What we know about Tesla's Model 3

Tesla's Model X is the new king of crossover SUV's
Tesla's Model X is the new king of crossover SUV's

The long wait for the Tesla Model 3 is almost over.

The electric car maker will soon start taking $1,000 deposits from buyers. But there are still more questions than answers about Tesla's first mass-market vehicle, which will have a sticker price of $35,000.

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk announced Thursday that Tesla will start taking orders for the Model 3 on March 31 at its stores, and online on April 1.

Here's what we do -- and don't -- know about the car.

When can buyers actually get one?

Tesla expects to start delivering the Model 3 in "late 2017." So even if you're one of the first to plunk down $1,000 to reserve one, it'll still be a long wait. But ramping up production can take a while, so it could easily be 2018 before some of the early buyers can get their hands on a car.

What will it look like?

The Model 3 will be a sedan, like the Model S that's already on the road, but the company has kept the design under wraps. It definitely won't have the distinctive falcon wing doors that Tesla's Model X crossover has.

How far will it go on a charge?

The base model Model S has a minimum range of 240 miles, but the Model 3 probably won't go quite as far. The Model 3's battery will be smaller and lighter in order to keep the cost of the car down, the size of the battery pack is what determines range.

Musk has been quoted as saying 200 miles should be the minimum range for any an all-electric car.

What will it cost?

At $35,000, the Model 3 will cost about half the price of the base version of the Model S. And buyers will get tax breaks -- there's a $7,500 federal deduction, and some states offer as much as $2,500 in credits. The average price of all new cars today is about $34,000, according to Kelley Blue Book.

What options will it offer?

Musk said Wednesday that Tesla might hold back on some features for the Model 3 to get the car to market faster, having learned a lesson with the Model X. "In retrospect, it would have better to do fewer things with the first version of Model X, and then roll in ... new technologies over time," Musk said Wednesday. ""I do think that there was some hubris there with the Model X."

Of course, some of the most talked-about Tesla features cost thousands of dollars, which makes them impractical for a moderately priced car. For example, the "ludicrous mode" that allows the car to go 0 to 60 in only 3 seconds, adds $10,000. Autopilot features add another $3,000.

Social Surge - What's Trending




CNNMoney Sponsors