With less than two weeks left until the official unveiling of the prototype Tesla Model 3 at the Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] design studio in Hawthorne, California, there’s an undeniable air of excitement in the air.
Earlier this week, Tesla ran a surprise 20-hour lottery for existing Tesla customers, offering them the chance of winning one of 650 pairs of tickets to the exclusive invite-only event. At the same time, it confirmed that while it won’t be offering any special edition models for reservation holders as it did with the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X, it would prioritize existing Tesla customers when it came to working through its expected massive reservation list.
Since then, we’ve seen a steady trickle of information from Tesla, as well as some unashamed attempts from hoaxers trying to convince the automotive press that they have exclusive pre-reveal images of the Model 3 in the metal. And while we’re not going to even bother spending time debunking the badly-photoshopped Model X some are trying to pass off as the new Tesla Model 3 (other sites have done that job for us) we have some exciting news to share about the Model 3 launch event that we think you will want to know.
Firstly, contrary to previous reports, Tesla says it plans to reveal working alpha prototypes at its Model 3 reveal event. While it’s not clear if those vehicles will be offered for attendees to drive after the official reveal, Tesla has said official invites sent out to members of the mainstream press that it will be offering press a chance to “take a spin in what we’ve been working on.”
While this does bode well for Tesla’s planned production timeline for the Model 3, suggesting that Tesla is further ahead than Tesla CEO Elon Musk thought it would be back at the start of this year, it also doesn’t mean that we’ll see a production-ready car.
As those who have followed both the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X will know, while basic vehicle design elements tend to remain the same between prototype and production cars, Tesla has a habit of adding additional ‘top secret’ features ahead of production, such as the integrated cell phone charging dock in the Model X, automatic front doors, and of course, biohazard air filtration system.
Another big piece of news concerning the Tesla Model 3 event broke this morning, when Tesla tweeted a link a Tesla Model 3 story on TheDrive detailing the fact that the Model 3 will have rear-view mirrors rather than rear-view cameras. While that piece of news is hardly unexpected — there’s a lot more legislative work to be done before the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the OK for rear-view cameras to replace rear-view mirrors — the thing which piqued our interest was the image attached to Tesla’s retweet: the mathematical symbol ≡
— Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) March 18, 2016
Why does this make us happy? Well, it means that tipster Brian Henderson was right when he surmised back in July 2014 that Tesla would use three horizontal lines as the official on-car badge for the Model 3. While it’s something of a pain when it comes to SEO, it nicely ties the identity of Tesla’s first truly affordable mass-market electric car in with the way it writes the ‘E’ in its brand name.
Considering most mathematicians view the ≡ symbol (called the equivalence sign) as literally meaning “identical to,” we also think it’s a lovely touch for a car company eager to point out that electric cars are now capable of being equal in every way to their gasoline counterparts.
Sadly, we’re not among the invitees, but we we’ve previously said this week, we’ll be covering the event live from Transport Evolved HQ, where we hope to watch and discuss Tesla’s live stream in real-time. Be sure to add it to your calendar, and we’ll see you there on the 31st.
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