Has Tesla finally taken EVs into the mainstream?

More than 70 years after the death of the genius from which the company took its name, Tesla Motors has taken the next step forward in electronic vehicles (EVs), with the unveiling of its new, affordable Model 3 in California on March 31. While the first units are not expected to roll off the production line until around the end of 2017, the sleek new vehicle is expected to have a huge impact on automotive engineering the world over, and potentially change car fuel consumption markets permanently.

As a fleet manager, keeping petrol costs as low as possible is likely one of your biggest concerns. Imagine a world where the need to budget for fuel is no longer an issue - that's the future that vehicles like the Model 3 are promising. A future where EVs and autonomous cars replace traditional petroleum and diesel engines and drive us forward into a cleaner, greener future.

A closer look at the Model 3

Arguably the most hotly-anticipated car launch of all time - certainly when it comes to EVs - the Model 3 follows Tesla's roadmap of bringing previously exclusive features to the mass market in a more affordable package. While the manufacturer's previous Model S and Model X occupied the rarified air of the luxury car market, the Model 3 will be sold at a comparatively low $35,000 USD.

Keeping petrol costs low is a big concern for fleet managers.

That reduced price point doesn't necessarily mean the quality and performance of the vehicle will be compromised, however. Promising a minimum range of 345 kilometres per charge, the Model 3 will capably address the biggest concern of many fleet managers who are considering an entry into the EV space. Meanwhile, 5-star safety ratings and the ability to reach 100 km/h in under six seconds make the new Tesla a performance force to be reckoned with.

With features like those listed above, it's perhaps little surprise that already the Model 3 is in hot demand, with Tesla expected to produce and sell as many as 380,000 units in 2020 according to The Motley Fool. However, it's possible that such a prediction vastly underestimates the level of demand for the affordable EV, with The Verge reporting that, as of April 2, 276,000 pre-orders had been made, more than doubling the company's own expectations.

Should your organisation be considering greater investment in green cars in the coming years, perhaps getting in line for the Model 3 now is a smart strategy.

Is Australia ready for the Model 3?

While Tesla's promise of a 345 km range goes some way to assuaging the concerns of skeptics about the potential for EVs, without supporting infrastructure the potential for drivers to be stranded when their car runs out of juice remains high. In anticipation of EVs, governments across the nation have begun installing charge points in a number of locations to build the network.

In Western Australia, the Department of Transport has been conducting a trial using converted Ford Focus EVs, collecting data from charge points for analysis to better understand the use of the new technology, and help in a future rollout of the charging network. 

Has the green car revolution finally started?Has the green car revolution finally started?

Meanwhile, in Queensland in July 2015, the Palaszczuk Government announced Townsville would be the first stop for new a solar-powered charging station initiative planned for the state. Coralee O'Rourke, Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland, made the announcement and spoke of the government's commitment to supporting the innovative industry.

"This is a really exciting initiative for Townsville - and could pave the way for a new era in Australia's motoring history," she said. 

"Our vision is for this to be the start of an 'electric super highway' by facilitating fast-charging service locations for drivers travelling up and down the length of Queensland."

While getting to the point where an EV charging station is as easy to find as a conventional petrol station is likely some way off, moves by governments around the nation to prepare for the new vehicles are a promising sign.

The reduction in fuel consumption makes green cars incredibly exciting.

EVs for fleet managers

As mentioned above, the reduction in fuel consumption alone should make the potential of green cars incredibly exciting for Australian fleet managers. That said, any new technology such as that being developed by Tesla brings with it some concerns you may not have thought of. 

Finding new sources for your regular fleet maintenance could present its own challenges, which is why having an efficient management system in place will perhaps become more vital than ever before. 

With Smartfleet's comprehensive software offering, customised reporting offers in-depth intelligence regarding the performance of your fleet, while the outsourced service and maintenance network gives access to discounted parts and labour should they be required. 

As Tesla have proven with their Model 3, the automotive industry is in for a significant shake-up in the coming years. Make sure your organisation is prepared - speak to Smartfleet today.