Tesla Motors' unveiling of the Model 3 sedan was an immense success on Thursday night. With an attractive starting price of $35,000 and features that would not look out of place in its larger, more expensive siblings, the compact sedan generated so much interest, Tesla ended up underestimating the demand for the vehicle.
Despite the vehicle's production date almost 18 months from now, an immense amount of customers nonetheless opted to pre-order the vehicle. In fact, within the first 36 hours since the EV was introduced, the carmaker received 253,000 orders for the upcoming car.
With the car expected to average around $42,000 per unit including the price of options and additional features, the overall number of pre-orders would reach a staggering estimated retail value of about $10.6 billion.
In a lot of ways, the massive public interest and support for Tesla's newest vehicle were far beyond the expected numbers of the company. According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the company expected just about 25 to 50 percent of the number of pre-orders prior to the event.
@34thrain Maybe 1/4 to 1/2 of what happened. No one at Tesla thought it would be this high before part 2 of the unveil.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) Abril 2, 2016
In fact, Musk was so surprised at the impressive support from the public that he also announced special gifts for those who waited in line to pre-order the car even before it was unveiled.
Token of appreciation for those who lined up coming via mail. Thought maybe 20-30 people per store would line up, not 800. Gifts on order. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) Abril 2, 2016
Indeed, it does seem like Tesla is on a roll without even being fully aware of how much momentum the company actually has. Of course, with such demand also comes greater pressure for the carmaker to deliver the vehicles on time.
With the expected delivery date of the car set for late 2017, Musk has about 20 months to ensure that the company's current facilities can handle the mass production of the Model 3. The creation of the company's giga-factory in Nevada, which is set to manufacture the batteries for the Model 3, is set to become a vital part of Tesla's strategy.
Apart from the giga-factory, Tesla has also undertaken an expansion of its Fremont, Calif., plant, which is expected to manufacture up to 500,000 vehicles per year by 2020.
The reception of the Model 3, together with the mass pre-orders that were registered even before the car was unveiled, seemed to have impressed investors. On Friday, the company's stock soared 3.4 percent, closing at $237.59.
The Model 3 sedan is Tesla's vehicle for the masses, capable of seating five adults and going 215 miles minimum on a single charge. Performance-wise, the car is quite impressive as well, being able to go from zero to 60 mph in less than six seconds.