Elon Musk: Tesla to accept orders on new car

February 12 00:28 2016

Tesla Motors will begin accepting reservations on its mass-market electric vehicle in March, even though analysts say anyone who pre-orders the vehicle will have to wait at least two years to get it. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter early Thursday that pre-orders of the Model 3 would start in stores March 31 and online April 1.elon-musk-tesla

The company has said the car would become available in late 2017 though analysts from Barclays and Morgan Stanley say mid- to late- 2018 is more realistic. The car has long been viewed as the defining product for Tesla — a turning point that will prove whether the company can design, engineer, manufacture and sell a mass-market, comparably affordable electric vehicle.

Unlike the company’s Model S sedan and Model X crossover, luxury vehicles that can cost more than $100,000 when fully equipped, the Model 3 will start at about $35,000 before tax rebates, Musk has said. Though it would be one of the only vehicles of its kind on the market, the auto industry is buzzing after General Motors recently confirmed that it would beat Tesla to the market for an affordable electric car by at least a year. GM said its Chevrolet Bolt, which will start at $30,000 after rebates and get 200 miles on a charge, will start production in late 2016.

Tesla is expected to preview the Model 3 in an event March 31, though it’s not clear whether the company will reveal the entire vehicle. Anyone who pre-orders must place a $1,000 deposit, Musk said on Twitter. The news comes after Tesla on Wednesday reported a wider fourth-quarter loss than analysts expected. But after losing 38% of their value so far on the year —closing at $143.67 on Wednesday — Tesla shares jumped in after-hours trading as investors were heartened when Musk assured them that Model X production is on track.