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Anticipation for Tesla’s new “affordable” electric car reached fever pitch in the buildup to the big unveil yesterday, with 115,000 people having paid $1,000 to get on the list to buy a Model 3 shortly after it was unveiled yesterday.

After a full day taking orders, Elon Musk has now revealed that orders totalled 180,000. With an average selling price of $42,000, that equates to around $7.5 billion.

That’s not a bad start to 2016 when you consider the company sold a grand total of 10,030 cars in the first quarter of 2015. But while it is indicative of a real intent to buy the green machine, it won’t necessarily translate exactly into hard sales.

Those placing a preorder could buy up to two cars each, making a $1,000 deposit for each, but it’s refundable. Given the car isn’t expected to ship until next year, in the cold light of day and with time to properly assess Musk’s mass market vehicle, many of its early fans could cash in their chips when it comes to paying the remaining amount. That’s not to say they will, of course — but a year is a long time in any business, and a lot can change not only in people’s minds, but in the market.

Founded in 2003, Tesla first rose to prominence with the Roadster, one of the earliest all-electric sports cars to land on U.S. highways en masse when it launched in 2008. Tesla has produced a handful of electric vehicles since, but the Model S emerged as one of the best-selling plug-in electric cars. With a price tag starting at around $76,000, however, it pretty much precludes all but the wealthiest. So with the Tesla Model 3 starting at a more palatable $35,000, this could go some way towards making electric cars a more common sight on roads around the world.


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