It was one of the most hotly anticipated reveals on the automotive calendar, but even Elon Musk hadn't expected the Tesla Model 3 to be this quick out of the blocks. In the week since it was announced, more than 325,000 people have pre-ordered the electric sedan, amounting to more than US$14 billion in projected sales for a car that Tesla won't even start making until late next year.
Tesla's Model 3 has been a long time coming. As the company's fourth production car, it is aimed squarely at the mass market in an overt attempt to drive mainstream adoption of electric vehicles.
And the early indications are that people are very willing to partake in the electric vehicle revolution when the price is right. At a cost of US$35,000 for a base model, 180,000 people pledged their driving futures to Tesla's electric motors within 24 hours of the launch event, surpassing the total number of Teslas on the road in February at 107,000.
"Definitely going to need to rethink production planning," Musk tweeted following the event.
And the backlog only continued to swell from there, passing 325,000 reservations to become what Tesla is calling the "single biggest one-week launch of any product ever." The company is planning to begin production in late 2017, and where it will stop after that is anyone's guess.
Musk also confirmed that AWD will be available, but whether this affords dual motor Model 3s the same searing pace as the Model S P90D we tested last year remains to be seen.
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