The new much-anticipated Model 3 line from Tesla seeks to transform Elon Musk’s famous electric vehicle maker from strictly luxury to mass market. Or at least as mass market as you can get with a sticker price that starts at $35,000. Back when the US government was helping out Detroit with taxpayer money, President Barack Obama asked trenchantly: can’t these guys make a Corolla? The Toyota Corolla is mass market — with an MSRP of $17,900 for an automatic.
So with the Tesla Model 3, the Corolla crowd is not the mass market it’s aiming for. But $35,000 is less half of what you’d pay for one of Tesla’s current models. (The Model S starts at $69,900 but goes up quickly.) So far delivery of the Model 3 is slated to begin in late 2017. If you want to get in line for one, you’ll have to pay $1,000 to wait. That price is actually lower than some thought. And if speculators are right and 75,000 buyers get in line, Tesla will have $75 million to hold while it builds the orders.