The interest ignited by Tesla’s mass market Model 3 continued over the weekend as CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to tease new details about the electric vehicle, which is still more than a year away from hitting the road.
For starters: The steering controls seen in the Model 3 when it was unveiled Thursday night will be different.
“Wait until you see the real steering controls and system for the 3. It feels like a spaceship,” Musk said.
The unveiling Thursday night is part one of the reveal, Musk said, noting that he plans to reveal “part two” at a later date.
As of Saturday, Musk said more than 276,000 pre-orders had been placed. Tesla requires a $1,000 deposit for people to secure their spot in line for the mid-sized sedan.
More than 115,000 pre-orders were placed for the Model 3 on Thursday, even before those people set eyes on the new vehicle. During the unveiling inside a SpaceX hangar in Hawthorne, California, a ticker showed in real-time how many more orders were being placed by people eager to be among the first to drive the $35,000 Model 3.
“This is a critical vehicle for Tesla, much more critical vehicle than any vehicle that has come before,” Jack Nerad, executive editorial director at Kelley Blue Book, told ABC News. “This is their effort to become more than a niche. A lot is riding on this.”
On the design front, the Model 3 fits into the Tesla family with sleek lines and boasts a roof area with a continuous pane of glass, giving the five adults it can seat extra headroom and the feeling of having more space, Musk said.
The key metric many people were waiting for was range per charge. The Model 3 can go 215 miles on a single charge, which is around what Nerad said he expected from the vehicle. Musk also committed to doubling the number of Tesla’s public charging stations from 3,600 to 7,200.
It also includes semi-autonomous driving features, including automatic lane changing and lane keeping, and can accelerate from zero to 60 in less than 6 seconds, Musk said.
“You will not be able to buy a better car, any better car, for less than that,” he said.