Tesla's Model 3 now has 325,000 pre-orders - and $US14.5bn in potential sales

Tesla said it will have to rethink its production plans

Just a week after announcing its Model 3 all-electric vehicle, Tesla has received more than 325,000 pre-orders from potential customers, each of whom handed over $US1000 to reserve a car.

In all, Tesla has now raked in more than $US325 million in reservation money for the four-door sedan, which will have a starting price of $US35,000 and is expected to begin shipping at the end of 2017.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla CEO Elon Musk released this mock up of the Model 3 on Sunday via Twitter.

If all 325,000 orders stand (Tesla will refund customers who cancel their reservations), the carmaker would rake in roughly $US14.5 billion, it said in a blog post.

Model 3 tesla
Tesla Motors

The 325,000 orders make the Model 3 "the single biggest one-week launch of any product ever," Tesla boasted.

"This interest has spread completely organically," the company said. "Unlike other major product launches, we haven't advertised or paid for any endorsements. Instead, this has been a true grassroots effort driven by the passion of the Tesla team that's worked so hard to get to this point and our current and future customers who believe so strongly in what we are trying to achieve,."

Just three days after announcing the Model 3 last Thursday, Tesla said it had received 276,000 orders for the vehicle. In a blog post Sunday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the car's price will average $US42,000 with typical options.

The flood of pre-orders also led Musk to tweet that Tesla would need to "rethink production planning."

By comparison, there were 25,202 Tesla Model S sedans shipped last year. That car has a starting price of $US70,000.

Last year, the Toyota Camry was the best selling car in the U.S., with 429,355 vehicles sold. The Corolla was Toyota's best selling vehicle with 363,332 shipped; with 355,557 shipped, the Honda Accord was the next best selling car.

In anticipation of releasing its more affordable Model 3, last month Tesla admitted: "It is not possible to ship to all regions [of the world] simultaneously because regulators in each part of the world have slightly different production requirements."

"In order to be as fair as possible, there will be a different queue for each region," Tesla stated. "Staggering deliveries in this way also allows us to provide the best possible customer experience."

Tesla Model 3 Tesla

The Tesla Model 3

Earlier this week, Musk released more details about the Model 3, saying it will be rear-wheel drive with the option of a dual-motor, all-wheel drive system that costs less than the $US5000 that system costs today the Model S sedan.

"Even RWD will have great traction on ice due to fast torque response of Tesla drivetrain," Musk tweeted.

The rear seat of the car will fold down, allowing passengers to sleep on it.

The Model 3 can travel up to 215 miles on a single charge and go from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds. By comparison, the entry-level Mercedes C-class moves from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds.

During the impromptu Twitter Q&A on Sunday, Musk said that the final design for the car isn't set in stone and that the looks of the front end, the edges and overall contours are likely to see further refinement.

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Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)
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