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Tesla surprise - first Model 3 to roll off line this week

The Tesla Model 3 goes into production July 7, 2017
The Tesla Model 3 goes into production July 7, 2017

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The President isn't the only one who likes to announce things on Twitter.

Late Sunday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced, in a series of tweets, that the long-awaited "electric car for the masses," will go into production two weeks ahead of schedule, with the first one rolling off the line on Friday.

Our motor critic Sue Carpenter notes that the Model 3 is the culmination of Musk's long-term plan. He said he would start with a small but expensive sports car, and released the Tesla Roadster in 2008. He followed that with an expensive sedan, the Model S. But both of those were just warm-ups for his real goal, building a sort of Model T of electric cars.

The Model 3 has a base price of $35,000 before state and federal credits. It promises a range of more than 200 miles on a single charge, is equipped with a small army of sensors, scanners and cameras, and will do zero to sixty in six seconds.

Musk's plan is to start of slowly, and ramp up production exponentially, hitting half a million cars by next year. If he pulls it off, that means the 400,000 people who pre-ordered the Model 3 will have them in their driveways sooner than many imagined.