Tesla's Affordable Model 3 May Come Earlier Than Expected

Tesla's new, more affordable Model 3 electric sedan could be available much earlier than previously expected, according to a recent report.

Credit: Tesla

(Image credit: Tesla)

A small number of the highly-anticipated vehicles will be built in this month as a test of Tesla's manufacturing system, according to an exclusive report from Reuters, citing unnamed sources. The car was previously expected to roll off of production lines this July, but concerns that Tesla's parts suppliers wouldn't meet their deadlines led CEO Elon Musk to warn that it could release later than expected.

The 5-seat sedan comes with Tesla's Autopilot feature, which helps drivers match the speed of traffic, stay in lines, change lanes and park without touching the wheel. However, it's not yet meant to replace an actual driver.

The Model 3 is Tesla's most affordable vehicle, starting at only $35,000 before government incentives for electric vehicles that can vary by state. The car can go 215 miles between charges, plenty more than the average commute to and from work.

The first Model 3 sedans, expected to start production on Feb. 20, will likely go those who've placed pre-orders early. New reservations, which require a $1,000 deposit, are expected to be delivered in mid 2018. Tesla's goal is to build 500,000 Model S vehicles per year by 2018.

Althea Chang is Associate Director of Content Development for Consumer Reports and was previously a Senior Writer for Tom's Guide, covering mobile devices, health and fitness gadgets and car tech.