Elon Musk: Tesla Will Be Taking Orders For The Cheaper Model 3 By March

(Courtesy of Consumer Reports)

(Courtesy of Consumer Reports)

Have a hankering for a Tesla electric car but don’t have anywhere in the neighborhood of $127,000? If you don’t need insanity mode or the other high-priced options included in the Model S P85D or even the regular Model S at around $69,000, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he’s got a deal for you — well, in March, that is, when the company starts taking preorders for its cheaper Model 3 car.

As he often does with company news, Musk made the Model 3 announcement on Twitter, saying the Model 3, a smaller and lower-cost sedan at $35,000, will be available for preorders in March. It’ll be a while before customers can get their hands on the steering wheel however, as Tesla still needs to finish its $5 billion Gigafactory outside of Reno to make a cheaper lithium-ion battery to put into the vehicles.

This isn’t a huge surprise, as Musk told Tesla shareholders [PDF] in a second-quarter letter in August that the company was planning to reveal the Model 3 design in early 2016, with deliveries following by late 2017.

We’ve also known the $35,000 price tag and name since July 2014: originally, Musk had plans to call its $35,000 car the Model E, but that idea was scrapped after Ford got involved.

“We had the model S for sedan and X for crossover SUV, then a friend asked what we were going to call the third car,” Musk said in an interview last summer when revealing the price. “So I said we had the model S and X, we might as well have the E… We were going to call it model E for a while and then Ford sued us saying it wanted to use the Model E – I thought this is crazy, Ford’s trying to kill sex!”

Musk also dropped some more news on customers and the general public yesterday, revealing for the first time that deliveries of the Model X sports utility vehicles will begin Sept. 29.