Elon Musk hands over first Tesla Model 3 electric cars to buyers

Electric car maker Tesla has rolled out its new Model 3 vehicle - the company's cheapest car to date

30 July 2017, 5:35pm
Tesla unveiled a new Model 3 trim in front of a crowded audience at the company's Fremont factory
Tesla unveiled a new Model 3 trim in front of a crowded audience at the company's Fremont factory
Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Friday the Model 3 had over half a million advance reservations as he handed over the first 30 to employee buyers, setting the stage for the biggest test yet of the company's strategy to become a profitable, mass market electric car maker.

Musk said the Model 3 was the "best car for its cost, either electric or gasoline".

Outside Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, Musk showed off the $35,000 (€29,782) Model 3 which has a range of 350 km on a charge that marks a departure from the company’s earlier luxury electric cars

The price is still higher than that of rival electric car the Nissan Leaf, which starts at $30,680, or the hybrid Chevrolet Volt, which goes for $34,095.

Past Tesla models, the "S" and "X", had a starting price of $80,000, putting them beyond the means of many.

A longer-range version of the car is priced at $44,000 (€37,440) and will drive 500 km on a single charge. The cars feature a streamlined dashboard devoid of buttons or knobs, with a 15-inch touchstream display to the right of the driver.

The company aims to produce 5,000 units of the Model 3 a week in 2017 – nearly six times its 2016 production – and 10,000 a week by 2018. Buyers ordering now are being told to expect delivery late next year.

If Tesla can successfully produce and sell that many cars a year, it will outperform BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus in the US.

The more affordable Model 3 is a significant step for the firm, whose market value hit $49 billon (€41.7 billion) in April.