Elon Musk says we'll get our first look at the Tesla Model 3 in March 2016

Elon Musk Tesla EnergyScreenshot via TeslaTesla CEO Elon Musk.

On a conference call with analysts on Wednesday after Tesla reported first-quarter earnings, CEO Elon Musk dispensed a bit more information about what many observers consider to be the car maker’s most important product.

It’s the Model 3, a mass-market electric vehicle that’s expected to sell for between $US30-40,000 and make up the bulk of Tesla’s sales after its debut in 2017.

The ambitious growth projections that have lifted Tesla’s stock price into the stratosphere (it’s currently trading at around $US230 per share) depend on the company successfully selling more than a $US100,000 high-performance sedan (the Model S) and a $US60,000 luxury SUV (the forthcoming Model X).

No one has any idea what the Model 3 will look like — but Musk said that we’d get a glimpse in early 2016. March, to be exact. He added that the car will go into production by late 2017, confirming expectations.

If Tesla does reveal a prototype Model 3 in March 2016, the car will be showcased at a bit of an odd time for the auto industry, as the car show circuit is winding down.

However, Tesla likes to reveal its cars on its own terms. Musk often points out that Tesla is “different from other car companies.”

So by early 2016, expect some cryptic tweets from Musk about the car that Tesla’s future really depends on.

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