With a promised launch price of $35,000 before incentives, the Tesla Model 3 electric car is a vehicle which will not only go head-to-head with the upcoming 2017 Chevrolet Bolt but could also turn Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] from a premium automaker for the wealthy into a mainstream automaker for the first time.
So when Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk confirmed early last month during the Tesla Q4, 2016 earnings call that the official reveal of the Model 3 would take place on March 31 — with Tesla stores accepting $1,000 reservations the very next day and orders being taken on a first-come, first-served basis — the Internet exploded. Hardened Tesla fans have arranged time off work. Existing Tesla customers are excitedly talking about family members or colleagues who are waiting to place a deposit. And both the automotive press and mainstream media are rife with speculation as to just what features and capabilities Tesla will build into its as-yet unseen affordable sedan.
Yesterday, Tesla took one more step towards preparing the world for its official Tesla Model 3 unveiling by sending out the first wave of invites to the gala event, which we’re guessing will take place at Tesla’s Hawthorne Design Studio in Southern California.
Among the early invitees are those who won themselves a VIP + 1 ticket to the event through Tesla’s popular Model S Referral Program. The invite, which came in the form of a Tesla email, congratulates Tesla Referral Program winners on their support and participation in the program, and confirms the event will take place on the evening of Thursday March 31st in Southern California. Reminding winners that they are only allowed to bring one guest with them to the event, Tesla also reiterates invitees are responsible for covering their own travel, lodging and other incidental costs.
It then helpfully includes a list of local hotels and reminds recipients that the nearest airport to the reveal is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and promises more details in the coming weeks.
While not all the official invites have been sent out yet, the Tesla Motors Club (not affiliated in any way with the automaker) is working hard to pair up Tesla invitees who have a spare +1 with Tesla members who want to attend. At the moment however, there are more TMC members who want to be a plus one than those who are offering it… which if we’re honest, is hardly a surprise.
As our friends at Electrek note, Tesla’s Hawthorne Design Studio is situated next door to the massive SpaceX facility. Since Elon Musk is CEO of both companies, it shouldn’t be a major problem for Tesla to rent extra facilities from SpaceX for the event if it needs to. But as Electrek’s Fred Lambert reminds us, while the Design Studio is the obvious choice for Tesla’s Model 3 reveal, there could be another problem preventing it from happening there: attendee numbers.
Back in October 2014 when Tesla Motors held its “D” reveal event — at which Musk unveiled the all-wheel drive, dual motor Model S for the first time as well as Tesla’s now standard autopilot features — an estimated 40,000 people descended on Hawthorne to attend the event. Similarly large numbers descended on the SpaceX facility last year when Tesla unveiled its all-new Tesla Energy range of storage products.
While Tesla’s Design Studio is located just a stone’s throw from the 105, the intersection itself isn’t one designed for a particularly high volume of traffic, meaning that if there are significantly large-enough volumes of Tesla fans planning on attending the event, there are going to be at least some queues to get onto the Tesla lot.
Our advice? If you’re going, consider taking public transit: Crenshaw Station is a five-minute walk away.
With four weeks to go until the official Model 3 unveiling, we’re bound to hear more about Tesla’s upcoming model as we edge ever-closer to the event, most likely from Elon Musk’s Twitter stream. And as always, we’ll be keeping you posted of the latest news just as soon as we have it.
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