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Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3’s design is still in flux, Elon Musk says. (Credit: Tesla Motors)

In the week since Tesla Motors unveiled its Model 3 electric car at the not-so-ludicrous price of $35,000, would-be owners have put in orders for more than 325,000 cars, company CEO Elon Musk reported today.

Even Musk admitted that the response was two to four times higher than he expected it to be. “No one at Tesla thought it would be this high,” he said in a tweet.

In a blog post, Tesla Motors noted that the reservations could translate into $14 billion in sales. (That’s based on the assumption that the average option package would bring the per-car cost to $43,000.)

When Model 3 production ramps up, starting in late 2017, Musk is aiming to turn out as many as 500,000 cars a year. But hitting that mark could pose a challenge.

Last year, Tesla delivered just 50,000 electric cars – and this week, the company admitted that it fell short of its goal for delivering Model X SUVs partly due to its own “hubris in adding far too much technology.”

Musk hasn’t shown all that much fate-tempting hubris this time around, but he has made it clear that the Model 3 is still a work in progress. In an extended series of tweets, Musk said the car’s design elements were still in flux. For example, will a bike fit inside the car?

The Model 3’s trunk lid was the subject of a lot of querulous tweets:

The car’s nose could look different as well:

Some fans even had suggestions:

Musk acknowledged that the steering wheel and the instrument panel will look different from what was shown a week ago:

Here are a few more nuggets gleaned from the tweetstream:

  • The Model 3’s back seats will fold down flat. “Will be great for road trips and camping,” Musk said.
  • Buying a Tesla Model S can bump you up on the priority list for Model 3 delivery as well.
  • There’ll be a “vegan,” non-leather option for the interior of the Model 3.
  • The geographical distribution of orders will be a factor in deciding where Tesla puts its future fast-charging stations, known as Superchargers.

Bottom line: It’s not too late to make suggestions …

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