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Tesla's Model 3 to Cost $35K in March, But Production Still 2 Years Away

Tesla's long-awaited mass-market car, the Model 3, now has a price and debut plan courtesy of the company's founder, Elon Musk, who posted the details to Twitter on Wednesday.

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Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc.
Yuriko Nakao | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc.

The $35,000 price is just what was expected, and Tesla is well known for unveiling its cars well before they are available to buy. Still, it will likely disappoint many that a cheaper Tesla won't arrive until 2017 at the very earliest.

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What's taking so long, you ask? Right now, the batteries that would power the Model 3 would cost about as much as the car is slated to. Tesla is building an enormous lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Nevada to make its own batteries for far less money — the "Gigafactory" mentioned in Musk's tweet.

Not much more can be revealed about the Model 3 except that, as Musk mentioned cryptically during a Q&A session on Reddit, "It won't look like other cars." What does that mean, exactly? We'll find out in March.

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In the meantime, you can order yourself a new Model X — if you have the cash. The entry level model will cost around $5,000 more than a Model S with the same options, Musk wrote in yet another tweet — though you can easily spend well into the six figure range for the "Signature" high-end series.

The first Model X should be coming off the production line on September 29.