PALO ALTO, California — Tesla Motors said the overwhelming response to the launch of the 2018 Tesla Model 3 electric sedan — more than 325,000 reservations in the first week of taking deposits — has convinced the company to accelerate its plans for production.
Tesla still plans to build and deliver the first Model 3s in late 2017.
But the electric-car company has pulled ahead by two years its plan to ramp up annual production of its three-vehicle lineup — including the Tesla Model S sedan and the Model X crossover — to 500,000 by 2018.
Chief executive Elon Musk said the automaker now plans to boost production to a million vehicles a year by 2020.
Last year, Tesla built 50,000 vehicles and its target this year is 80,000-90,000. Production in the first quarter totaled 15,510, including 12,851 Model S sedans and 2,659 Model X crossovers. The company now plans to build more than 20,000 vehicles in the second quarter and more than 50,000 in the second half.
In its quarterly newsletter to shareholders, Tesla said: "Our objective with Model 3 is to create the world's best car with a? base price of $35,000, before any incentives, with a range of at least 215 miles on a single charge."
The company added: "We plan to incorporate our best technology into Model 3, yet keep it relatively simple to build at high volume and with high quality."
Tesla said the unveiling of the Model 3 has boosted global demand for the Model S and the Model X. In April, the company refreshed the Model S with more than 300 new parts, including a revised front end, adaptive headlights, faster charging and more range.
Tesla also continues to expand its network of charging stations, and expects to have nearly 300 sales and service outlets worldwide by the end of 2016.
Edmunds says: Tesla aims to become a mainstream automaker even sooner than expected.