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Tesla fans are waiting in line to buy a car that they haven’t even seen yet

Customers wait in line for the chance to get on the waitlist for the Model 3 at a Tesla showroom in Pasadena, Calif. (Nick Ut/AP)

Would you put down a $1,000 deposit to buy something you haven’t even seen? For fans of Tesla Motors, the answer isn’t only yes, but also that they will happily camp out for hours to ensure a favorable position on the company’s waiting list.

On Wednesday, lines began to grow outside Tesla showrooms around the United States and Europe ahead of the electric carmaker’s unveiling of the Model 3, which is expected to cost $35,000. The lines — reminiscent of what Apple has previously drawn for product launches — speaks to the anticipation of Tesla’s most affordable vehicle yet. Tesla has long said its mission is to speed up the arrival of sustainable transportation; yet so far, its cars have been affordable only to the affluent, with price tags sometimes reaching over $100,000.

On social media, some observers reported lines of hundreds at locations ranging from Natick, Mass., to Austin and Stockholm. In Montreal, a line wrapped around a block, despite the rain.

“Incredibly inspired by the interest in Model 3,” Musk tweeted Thursday morning. “You won’t be disappointed. Also, small token of appreciation coming for those who lined up.”

Musk previously described Thursday night’s unveiling of the Model 3 as “Part 1.” He tweeted that “you will see the car very clearly, but some important elements will be added and some will evolve.” A lack of specifics — but for the expectation that it will have a range of 200 miles — about the Model 3, which is scheduled to go on sale at the end of 2017, isn’t discouraging those in line.

“I”m buying two of them, and I don’t know what they look like,” a man waiting in line in Dublin, Calif., enthusiastically told blogger Robert Scoble.

“I’m a believer. I think it can change the future,” said Jeff Bond, who was first in line at the Dublin showroom. “I drive a lot and think it’s going to make sense for me in the long haul.”

Tesla’s announcement comes the same day as Apple is releasing its iPhone SE, which doesn’t seem to be drawing such lines. There was a line in front of Apple’s store in Dusseldorf, Germany, but that was only because there’s a Tesla showroom next door.

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