, it seems entirely fair to say the game is now afoot.