Tesla Says It Already Has Reservations For 115,000 $35K Model 3 Electric Vehicles

It’s been nearly two years since Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed the development of the Model 3, the high-end electric vehicle maker’s first venture into more affordable automobiles. Aside from that price point and claims about being able to get around 200 miles to a single charge, not much else has been disclosed until tonight’s long-awaited press/sales event.

In front of an adoring crowd in California on Thursday night, Musk finally pulled the covers of the Model 3, confirming the $35,000 base price, and saying the vehicle will have at least an EPA-rated 215 miles on a full charge.

“These are minimum numbers,” said the CEO. “We hope to exceed them.”

The company began allowing customers to register for the Model 3 last night. Putting your name on the list for the car will set you back $1,000 but Musk claims that more than 115,000 people have already signed up to get theirs, whenever it’s released.

So when will that be?

That’s a good question. At first, Musk confidently stated that customers will be able to take delivery next year, only to then hesitate and — with a nervous titter — clarify that “I do feel fairly confident that it will be next year.”

In terms of features, Musk says that the goal isn’t to make a car that averages 5 stars across the various automotive safety categories, but which earns a 5-star rating in each category. Additionally, Tesla’s “Autopilot” software — which warns against things like side collisions and assists with with parallel parking and lane-changing — will be standard on all Model 3s.

Tesla also says the Model 3 will be a speedster, with the base version accelerating from 0-60 mph in fewer than six seconds, and higher-performance editions that can go faster.

“At Tesla, we don’t make slow cars,” boasted Musk.

The Model 3 will seat five adults. Since there is no large combustion engine eating up space under the hood, Tesla was able to compress the dashboard and give more legroom to the front seats. Musk also claims that the rear window design — a large pane of glass that extends over the passengers’ heads — makes backseat driving a more tolerable experience.

Like the Model S, the Model 3 will have both front and rear trunks. Musk says that the new vehicle will have more cargo capacity than any gas-powered car of the same size.

“Can you fit a 7-foot-long surfboard on the inside?” asked the CEO to himself. “Yes you can.”

All Model 3 versions will also be Supercharger compatible, meaning they will be able to power up quickly at one of the company’s hundreds of branded charging stations. There are currently more than 3,600 of these Superchargers worldwide, with the plan to double that number by the end of 2017.

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