An employee drives a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric automobile, equipped with Autopilot hardware and software, hands-free on a highway in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015.
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Alex Fitzpatrick
March 29, 2016

It’s a big week for Elon Musk’s electric car company, Tesla. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm is expected to unveil its latest car model at an event on March 31. After years of putting out expensive, high-end luxury electric cars, Tesla is finally arriving at its long-stated goal of selling a more affordable version, dubbed the Model 3. Here are five things we know about the vehicle so far:

It will be the least expensive Tesla

Tesla’s first three cars, the Roadster, Model S and Model X, were or are priced way above the average consumer’s reach. But the Model 3 is set to start at a not-unreasonable $35,000, in the same zone as electrics from GM, BMW, and Nissan. That’s before federal and state tax incentives that further drive down the cost of electric cars. Depending on the state, it’s possible to bring the base price as low as $28,000.

You can put a deposit on one right away…

It will cost $1,000 to get a spot in line when reservations for the Model 3 open on March 31. Doing so at a Tesla showroom will improve your spot in the queue.

…but it won’t hit the road soon

Tesla is expecting to start delivering the first Model 3 cars to customers late next year. The company has experience production delays in the past. The Model X SUV, for instance, arrived nearly two years late.

It has good range

Tesla says the Model 3 will travel about 200 miles on a single charge. That’s enough for most people’s daily commute. The company’s nationwide charger network promises to make longer roadtrips possible.

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It’s a fulfillment of Musk’s vision

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long dreamed of a future filled with affordable, mass-market electric vehicles. If successful, the Model 3 could help realize that vision. Other companies, notably GM which plans to sell its Chevy Bolt electric this year, have the same idea. That means a lot of competition.

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