Despite many raised eyebrows regarding its original projected launch timing of “late 2017,” the first production-spec Tesla Model 3 rolled off of the assembly line in Fremont, California, on Friday. Tesla boss Elon Musk posted images of the third and most affordable Tesla variant on his Twitter account, indicating the first 30 customer cars will be presented to their respective owners at a handover party on July 28th. Car one will be given to Musk himself as a 46th birthday present from Ira Ehrenpreis, a Tesla board member who originally had the rights to buy the first production Model 3.

Also: Get your first look at the new and redesigned cars of 2018

Musk anticipates a fairly quick build ramp-up for the Model 3, which will start around $35,000 before any federal, state or local incentives. He’s projecting 100 cars will be completed in August and over 1,500 in September with output ultimately reaching a 20,000 per month in December. First shown to the public in April 2016, the Model 3 generated some 300,000 preorders secured by a $1,000 deposit. That number has now grown closer to 400,000, a figure the firm says likely will take until mid-2018 to fulfill.

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With seating for five, the new Tesla Model 3 will feature a 215-mile per-charge range and will be able to sprint from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. The initial production run will be rear-drive-only but a dual-motor all-wheel drive version is in the pipeline. To simplify startup, Tesla will limit availability to two wheel sizes and two colors on early models.

More EVs and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles:

2018 Honda Accord Clarity EV: Smooth operator, with asterisks

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Limited Quick Take

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf First Review


 

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