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Elon Musk Unveils Tesla Model 3: Accelerating Sustainable Transport Is 'Important for the Future of the World'

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Elon Musk has unveiled the hotly anticipated Model 3—aka Tesla’s mainstream electric vehicle—at his Los Angeles design studio last night.

The Tesla chief immediately jumped into the big questions during the big reveal: Why does Tesla exist? Why is Tesla doing this? Why are we making electric cars? Why does it matter?

"Because it’s very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport," Musk said, eliciting cheers from the crowd.

"This is really important for the future of the world."

He then presented slides on the record levels of carbon concentration, increased global temperatures as well as the 53,000 deaths a year in the U.S. that can be attributed to auto emissions.

"It's very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport," said Musk.

Musk said Tesla’s newest EV will be priced at $35,000 (about half the cost of its predecessors), and delivery to customers will start at the end of 2017.

As for the car's specs, it has a 5-star safety rating, 215 miles of range, goes 0-60 in less than 6 seconds and all versions will have Tesla's famed autopilot and supercharging capabilities as standard features.

Supercharging, Musk said, “gives you freedom of travel,” boasting that Tesla's vast, global network of high-speed charging stations means "you will be able to go virtually anywhere."

The cars come in black, silver and red and fits five adults "comfortably" since a lack of a combustion engine moves seating closer to the front of the car, and an all-glass roof allows for more headroom, Musk said. It can even hold a 7-foot surfboard in the car's interior.

By any estimation, it looks like the Model 3 is already a success. Fans stood in long lines in front of Tesla stores around the world ready to put down their deposits to reserve the car.

Tesla aims to produce 500,000 of these vehicles a year with the aid of its massive lithium-ion Gigafactory in Nevada, which will cut costs of the car's battery pack and enable a lower-priced car.

Musk said during his presentation last night there were already 115,000 pre-orders in the first 24 hours, meaning their goal of selling 500,000 cars a year is already a fifth of the way there. He also plans to increase Tesla's storefront locations, service stations and supercharging stations to prepare for new Tesla's new drivers.

"Almost no matter where you are ... you’d be able to buy a car and get it serviced," he envisioned.

The multi-hyphenate entrepreneur, who is also involved in space exploration and solar power industries, has said many times before that the electric vehicle market plays an important role in a sustainable energy future. At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last year, Musk said the trend is toward electric: “The price of gasoline at any one time is irrelevant,” and electric vehicles are the future.

After the unveiling, Musk teased on Twitter that this was only the beginning: "Thanks for tuning in to the Model 3 unveil Part 1! Part 2 is super next level, but that's for later …"

Watch the full presentation here:

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