Tesla just delivered the first round of Model 3s

Tesla just delivered the first round of Model 3s

At a launch event organised at Tesla's factory in Fremont, California, 30 lucky Tesla employees got to collect the first Model 3 vehicles. "I'm confident it'll be the best vehicle in its class, gasoline or not, hands down", Musk said. Additional features could push the price up to US$60,000, and that's before taxes and other fees.

And after Tesla's start as a niche purveyor of small-batch cars, the Model 3 will play a central role in Tesla expansion into true mass production.

In fact, Tesla actually made all of its technology open source in 2014, so that other auto companies can use its tech to build their own electric vehicles.

Outside Tesla's Fremont, California factory, Musk showed off the $35,000 base vehicle, whose battery is created to keep it going for 350 kilometers, on a charge that marks a departure from the company's earlier luxury electric cars.

He also noted that: "It was never our goal just to make expensive cars".

"The interior is nothing like any other vehicle out there", said Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla's chief designer. One of the best Model 3 estimators online is Troy's Model 3 Estimator, created by Redditor Teslike (TeslaMotorsClub member Troy.) You can access the estimator, which is a Google Doc, here.

Musk runs solar energy firm SolarCity, and is building rechargeable batteries to power homes as well as cars.

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Still, Musk said he's expecting "at least six months of manufacturing hell" as the Model 3 ramps up to full production.

This undated image provided by Tesla Motors shows the Tesla Model 3 sedan. The Long Range version hits 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds and tops out at 140 miles per hour.

Rebates in a handful of states could lower the price of a Model 3 for eligible customers.

The base model, with 220 mile range (354kms), and 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds, wills ell for $US35,000, while the model with a 310 mile range (498kms) and 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds, will retail for $US44,000 - reflecting the bigger battery. In 2006 - three years after the company was founded - CEO Elon Musk said Tesla would eventually build "affordably priced family cars" after establishing itself with high-end vehicles like the Model S, which starts at $69,500. That production rate will ramp up very quickly, if all goes according to plan, as Tesla wants to have produced 20,000 Model 3s by the end of the year. These options haven't yet been confirmed by the company and we'll likely have to wait until Tesla actually releases its order sheets before knowing exactly what sorts of bells and whistles the Model 3s will offer.

His Boring Company is part of a vision for near-supersonic rail travel through low-pressure tubes that he laid out in a Hyperloop white paper he made open to other entrepreneurs.

FEATURES: The Model 3 has some surprises.

Potential customers could lose faith if Tesla doesn't meet its aggressive production schedule, or if the cars have quality problems that strain Tesla's small service network.

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