Tesla has unveiled its much-anticipated Model 3 electric car – its lowest-cost vehicle to date.
The price and range of the five-seater should make the vehicle appeal to new types of customers and could boost interest in other electric vehicles.
Chief executive Elon Musk said his goal was to produce about 500,000 vehicles a year once production is at full speed.
Within a day of the launch, Mr Musk tweeted that 180,000 vehicles had been pre-ordered.
He added that, if the average price tag ended up at $42,000 (£29,500), this would equate to $7.5bn in one day.
The California-based company needs the vehicle to prove popular if it is to stay in business, though pre-orders of the Model 3 will not necessarily all translate to actual sales when the car is released.
The first deliveries of the vehicle are scheduled to start in late 2017, and it can be ordered in advance in dozens of countries, including the UK, Ireland, Brazil, India, China and New Zealand.
The basic model will start at $35,000 (£24,423) and have a range of at least 215 miles (346km) per charge.
Tesla delivered 50,580 vehicles last year. Most of those were its Model S saloon,which overtook Nissan’s Leaf to become the world’s best selling pure-electric vehicle.
Here’s what we know so far:
- Deliveries will begin at the end of next year, and start at $35,000 for the base model.
- Base model will do 0-60 in under 6 seconds, with versions that go “much, much faster” to be announced later.
- Base model will get at least 215 miles per charge, and Elon said that “these are minimum numbers, we hope to exceed them”.
- Base model is rear wheel drive; dual motor versions are planned.
- All Model 3s will have autopilot hardware built-in — it’s not an additional upgrade.
- Like the Model S, it will have front and rear trunks.
- All Model 3s will come with supercharging support standard.
- The roof area is “one continuous pane of glass”.
- It has a 15-inch horizontal (widescreen) monitor in the dash, as opposed to the 17-inch portrait (vertical) monitor in the Model S and Model X.
- Much of the instrument panel — things like the speedometer — have been moved to the corner of that center dash display, as opposed to the Model S, where it’s on a separate screen behind the steering wheel. That behind-wheel screen, at least in this prototype, is gone.