When Tesla revealed the latest addition to its electric vehicle lineup, the Model 3, last week in Hawthorne, California, it did so with a swagger that many found reminiscent of Apple in its heyday. Priced at $35,000 for the base model, the Model 3 delivers at least 215 miles of range and will go from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds. It comes equipped with Tesla’s autopilot hardware, a 15-inch touchscreen and supposedly fits five adults “comfortably”.
The company’s CEO Elon Musk boldly claimed that customers would “not be able to buy a better car for $35,000“ and apparently, many people believed him: As of late Saturday, Tesla had received 276,000 pre-orders, all involving a $1,000 deposit required from future customers. Considering that Tesla delivered a grand total of 107,000 cars to customers in the past four years combined, the decision to add a more “affordable” model to its lineup appears to have already payed off.
The question that remains is how quickly Tesla can meet the unexpectedly high demand for the Model 3. Deliveries are expected to start in late 2017 at the earliest and Tesla has yet to prove it can ramp up production at this scale.