Palo Alto, California – Tesla Motors has officially unveiled its long-awaited Model 3, a more-affordable version of the company’s all-electric car. With a starting price of $35,000 (before federal and state tax credits), the car is less than half the price of the company’s Model S.
But the wait isn’t really over for potential drivers. The car goes into production next year with delivery plans set for late 2017 or early 2018. Still, enthusiasm for the vehicle that gets 215 miles per charge and seats five has been strong. More than 200,000 people have put down $1,000 refundable deposits to reserve the cars, netting Tesla $200 million in revenue more than a year before sales begin [update: 276,000 deposits made through the opening weekend].
Potential buyers lined up at Tesla stores nationwide to place deposits, many putting their money down before seeing the car. Essentially a smaller version of the Model S, the Model 3 features a panoramic glass roof, touchscreen controls, and the company’s autopilot autonomous driving features.
With late 2017 deliveries slated, the Model 3 will hit the market nearly a year after General Motors’ Chevrolet Bolt, another five-seat all-electric car with a similar starting price. GM officials haven’t shared production plans, but the company plans to build the car at its Lake Orion plant near Detroit, a facility that already makes the Chevy Sonic and Buick Verano, so it hasn’t set aside the capacity to produce as many Bolts and Tesla can make Model 3s.
Tesla officials claim a 500,000-unit annual capacity at the company’s California plant, although the company’s annual sales have never cracked 100,000 units.
Source: Tesla Motors, General Motors