Orders for Lower-Priced Tesla Hit 198.000

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 2:38 AM

"Definitely going to necessity to rethink production planning," a surprised CEO Elon Musk said on his Twitter feed. Musk unveiled the car Thursday night at a design studio close Los Angeles.

Demand for Tesla Motors' new lower-priced electric car surprised even the company'south CEO Friday as 198.000 people plunked down $one.000 deposits to reserve their vehicles.

"Definitely going to necessity to rethink production planning," a surprised CEO Elon Musk said on his Twitter feed.

Musk unveiled the car Thursday night at a design studio close Los Angeles. It starts at $35.000 and has a range of two hundred fifteen miles per charge, which is distant more than most people drive each day.

The orders came from across the globe even though the car isn't scheduled for sale until late in two thousand-seventeenth. But they could jeopardize a $7.500 U. S. electric car tax credit that many buyers are counting on to reduce the price. The tax credits gradually phase out after a company hits 200.000 in U. S. sales.

A Tesla spokeswoman wouldn't declare how many of the 198.000 orders came from the U. S.

Thursday night, Musk said Tesla had 115.000 orders since the company started taking them earlier in the day in Australia. There were long lines at Tesla stores from Hong Kong to Austin, Texas, reminiscent of crowds at Apple stores for early models of the iPhone. But the no kept rising into Friday.

"Thought it'd unhurried way down today, but Model three order count is presently at 198k," Musk tweeted during the afternoon, saying the wait time for the car is "growing rapidly."

The news pushed Tesla shares to a Friday closing price of $237.59, up three.4 % from Thursday.

The Model three is less than half the cost of Tesla'south previous models, and its range is about double what drivers obtain from current competitors in its price range, such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

On Twitter, Musk estimated that the average selling price of a Model three with options would be around $42.000. So the sales would bring more than $8.three billion in income to Tesla.

Prototypes looked love a shorter version of Tesla'south Model south sedan. The Model three has a panoramic glass roof and an elongated hood. Inside, it seats five and has the same large touchscreen dashboard as other Teslas. It also has Tesla'south suite of semi-autonomous driving features, including automatic lane changing and lane keeping. Musk said it'll speed up from zero to sixty in less than six seconds.

Tesla has a history of lost deadlines for its vehicles to hit the market, but Musk said Thursday that he feels "fairly confident" that the Model 3 will arrive out next year.

The lower-priced car is the most serious test yet of 13-year-old Tesla'south skill to go from niche player to a full-fledged automaker. It could be the car that finally makes electrics mainstream — or consumers could continue to be doubtful that electrics will work for everyday use. In the U. S., they still create up less than 1 % of annual sales. Either way, the Model 3 is already changing the industry, spurring competitors to speed development of electric cars.

Common Motors Co. is set to start selling the Chevrolet Bolt electric car at the finish of this year with a similar price tag and a 200-mile range. Hyundai'south Ioniq, which has a 110-mile electric range and could match Tesla on price, goes on sale this fall. Audi will chase with an electric SUV in 2018.

The orders indicate there'south real, underlying demand for reasonably priced electric cars with high range, says Edmunds. com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. Customers keep down $1.000 knowing that they'll probably have to wait two years to obtain their cars, leading Caldwell to believe it'south more about the cultural phenomenon of Tesla.

"You're not seeing people wait in long lines to purchase a Chevy Bolt, considering it comes out much sooner and the range is about the same," she said.

During his Thursday night presentation, Musk gave details on how electric cars can fit into people'south lives, she said. "You felt love the lifestyle was attainable in his talk," she said.

———

Durbin reported from Detroit, where Auto Writer Tom Krisher contributed.

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