Considering it's not yet in production, the Tesla 3 had a pretty good first day, taking more than 135,000 reservations at $1,000 each, selling more in one day than some models sell in an entire year.
Tesla founder Elon Musk unveiled the all-electric, five-passenger sedan to a crowd of about 800 packed into a hangar near Los Angeles. He said it will have a five-star safety rating, will go about 215 miles on a charge and will go from zero to 60 in under 6 seconds.
Musk is aiming for the heart of the mass market, targeting buyers who might now be buying Audi A3s or one of the BMW 2-series cars.
Although gas is now hovering around $2 per gallon in much of the country, Musk thinks car buyers will nevertheless flock to his car despite their notable reluctance to stock up on Nissan Leafs, Chevy Volts, or Prius plug-ins.
Why? Well, he's Elon Musk and early adopters have bought about 100,000 of his earlier models, which go for $80,000 or so. The aura of the Tesla S will embrace the 3 and lift it to a higher plane. Or something like that.
Musk, by the way, thanked buyers of his earlier, pricier models, saying they had paved -- and paid for -- the road that led to the 3.
There were really no surprises at Thursday night's event. The car itself is sleek-looking and had all the expected features -- a big telematics touch screen, snazzy steering wheel, and so forth. It is also equipped with self-drive features that are increasingly common -- lane-hold, automatic braking, assisted parking, and so forth.
Deliveries are expected to start in late 2017. If you have $1,000 to spare, you can reserve yours online and cough up the rest later.