Tesla has announced that its hotly anticipated Model 3 will be aimed at drivers on a budget, with prices set to start from $35,000 (£25,000).
Up until now, the American electric vehicle manufacturer has sold only luxury models, distributing 50,000 units a year. With the introduction of the Model 3, which will retail for as low as half the base price of the flagship Model S, the carmaker hopes to enter the mainstream market, with an aim of selling 500,000 vehicles annually by 2020.
The Model 3, which will compete against conventional vehicles including the Audi A4, is expected to feature a four-wheel-drive function, Autopilot and a battery range of up to 300 miles.
Analysts have predicted that the lower priced car will be critical to Tesla as cheap fuel continues to challenge EV sales, and as rival manufacturers continue to produce similarly-priced models.
Jessica Caldwell, an analyst at the auto industry website Edmunds.com told the Telegraph: “The Model 3 is really the measure if Tesla is going to make it long-term as a car company. If they want to bring the EV to the mass market, they need the Model 3 to be successful.”
Motorists will be able to pre-order the Model 3 from this week, for a deposit of $1,000 (£700). First deliveries are expected to take place from the end of 2017 in the US, and 2018 in Europe.