The dashboard of a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S P85 vehicle is displayed at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015.
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Alex Fitzpatrick
February 10, 2016

Tesla’s cheapest-ever vehicle will be shown off to the public for the first time in March, the electric car company says.

The car, called the Model 3, will be unveiled on Mar. 31, Tesla said in a letter to shareholders published Feb. 10. The Model 3 is expected to be priced at about $35,000, before tax incentives that further lower the effective price of alternative energy cars.

The new car is hugely important for Tesla. While the company’s flagship Model S has been warmly received by critics, its high price puts it out of the reach of many consumers. That problem is shared by the Model X SUV, limiting the company’s potential customer base. Meanwhile, the company is facing unexpected pressure on the cheaper side from Detroit rival General Motors, which recently unveiled its own low-cost electric vehicle called the Chevy Bolt.

Still, Tesla fans will have longer to wait yet before the Model 3 hits the road. Production and delivery of the new car will begin no sooner than “late 2017,” the company says.

Meanwhile, Tesla investors have something else to cheer in Wednesday’s earnings report: The Palo Alto, Calif. firm says it expects to be making 1,000 of the its Model X SUVs by the second quarter, a significant boost after quality control issues forced a cutback in production.

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