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First Tesla Model 3 Rolls off the Assembly Line

It’s officially here: Tesla’s very first Model 3 electric car rolled off the manufacturing line on Friday. The $35,000 vehicle has a long way to go before universal adoption, but its debut is likely to mark a game-changing milestone in the EV sphere. In other words, the true era of the electric car might just have started.

Not surprisingly, that first black Model 3, SN1, will go to CEO and co-founder Elon Musk — who promptly shared images of the vehicle on Twitter over the weekend. And it’s only the first. The next 30 or so Model 3s will likely go to employees of Tesla and SpaceX in California, and Musk tweeted last week that Tesla is planning a “handover party” for those customers on July 28. After that, additional vehicles will presumably go toward those who have already reserved a Model 3 — around 400,000 orders by October 2016, according to CNBC. You can see a video of SN1’s first photoshoot below.

The lower-priced car represents a cornerstone of Musk’s greater “master plan.” But, as others have pointed out, the real question is whether Tesla will be able to become the first mass-market EV manufacturer without sacrificing quality. On that note, Tesla plans to start off slow, producing only 100 cars in August and 1,500 in September. But Musk said Tesla can ramp up production to 20,000 Model 3s a month by December — an aggressive although not necessarily unachievable goal.

If Tesla’s production does manage to keep pace with Musk’s ambitions, then Tesla will build more electric vehicles in 2018 than all of the automakers in the world combined did last year, Bloomberg reported. Tesla is planning on offsetting the unprecedented demand with streamlined production — such as releasing the cars with limited options to start. But while Tesla’s primary objective is to get as many Model 3s on the road as soon as possible, new customers will probably have to wait a while before they get their own. According to Tesla’s website, if you order a Model 3 now, the soonest that you’ll receive it is sometime next year.

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First Tesla Model 3 Rolls off the Assembly Line

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