Tesla has received more than 276,000 orders for its new lower-priced vehicle in just 48 hours, surprising even the company’s CEO Elon Musk.
“Definitely going to need to rethink production planning,” Musk tweeted Friday, before even reaching the 200,000 mark.
According to Musk, the Model 3 – which isn’t expected to go into production until the end of 2017 – will sell for an average of US$42,000 with upgrades and additional features, despite a base price of US$35,000.
That means pre-orders of the Model 3 have already reached an estimated US$11.6 billion – although customers only needed to put down $1,000 to reserve their spot in the production line.
With such a low price tag — before federal and state government incentives — the Model 3 is less than half the cost of Tesla’s previous models. The car will go at least 215 miles (345 kilometres) when fully charged, about double what drivers get from current competitors in its price range, such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.
The Model 3 has a panoramic glass roof and an elongated hood, seats five adults and has the same large touchscreen dashboard as other Tesla models. It also has Tesla’s suite of semi-autonomous driving features, including automatic lane changing and lane keeping. Not to mention it will accelerate from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in less than six seconds.
WATCH: Tesla hopes strong Model 3 orders are a sign of what’s to come
Orders remain open for the Model 3 on Tesla’s website and Musk urged prospective customers to put their orders in to ensure faster delivery of their vehicle.
“A Model 3 order gives you priority in your geography, so, even though total count is high, ordering early will make a big difference locally,” Musk said on Twitter.
Analysts have, however, cast doubt the company will be able to fill all of the initial Model 3 orders. According to Reuters, some estimate the initial 250,000 orders could take until 2020 to produce.
The company already has a reputation for coming up short on production promises. In November 2014, Tesla delayed production of its Model X crossover, which was originally slated for release in early 2014. Tesla didn’t start deliveries of the vehicle until late 2015.
But strong Model 3 orders show there’s real, underlying demand for reasonably priced electric cars with high range, according to Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. Customers put down $1,000 knowing that they’ll probably have to wait two years to get their cars, leading Caldwell to believe it’s more about the cultural phenomenon of Tesla.
“You’re not seeing people wait in long lines to purchase a Chevy Bolt, considering it comes out much sooner and the range is about the same,” she said.
– With files from The Associated Press