Last week, the Fremont Factory started producing the upgraded Model 3 sedan. With the change, Tesla effectively phased out the original Model 3. It was the end of an era, and numerous electric vehicle enthusiasts expressed their appreciation for the vehicle. The original Model 3, after all, is what made Tesla into a mainstream automaker — a company that is considered the undisputed trailblazer in the EV sector.
As we bid farewell to the original Model 3, it seems pertinent to look behind the vehicle that changed it all for the electric vehicle movement. While the Model S proved that EVs can be just as good or even better than combustion-powered cars, the Model 3 proved that EVs can compete with ICE-powered vehicles at a competitive price.
And that changed everything.
I still remembered my first time going to the show room at Palo Alto to sit in OG Model 3.— Yun-Ta Tsai (@YunTaTsai1) January 11, 2024
Woah, that felt like a future, and secretly hoping that I would own one someday and work for this company.
Then on my first year at Tesla, many old employees told me the legendary stories… pic.twitter.com/FDmCnH5dCX
Tesla’s iPhone moment
The Model 3 made a lot of headlines even before it was unveiled. At the time, the world was shocked as electric vehicle enthusiasts lined up outside Tesla stores so they could place a reservation for the Model 3, not unlike Apple fans waiting for the newest iPhone. But unlike Apple fans lining up for the newest iPhone, the Tesla fans lined up for a car whose design and specs are yet to be revealed.
That was a huge vote of confidence for Tesla and a huge step forward for the electric vehicle movement as a whole. It did, if any, show that there is ample interest in electric cars, provided that they are high quality and well-designed. The Model 3 is both of these things.
Still remember the day I picked up my 2017 Model3. It was absolutely mind blowing! All other cars became old and wrong after that day. Trying Autopark (while working at NIO lol) for the first time 🤯: https://t.co/iPaidk2mXy pic.twitter.com/qytzw3SvL7— Allen Veach (@allen_veach) January 11, 2024
The OG mainstream Tesla
The original Tesla Roadster proved that electric cars can be taken seriously. The Model S and Model X proved that EVs can be objectively and legitimately better than combustion-powered cars on every important metric. The Model 3 proved that EVs are ready for the mainstream market, and it was the success of the all-electric sedan that ultimately allowed Tesla to bring the Model Y to market.
Needless to say, without the Model 3, there would be no Model Y. And if it were not for the fact that the Model 3 was so well-loved all over the world, Tesla would have had a far harder time cracking the million-vehicle mark at all.
Little story time for me and the now "legacy" Model 3:— Anthony Spina (@Speenuh) January 11, 2024
As I was going through my late teens and entered my 20's, I was an anti-Tesla, Chevy Volt (with a V) elitist. I believed in lots of the anti-Tesla FUD, as I didn't know anyone in the Tesla community or anyone really that… https://t.co/dGdZHqV8OB
“An AK-47 Disguised as a Butter Knife”
There are a lot of things to love about the Model 3. It’s filled to the brim with tech and safety features, even in its base model, and its performance is amazing. When Tesla started shipping Basic Autopilot as standard, the Model 3 pretty much became the best bang-for-the-buck car in the market. But beyond the tech and the features, the Model 3 is simply a great driver’s car. Chris Harris of Top Gear, during a review of the Model 3 Performance, remarked that the vehicle is an “AK-47 disguised as a butter knife.” That’s a perfect description of the Model 3.
It would not be an exaggeration to state that the Model 3, particularly the Model 3 Performance, is the most fun car in Tesla’s lineup. Its Track Mode feature proved that EVs can be driven hard around corners, and it could keep pace with the best ICE-powered track weapons out there. For now, all eyes are on Tesla to see if the company could release a worthy successor to the Model 3 Performance.
After an incredible 6.5 year run & and ~2.3 million units sold, legacy Model 3 production is ending.— Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) January 11, 2024
The 2017-2023 @Tesla Model 3 not only revolutionized the auto industry, but also dismantled the notion that EVs couldn't be profitable low-cost mass-market cars pic.twitter.com/4W8i5jiDX4
An Everlasting Legacy
Tesla owes its current success to the Model 3. CEO Elon Musk himself admitted that during the Model 3’s infamous production hell, Tesla came close to dying. But the company didn’t fail. Instead, demand for the Model 3 remained healthy, and the all-electric sedan became so successful that Tesla was able to build a strong, profitable business on its back.
The original Model 3 may be gone from Tesla’s production lines at the Fremont Factory and Gigafactory Shanghai. Despite this, the vehicle’s legacy shall live on. Its successor is promising, as the upgraded Model 3 has been critically acclaimed by owners and professional reviewers alike since it was initially revealed last year.
Tesla watchers note that over the original Model 3’s 6.5-year run, the vehicle sold about 2.3 million units. That’s not bad at all for a car that Tesla critics assumed had serious demand problems from the get-go.
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