Tesla’s amazing story:  ascendancy of electric cars

Tesla’s Model 3 Already Has 325,000 Preorders

DETROIT — Orders keep rolling in for the forthcoming Model 3 fromTesla Motors, which said on Thursday that it had received $1,000 deposits for more than 325,000 of its newest electric cars.

The extraordinary response to the vehicle, which will not even be built until late next year, underscored the demand among consumers for a mass-market electric car that carries Tesla’s luxury-brand cachet.

Tesla said in a blog post that the number of reservations corresponded to about $14 billion in future sales, and was a milestone in the company’s growth.

“This has been a true grass-roots effort driven by the passion of the Tesla team that’s worked so hard to this point, and our current and future customers who believe so strongly in what we are trying to achieve,” the company said.

Industry analysts and executives have been stunned so far by the reaction to the new Tesla, which was unveiled last week by the company’s chief executive, Elon Musk.

With a price of $35,000 and a battery range extending 215 miles on a single charge, the car has drawn unusually strong interest for any type of new vehicle — electrified or not.

“We are not aware of any precedent of this level of order interest for any other car,” Adam Jonas, a Morgan Stanley analyst, wrote in a research note.

By contrast, sales of current electric cars and hybrid models, which are powered by both gasoline engines and batteries, have languished in recent months as American consumers have taken advantage of low gas prices to buy larger vehicles like pickups and sport utility vehicles.

But the introduction of the new Tesla has shattered expectations for the so-called electrified segment of vehicles.

“Despite its many accomplishments, Tesla had not yet truly disrupted the auto industry,” Mr. Jonas wrote. “We are now getting the feeling that this may be starting to change.”

The cash generated by Model 3 deposits should help Tesla as it expands its manufacturing operations in California.

Last year, the company delivered only about 50,000 of its existing, higher-priced Model S and Model X electric vehicles. But Mr. Musk expressed confidence that the company would be able to increase its overall production next year to include the Model 3.

All customer reservations for the new vehicle are refundable until it goes into actual production.

Other automakers have said the interest in Tesla’s first mass-market model is a good sign for the entire industry, which has been investing heavily in zero-emission and ultra-fuel-efficient vehicles.

General Motors, for example, is hopeful that some potential electric-car buyers will opt to purchase the company’s Chevrolet Bolt, another long-range electric car, when it becomes available later this year, rather than wait for a Tesla.

“The big advantage we have is production timing,” said Patrick Morrissey, a G.M. spokesman. “We are way out in front of Tesla by at least a year.”


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