TESLA boss Elon Musk says worldwide pre-orders for the company’s newly announced Model 3 electric car have run into the hundreds of thousands, writes Nigel Wigmore.
Tesla’s new Model 3 starts at $35,000 (£24,300) and has a range of 215 miles per charge.
Customers must put down $1,000 (£695) to reserve one of the cars, which go on sale in late 2017. Customers are free to change their minds, however — the money down is refundable.
The company based in Palo Alto, California, started taking orders recently before Musk unveiled the new car.
Musk added that Tesla is focusing on ramping up production and eventually will need to build a factory in Europe to satisfy demand.
He said the car will be rear-wheel-drive with optional all-wheel-drive, and its steering controls will feel like a spaceship.
But the large number of orders makes it likely that many buyers won’t get a $7,500 (£5,200) US tax credit for buying an electric car.
The credit phases out when a manufacturer hits 200,000 in US sales.
Tesla won’t say how many of the orders originate in America, but Musk said in tweets that a production ramp-up should let large numbers of Model 3 customers get the tax credit.
The Model 3 is less than half the cost of Tesla’s previous models, and its range is about double what drivers get from current competitors in its price range, such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.