Electric car manufacturer Tesla has announced the launch this week of its eagerly awaited Model 3, which the firm hopes will make electric cars accessible to all motorists.
Tesla founder Elon Musk announced Monday night on Twitter that the Model 3 has “passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule,” which means the first cars are expected to “begin rolling off the line on Friday.”
Musk tweeted that “production grows exponentially,” so that 100 Model 3 cars are likely to be manufactured in August, more than 1,500 in September, and in December no less than 20,000, making this the first mass-production model in the company’s history.
Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule. Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 3, 2017
The Model 3, according to the South African-born billionaire, will have an acceleration from 0 to 100 kph in less than 6 seconds, and can run for at least 400 kilometres on a single charge of the battery.
Tesla has made a high-stakes bet on the success of the Model 3, of which it expects to be producing a half million a year by 2018.
But the biggest novelty is that in the US the basic version of the Model 3 will cost $US35,000 – $US27,500 ( $A45,700 – $A35,900) after knocking off the subsidy for buying an electric car – and, according to Musk, will therefore be the best vehicle for the money and will appeal to a mass market.
Up to now, Tesla has manufactured and marketed only luxury autos whose lowest prices have been double that of a Model 3.
News of the Model 3 launch comes as Mr Musk’s space exploration company SpaceX plans to recover its capsule used to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed down as planned in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast shortly on Monday.
After being released by the space station’s robotic arm, the capsule completed a 5-and-a-half-hour journey back to Earth.
Good splashdown of Dragon confirmed—completing first re-flight of a commercial spacecraft to and from the @Space_Station.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 3, 2017
SpaceX will recover the spacecraft and take it back to California.
Cargo from the space station will be sent to NASA for analysis.
It was the craft’s second delivery trip to the space station. Previously, the Dragon carried supplies and equipment to the orbiting module in 2014.
California-based SpaceX is working to reuse as many parts of its rockets and spacecraft as possible to slash launch costs.
SpaceX was preparing for the launch of its latest craft, a Falcon 9 rocket, later Tuesday.
– With AAP