Production unit one has arrived, the CEO says.

By Andrew Nusca and Kirsten Korosec
July 9, 2017
July 08, 2017

Tesla Motors’ long-awaited Model 3, its “mass market” model, is finally revealed thanks to a series of late-night tweets by CEO Elon Musk.

“Production unit 1 of Model 3 is now built and going through final checkout,” Musk tweeted around 8 p.m. Eastern. “Pics soon.”

The chief executive delivered on his promise. Just after midnight Eastern, he published two photos of the vehicle, one in monochrome and a second in full color.

Tesla Motors Model 3 production unit one.Courtesy of Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors Model 3 production unit one

Who’s the lucky owner of the first Model 3? Musk himself—but only after some horse trading. Venture capitalist Ira Ehrenpreis had the rights to the first car—he was the first to place a full deposit for the vehicle—but later gave those rights to Musk as his 46th birthday present. (Musk owns the first Roadster and Model X, but not the first Model S.)

Tesla Motors Model 3 production unit one.Courtesy of Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors Model 3 production unit one

A lot is riding on the Model 3. It’s the vehicle that Tesla, this year a Fortune 500 company for the first time, hopes will help boost it into profitability. At $35,000 before incentives, it’s also the vehicle that Musk believes will be the breakthrough to bringing electric vehicles to the average American home. (The Model 3 promises a range of 215 miles per charge.)

Investors agree. Though Tesla has not hit all of its milestones on time, it does eventually hit them. Production for the Model 3 was originally slated to start in July, but Tesla now hopes to build 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of this year and 10,000 per week in 2018.

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