Tesla Model 3 reservations rise to 325,000 after one week

Getting more than a quarter of a million people to put down $1,000 apiece for a car they won't get for another two years is a remarkable feat.

Justin Pritchard/AP/File
Tesla Motors unveils the new lower-priced Model 3 sedan at the Tesla Motors design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. It doesn't go on sale until late 2017, but in the first 24 hours that order banks were open, Tesla said it had more than 115,000 reservations. Long lines at Tesla stores, reminiscent of the crowds at Apple stores for early models of the iPhone, were reported from Hong Kong to Austin, Texas, to Washington, D.C. Buyers put down a $1,000 deposit to reserve the car.

Getting more than a quarter of a million people around the world to put down $1,000 apiece for a car they won't get for another two years is a remarkable feat.

When Elon Musk took the wraps off the Tesla Model 3 last Thursday evening, a screen on stage showed more than 100,000 deposits.

But by the end of Saturday, the global total had reached 276,000, according to a tweet by the Tesla Motors CEO.

Now we know the number of total reservations received in the week since lines of up to several hundred people formed outside Tesla Stores last Thursday morning to register for the Model 3.

That number, Tesla Motors tweeted, is 325,000.

If anything, the outsize response puts more pressure on Tesla to meet its announced production start date of late 2017 for the Model 3.

Musk has promised the company will release more details about the Model 3 later on.

Right now, we know what the prototype vehicle looks like, that it will have 215 miles of range, and that at least one version will cost $35,000 before incentives.

It's a fastback four-door sedan with a trunk, not a five-door hatchback like the Model S—although that car is often referred to as a sedan as well.

The Model 3 prototype interior, with its large central touchscreen display and no instrument binnacle behind the steering wheel, may or may not resemble that of the final production car.

And Tesla hasn't released any details of the battery options, powertrain specifications, or performance ratings, though plenty of online speculation exists for suggested configurations.

As laid out years ago in the published "Top Secret Master Plan," the Model 3 is the third generation of Tesla cars, after the Roadster and the Model S/Model X pair.

It's meant to be the car that takes Tesla into true mass production of hundreds of thousands of cars a year.

Last year, Tesla delivered just over 50,000 vehicles globally; it has said it expects to be selling 500,000 cars a year by 2020.

To get there, it not only had to create a battery-electric car with 200-plus miles of range that could start at $35,000, it also had to build the Gigafactory cell-fabrication and battery assembly plant outside Reno, Nevada.

That factory is now assembling battery packs, but it's not currently fabricating lithium-ion cells for those packs.

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