Tesla turns over the keys for first 30 Model 3s

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Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk on Friday (Saturday, Australian time) unveiled the full specifications and pricing of the new Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle, revealing that the base model will have a range of 354km, while a pricier version would have a range of almost 500kms.

Tesla Model 3 is a major step for the California-based company, and will be priced around 35,000 US dollars each.

The first cars went to excited Tesla employees, who will be reporting back to Musk on the car's performance.

Despite the slimmed-down feature set, the Model 3 still has Tesla's distinct stylings. She could get an all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, which is the same price as the Model 3 and has more range. "A troubled Model 3 launch could heighten the risks for the company, while a steady delivery of Model 3s could generate a stream of cash that would allow Tesla to avoid going again to the capital markets to fund its operations".

The costs contrast with that of previous Tesla models, the Roadster, Model S and Model X, which hovered around the $100,000 mark or more.

Along with the increase in Model 3 cars, Tesla will also increase the 10,000 supercharging stations by the end of 2017 and up those to 15,000 by the end of 2019 from the current 6,000. The standard battery on the base model, which Tesla said will come this fall, will have a range of 220 miles.

Limits on the $7,500 USA tax credit for electric cars could also hurt demand.

Musk starred in a delivery ceremony at the plant, driving onto an outdoor stage in a red Model 3. No, the Model 3 doesn't require any kind of "key" or physical object other than your smartphone. Yet one can not simply ignore the care which goes into the car's overall presentation - consisting of user experience, the interface, interiors, and the overall design.

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"We're trying to have as close to a single configuration as possible as we boot up the production line", said Musk.

All the sensors needed for Tesla's Autopilot system, which can steer a auto on freeways and change lanes, will be included in each Model 3, although activating the system comes at a one-time cost of $5,000.

"The major challenge we faced with the Model 3 is not really the product", Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted in a pre-event briefing to press, qualifying that they nonetheless spent a lot of time getting design right. Tesla will later offer a long-range version of the vehicle that has a higher top speed and a battery range of 500 kilometres.

As expected, the retail price for the standard Model 3 will be $35,000. These options haven't yet been confirmed by the company and we'll likely have to wait until Tesla actually releases its order sheets before knowing exactly what sorts of bells and whistles the Model 3s will offer.

FEATURES: The Model 3 has some surprises.

Munster estimates that Tesla can reach profitability by 2012 and that 2023 will be "a breakout year for the company" with some 1.6 million vehicles produced.

Potential customers could lose faith if Tesla doesn't meet its aggressive production schedule, or if the cars have quality problems that strain Tesla's small service network.

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