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July 4, 2017

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Tesla races to meet hot demand for new model

ELECTRIC car maker Tesla says its keenly awaited Model 3 car for the masses will go on sale on Friday.

CEO Elon Musk made the announcement yesterday on Twitter.

The car is to start around US$35,000 and with a US$7,500 federal electric car tax credit, could cost US$27,500. Tesla says the five-seat car will be able to go 133 kilometers on a single charge and will be sporty, accelerating from zero to 100 kilometers an hour in under six seconds.

Musk had said that production was on track to start in July, but Tesla has often faced delays in getting vehicles to market. The Palo Alto, California-based company aims to make 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of this year and 10,000 a week in 2018.

Tesla hasn’t said how many people have put down US$1,000 refundable deposits, but Musk has said people who put down a deposit now won’t get a car until the end of 2018, suggesting it could be close to 500,000.

Whether Tesla can meet its production goals is an open question. Its last new vehicle, the Model X SUV, was delayed nearly 18 months. Musk says the Model 3 is much simpler to make, but 14-year-old Tesla has no experience producing and selling vehicles in high volumes. Tesla made just 84,000 cars last year. Bigger rivals General Motors, Volkswagen and Toyota sell about 10 million vehicles a year.

Even if the Model 3 is on time, servicing all those vehicles will be challenging. Model S and Model X owners worrt about sharing Tesla’s charging stations with an influx of new cars.


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