Tesla's Cheap Model 3 Begins Production Today -- Here Are the Electric Car's Must-Know Specs

Tesla's  (TSLA)  much-anticipated $35,000 Model 3 electric vehicle will finally start rolling out of the manufacturing plant today, CEO Elon Musk said late Sunday on Twitter (TWTR) . 

Musk also noted that production should ramp up quickly with 100 Model 3s produced in August, followed by 1,500 produced in September and up to 20,000 produced per month starting this December. In June, Musk had told investors that Model 3 production should start in July at its factory in Fremont, Calif. but didn't give an exact date. 

The electric car company first started accepting reservations for the Model 3 with a refundable $1,000 deposit in stores on March 31, 2016 and online on April 1, 2016. Tesla's first car, the Tesla Roadster, came out in July 2006 and was followed by the premium and highly customizable sedan Model S in June 2012 and the family-style SUV Model X in September 2015. 

The Model 3 is special because it's the first time the company is making an electric vehicle for an affordable price (starting at $35,000) for the mass market. However, getting a large volume of consumers to switch to electric cars will take time, according to Morningstar CFA David Whiston. "Tesla has a chance to be the dominant electric vehicle firm and is a leader in autonomous vehicle technology, but we do not see it having mass-market volume for at least another decade," he wrote in his latest note to investors. 

Here are the key specs on the Model 3, with comparisons to the Tesla Model S and the best-selling car of 2016, the Toyota (TM) Camry. 

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Model 3 Range Per Charge: 215 miles
Model 3 Range Per Charge: 215 miles

  • Tesla Model S 75: 249 miles per charge. 
  • Toyota Camry XSE (2017): 24 miles per gallon (mpg) city/33 mpg highway/27 mpg combined (With a 17-gallon tank capacity, that means the Camry can go 408 miles in the city on a full tank and up to 561 miles on the highway) 

Note: While Model S owners can charge their car for free at Tesla's Supercharger stations in the U.S. and Europe, Tesla Model 3 owners will have to pay a fee, although the company says it will still cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas-run car. 

Model 3 Speed Range: 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 sec
Model 3 Speed Range: 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 sec

  • Tesla Model S 75: 0 mph to 60 mph in 2.3 sec
  • Toyota Camry XSE (2017): 0 mph to 60 mph in about 6 seconds

Model 3 Seats: 5 adults
Model 3 Seats: 5 adults

  • Tesla Model S 75: Seats 5 adults and 2 children
  • Toyota Camry XSE (2017): Seats 5 adults

Model 3 Price Base Model Price: $35,000
Model 3 Price Base Model Price: $35,000

  • Tesla Model S 75: $69,500 for the base model 
  • Toyota Camry XSE (2017): $26,310

A $7,500 federal tax credit for electric cars would reduce the price of the Model 3 even further, but some popular options could increase it. Musk said last year that the average pre-order Model 3 price with options was $42,000. 

Model 3 Key Feature: Autopilot Ability
Model 3 Key Feature: Autopilot Ability

  • Tesla Model S 75: Autopilot capabilities for both the Model 3 and Model S include auto lane change, smart summon (summoning your car to meet you), and automatic emergency braking
  • Toyota Camry XSE (2017): No autopilot

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