Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk on Wednesday teased the car that is expected to be the company's true revolution: A high-performance, all-electric sedan that will be priced for the middle class.
Tesla's cars have been getting otherworldly reviews. The high-end version of the Model S literally broke Consumer Reports' rating system last month, scoring a 103 out of a possible 100. The influential magazine had to re-calibrate its evaluation system after remarking that the car achieved the rare feat of luxury sport car performance with an ultra-efficient engine.
That this technology could be priced within reach of middle class drivers has generated a lot of buzz. But there was a catch. The Model 3, Musk said on Twitter, will be unveiled in March, and pre-orders will start then. But the actual car won't be available for another two years. Musk said it will take that long to get its so-called "Gigafactory" running at full capacity.
Model 3, our smaller and lower cost sedan will start production in about 2 years. Fully operational Gigafactory needed.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 2, 2015
But Tesla has a history of missing its deadlines. And some took to Twitter to question how Musk could possibly know the final price of the car well before it went into production.
To this point, Teslas have been largely off-limits to average consumers. The Model S P85D -- the one that was reviewed recently by Consumer Reports -- starts at $105,000. Tesla's top of the line "Signature" Model X, an SUV, will start at $132,000 and possibly reach as high as $144,000. The less expensive Model X, which goes on sale this month, starts at about $70,000.