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Tesla Model 3 expected to drive sales through 2020

Tesla hopes to have a total of a million of its electric vehicles on the road within the next five years, according to a recent report.

The forecast came from Tesla's chief technical officer, JB Straubel, during a conference Monday, according to The Wall Street Journal. The electric carmaker expects its forthcoming mass-market vehicle—the $35,000 Model 3—to drive much of the growth.

Tesla plans to launch the new car series in 2017.

Tesla S automobiles
Reuters
Tesla S automobiles

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Tesla's lofty million-car goal is very possible as long as its so-called Gigafactory is ready on time, Global Equities Research managing director Trip Chowdhry told CNBC in an email.

The Gigafactory is where Tesla is expected to manufacture its electric car batteries starting in 2017, leading to the production of 500,000 cars per year by the end of this decade, Tesla said on its website.

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That compares with the 55,000 Model S and X cars it expects to deliver in 2015, according to a company report last month.