It’s good to be Elon Musk. The long-awaited, ‘affordable’ Tesla Model 3 has been unveiled. And damn, is there a bit of pent up demand? Last pre-order count (Saturday) was 276,000.

Say $42,000 or so for the average order and Tesla is looking at $11.59 billion in revenue. Billion here and a billion there and before you know it, you’re telling Wall Street analysts to kiss off.

The pre-orders are taking the company by surprise. Musk tweeted his astonishment at the demand:

Of course, Tesla was always going to lowball numbers. Public company. It has to manage expectations. Elon Musk and company thought the pre-orders would be significant and counted on maybe 20-30 people lining up at shops.

The actual lines? Hundreds in some spots. It’s a great problem to have (for now), and the company is offering a special gift for those who lined up to pre-order a Model 3.

Tesla Model 3 unveil

Over the weekend, Mush has been fielding a variety of questions on the Model 3 and the company in general. It turned into a bit of an AMA on Twitter as people bombarded the CEO with questions and suggestions.

That’s a relief. If it didn’t have more cowbell, there’d be riots in the street.

Tesla Model 3 Potential Trap

Great unveil. Pre-orders crushing estimates. Life is good at Tesla today. But tomorrow? There are potential storm clouds. Tesla has to deliver. Obviously, not everyone will receive their Model 3 on the release date. Factory capacity just isn’t there.

Then there’s the issue of the US EV tax credit. The $7,500 rebate to get you in the door? That lasts up to the point the company sells 200,000 units. Will demand sustain itself when the tax credits are phased out? It’s an open question.

An easy counter to the argument over EV tax credits is how many companies have 100s of people lining up to order a car based off a tax credit? You can call it a big, beautiful EV tax credit, and no one is lining out the door to toss down deposits at any other automaker.

The big issue for Tesla is managing delivery expectations. In Q4 2015, the company delivered 17,400 cars. New factories devoted to the Model 3 will push the numbers, but when the company admits to anticipating only 25-50% of the actual pre-order count – it’ll take more than a special gift to keep customers happy as they wait for their Model 3.

Regardless, a Tesla starting at $35,000 with a 215-mile range per charge? Late 2017 is too far off. I want one.

Gear. TV. Movies. Lifestyle. Photography. Yeah, I’m the type who sees a shiny object and is immediately captivated. Wait... There’s another. You can reach me at marcus@newsledge.com

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