By the time Tesla CEO Elon Musk officially unveiled the Tesla Model 3 sedan late into the evening on March 31, 2016, the California company had already received more than 115,000 pre-reservations from customers eager to get their hands on Tesla’s next electric car, regardless of what the final specifications were. Since then, the number of pre-reservations for Model 3 has skyrocketed, reaching more than 375,000 by the time Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] held its annual shareholder meeting on June 1.
That figure, far larger than auto industry experts or even Tesla expected, shows without a doubt that demand is high for Tesla’s first mass-market, affordable electric car. But while plenty of Tesla fans were overjoyed with the idea of buying a Model 3 based on the short glimpse offered them by the Tesla Alpha prototype we saw back in March, many — some of the Transport Evolved editorial team included — felt that the lack of hatchback option on the Model 3 prevented the $35,000 electric car from being the practical everyday vehicle they’d hoped it would be. Although most agreed the performance and range specifications promised by Tesla were spot on for an affordable, everyday plug-in, the tiny trunk lid and lack of hatchback option became a deal-breaker for those with children, dogs, or a need to carry large, bulky things on a regular basis.
If like us, you fell into that category (and had made peace with the fact that it was okay for the Model 3 to not fit your lifestyle), you may have written off the Model 3 as a potential future car for your family. But over the weekend Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted that the tiny, impractical boot (trunk) lid on the Model 3 may be larger on the production version of the car.
As usual, Musk dropped the hint on Twitter when responding to a comment from a British software engineer who asked him if the Model 3 would ship with a larger trunk opening. While Musk’s response didn’t detail specifics, it gave hope to those who had feared the size of the Model 3 trunk lid.
@nickg_uk already taken care of
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 10, 2016
In response, @nickG_Uk thanked Musk for his “great news,” commenting that “I hope you offer a hatchback at some point too (more popular than sedan cars in Europe).”
Sadly, Musk chose not to respond to the second tweet.
Being smaller than the Model S in size, the large panoramic glass roof we saw on the prototype Model 3 unveiled in March was just one of the many design features designed to make the inside of the mid-sized sedan feel larger and more airy, allowing Tesla to push the rear seats further back than would normally be possible with a metal roof, increasing legroom and headroom for passengers. At the time however, Tesla said that large single-piece glass roof made it tough for Tesla to give the Model 3 a hatchback design, since the mechanics of the hatchback would impinge on rear seat headroom. At the time of the Model 3 unveiling, Musk said that it was possible to fit a full-size bicycle in the trunk of the Model 3, presumably with the rear seats folded down, but that hasn’t stopped many Tesla fans from worrying about the limitations of what will fit through the tiny trunk aperture.
Given that Tesla has set itself an initial deadline of July 1 for finalizing Model 3 design (which may have been pushed back a little, some reports suggest) it’s conceivable that the automaker has found a better way to engineer the trunk lid, or perhaps has managed to reengineer the rear of the car without causing the overall vehicle shape or interior volume to change.
Is a hatchback on the way? That’s still difficult to say, but given how imaginative Tesla’s engineers are, we think it’s a distinct possibility.
Does a larger trunk opening on Model 3 change your views on this affordable long-range electric car? Or does it not bother you at all? Or perhaps you’re one of the many who is only interested in electric hatchbacks?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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