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Elon Musk says Tesla has taken $7.5 billion worth of Model 3 preorders

Elon Musk says Tesla has taken $7.5 billion worth of Model 3 preorders

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Last night, Tesla introduced the Model 3, its affordable electric car for the masses. The masses have responded, with more than 180,000 preorders placed in the first 24 hours.

Update April 1st, 1:24PM ET: Elon Musk says in a tweet that preorders have reached 198,000 and that "the wait time is growing rapidly."

Update April 2nd, 12:30PM ET: In a tweet last night, Musk said preorders had reached 232,000.

Update April 2nd, 3:10PM ET: In a tweet this afternoon, Musk said preorders had reached 253,000 as of this morning, and that further updates would be coming tonight and then on Wednesday for a full-week total. In addition, he said all Tesla's efforts are "focused on accelerating the ramp" of the Model 3's production.

Update April 3rd, 4:20PM ET: Musk's latest update pegs preorders at 276,000 by the end of the day on Saturday.

Even before the first Model 3 rolled into public view at Tesla's facility in Hawthorne, California, Tesla fans around the world were lining up at the company's dealerships to place preorders. At the end of his presentation yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that 115,000 preorders — buyers needed to put down a refundable $1,000 deposit — had been placed.

This morning, some 24 hours after the first US dealerships began taking deposits, Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla has taken 180,000 preorders. That's $180 million in deposits, and, according to Musk's estimates, $7.5 billion worth of cars at a predicted average selling price of $42,000.

180,000 is a massive number, and Tesla will be under tremendous pressure to deliver. The company delivered 50,580 cars in all of 2015, so the Model 3 represents an enormous ramp-up in production if it is to meet its sales goals.

Last night, Musk said Tesla's Fremont, California factory could handle production levels of 500,000 cars per year. Let's hope so, or there are going to be a lot of disappointed potential Tesla owners waiting a long while for their Model 3 delivery.