Tesla Model 3 'approaching' 400,000 pre-orders as GM boss throws shade

The all-electric Model 3 is gaining popularity, but GM doesn't think it's warranted.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
CNET/CBS Interactive

Pre-orders for the just announced Tesla Model 3 are "approaching" 400,000, according to Diarmuid O'Connell, Tesla VP of business development.

"It delivers a message to the industry that there's incredible demand for great electric vehicles out there," O'Connell said at a conference on Monday, according to Electrek.

The $35,000, all-electric Model 3, announced earlier this month, will ship in late-2017 and is seen as Tesla's budget vehicle alongside the pricier Model S sedan and Model X SUV.

The new pre-order numbers, which require a $1,000 down payment, come after Tesla confirmed in a blog post last week that it received 325,000 Model 3 reservations.

While the pre-order numbers are notable, skeptics wonder how Tesla will keep up with production and shipping demands, something Tesla has had trouble with in the past with the Model X launch earlier this year.

On Tuesday, General Motor's vice president of global propulsion systems, Dan Nicholson, talked up the Chevorlet Bolt, which is also all-electric, as superior to the Model 3.

"I am very proud of the Chevrolet Bolt that's coming out, which will be the first to market as a long-range affordable battery electric vehicle," Nicholson said at an engineering conference in Detroit. "It will have more than 200 miles of range and it will be in production by the end of 2016, so it's not necessary to put down $1,000 and wait until 2018 or some time after that."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet earlier this month: "definitely going to need to rethink production planning," following the more-than-expected reservations for the Model 3.

Tesla Model S front redesign [in pictures]

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