Elon Musk's Tesla has delivered its first Model 3 electric car – straight into the hands of Elon Musk.
The Model 3 is, as the BBC breathlessly billed it, "Tesla's first mass-market car".
It will retail for just $35,000 – "almost half that of Tesla's next cheapest model" – according to the Beeb's Tesla plug, complete with faithfully reproduced pictures as originally tweeted by the tech billionaire.
The company is trying to broaden its appeal beyond the well-heeled (and, presumably, heedless debt addicts) with the Model 3. Its financial results for the first quarter of this fiscal year revealed the car unit deepened its losses year-on-year, being in the red to the tune of $214m.
While crafty accountants normally do their best to ensure that companies' stated profits are as small as possible in order to minimise tax bills, Tesla's financial situation seems to be a bit beyond that. Just to really ram the point home, Tesla hiked its prices for Brits by 5 per cent at the end of last year, blaming "currency fluctuations" – and doubtless the smattering of British sales helped the firm embiggen its revenues at the start of this fiscal year.
The Grauniad reports Musk as saying initial production will be 100 cars in August, ramping up to 1,500 in September, with a European launch taking place "at a later date". Deliveries are expected in a year or more, we are told.
Tesla's website claims the Model 3 will do 215 miles per charge, 0-60mph in "under six seconds", and comes with Tesla's autopilot software as standard. That software came under intense scrutiny in the US, following a fatal crash where neither the software nor the car's driver spotted a lorry driving slowly across a main road. ®