Tesla Issues Guidelines for Reserving Model 3

Courtesy of Tesla Motors
Tesla Model 3, silhouetted at right

Tesla will begin taking orders for its $35,000 entry-level electric on March 31.

Want a Model 3? Get in line. Literally.

Tesla Motors' CEO Elon Musk will unveil the highly anticipated Model 3 — the company's bid to build a mainstream electric sedan with a 200-mile plus range and populist price point — at an event at Tesla's design headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., on March 31.

Tesla will begin taking $1,000 deposits for the car online at 8:30 p.m. PST, when the event begins. But to get a good spot in what promises to be a lengthy ordering queue, Tesla recommends heading to one of its stores when it opens March 31 and placing an order in person.

Sending customers to Tesla stores accomplishes two objectives: It puts prospective customers in proximity to Tesla's Model S and X, which start at $70,000 and $80,000, respectively; and virtually guarantees lengthy lines of Tesla faithful spilling onto the sidewalks, a la Apple's iPhone launches, along with plenty of press coverage.

Current Model S and Model X owners will be given preference, "meaning the fastest way to own a Model 3 is to buy a Model S or Model X," Tesla notes on its website.

Tesla owners have proven to be extremely patient. The Model X SUV, now finally hitting streets after years of delays, is working through a backlog of 20,000 orders. Model 3 production isn't expected to start until late 2017, meaning the first cars will probably not reach customers until 2018.

Tesla said the first Model 3 deliveries will begin on the West Coast and move eastward across North America and begin later in Europe.

On Monday, British actress Talulah Riley filed to end her second marriage to Musk, who had filed for divorce in 2014 but later withdrew the petition.

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