Tesla electric car
Tesla Model S sedan at the Detroit Auto Show. Camera: Samsung WB30F.

Tesla Motors has outsold Mercedes-Benz — one of the oldest and largest luxury automakers in the world. Tesla sold 69,925 cars in the United States in Q3 2018, while Mercedes-Benz sold 66,542. Most of that success is attributable to the Tesla Model 3 – of which 55,840 were sold (breaking the Model 3’s own sales record).

The Tesla Model 3 is Tesla Motors’ entry into the automotive mass-market (the higher-end of the mass market, as they still aren’t cheap cars). The average selling price for Tesla Model 3’s is $59,300, which is significantly cheaper than the Model S cars being sold.

The Model 3’s lower price isn’t the only reason that it has enjoyed a leap in sales. It’s also the bang for buck it offers relative to previous electric cars. It can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds (this is awfully quick). A decade ago, none of the production electric cars were that fast. It can also travel up to 310 miles per charge, if driving conditions permit it.

Considering Tesla’s rapid penetration of the automobile industry, imagine what the 2020 Roadster will do with its 0-60 MPH acceleration time of 1.9 seconds! It will be competing at the very top with the likes of Bugatti, Ferrari, and Lamborghini (all of which don’t accelerate as fast, at least not for now).

However, the Model 3 is far more exciting than the Model S and Roadster could ever be due to their impact, as economy and mid-range cars dominate the automobile market. If Tesla starts making ~$20,000 electric cars (in addition to the more expensive Model 3), that could have a spectacular impact on the automotive industry and drive automakers to improve their own electric cars and cut prices.