Tesla Model 3 ditches physical keys and instrument cluster


After and year-long hype and sensational media coverage, Tesla’s chief Elon Musk finally unveiled what the company believes an attempt to bring electric cars to masses-the Model 3 all-electric sedan. 

In an official ‘handover’ event on Friday (July 28), Musk handed over Model 3s to the first 30 customers out of half a million of total reservations received till date. Prior to the launch event, Musk confirmed that the production at its Fremont-based assembly line has ramped up and can reach 20,000 models per month by the end of 2017.

Model 3 comes with two battery options viz. standard (220 miles per charge) and long range (310 miles per charge). Like Model S and Model X, this new entrant also boasts a host of connectivity and autonomy features.

The standard equipment features a center mounted 15” touchscreen display which is different from the traditional 17” portrait-mode display of Model S/X. The fully embedded infotainment system supports onboard maps for navigation and Internet radio. Model 3 includes standard 4G/LTE connectivity that will not only ensure seamless connectivity on-the-go but also facilitate over-the-air (OTA) updates as and when they are available.


Image Source: Electrek

One of the striking aspect of Model 3 is it’s ‘barren’ dashboard, which besides having the central display, has no instrument cluster! There’s no speedometer gauge, tachometer, mileage indicator, sound system controls etc. While this comes as a surprise to some, many believe that it represents a break from automotive legacy and points to the futuristic interior designs well-suited for highly connected and autonomous driving.

Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s Chief Designer commented during a press briefing:

“The interior is the most innovative part of the design. We took away everything that is not necessary. What we delivered on the interior is unlike any other car out there. It will age gracefully.”

Another important feature of Model 3 is the ‘keyless’ entry. The keyless system in Model 3 is not same as other ‘keyless’ systems that are currently being offered in many cars which requires a separate key-fob device to transmit the radio signal to unlock the car. Model 3 engineers seemed to have completely ditched the idea of having physical keys. Instead, the car requires a digital key to be transmitted from a smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy (LE).

Additionally, the Model 3 comes with a credit card sized NFC tag that can be used as a back-up to unlock the car, should the phone battery dies.

We will add more details about the system specs and pricing following the official release from Tesla.

Read more about Model 3’s Autopilot and self-driving capabilities here.

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