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Tesla Model 3
Tesla Motors’ Model 3 electric car is due to go into production in later this year. (Tesla Photo)

Tesla said it delivered more than 25,000 cars in the first quarter of the year, a record for the company and an increase of 69 percent over this time last year.

Of those deliveries, which include only cars with completed paperwork that have been received by buyers, approximately 13,450 were the more than $70,000 Model S and another 11,550 were the more than $80,000 Model X. Tesla said another 4,650 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter and did not factor into the first quarter numbers.

Tesla also reported record production, as it completed 25,418 vehicles in the first quarter. Tesla has ambitious production goals well beyond this record quarter. The company has said it wants to produce 500,000 cars in 2018.

Tesla stock is up more than 5 percent on the news of record production and deliveries. Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent out a cryptic tweet that appeared to paint today’s gains as bad news for people looking to short the company’s stock.

The good news comes as Tesla’s more affordable electric car, the Model 3, is getting closer to reality. A clip showing a black release candidate version of the Model 3 zipping down the street popped up last month on Musk’s Twitter and Instagram feeds, and quickly picked up tens of thousands of views, plus thousands of shares:

Tesla is counting on the Model 3 to bring electric cars to the masses: It’s thought that well more than 400,000 would-be customers have plunked down $1,000 deposits for the car, which carries a base price of $35,000. Musk’s tweet signals that test building has already begun, and suggests Tesla could hit its anticipated July time frame for the start of production.

As noted by Recode, the news of Tesla’s record production pushed its market cap past fellow auto giant Ford. But Tesla is losing money, as it continues to grow, and its revenues are still far from matching other carmakers like Ford.

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