Tesla’s sneak preview of its newest model got a response that was – electric!
The Silicon Valley based carmaker’s shares jumped – again – after the prototypes was unveiled for an enthusiastic crowd of hundreds of would-be owners.
The company’s boss Elon Musk said the Model 3 was “the final step” in his “master plan, which is a mass market, affordable car”.
It is certainly critical to his growth plans which include selling 500,000 vehicles a year by 2020.
The concern among fans at the preview was that the car doesn’t hit the road until the end of 2017.
Regina Reyes was one of those: “Our patience here is being tested, but because of my passion to have one, it’s energy saving, so that’s why I’m here. I think this is the car of the future.”
Bill Putman, another enthusiastic prospective purchaser, said: “What we know about Tesla and all, what he’s done in the past with the S and the X, we’re pretty confident that we’re going to end up with a pretty good car when we get our hands on it.”
Before and after the preview more that 180,000 people put down a refundable $1,000 deposit to pre-order the Model 3. The four-door compact car will cost $35,000 in the United States.
But it will face stiff competition from new offering by General Motors with its latest Chevy Bolt and from Nissan which is updating the Leaf. Both will have extended range to near enough match the Tesla Model 3’s 215 miles (346 kilometres) and sell for similar amounts in the US.
And all this as sales of all-electric and hybrid vehicles are down, along with oil and fuel prices. Sales slipped nearly nine percent in the first two months of this year, compared to the same period in 2015 according to the trade group the Electric Drive Transportation Association.