[UPDATE] Tesla Model 3 production begins, first car rolls off the line

Elon Musk let us know on Twitter.

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UPDATE: Elon Musk tweeted photos of the first Tesla Model 3, pictured above.

It's official. The first production version of the Tesla Model 3 has rolled off the factory line. It's the electric automotive (and now all things energy) startup's fourth vehicle, and the third currently in production, along with the Model S and Model X. The Model 3 sedan slots well below the larger Model S, and is more affordable, with a starting MSRP of about $35,000. With the first one rolling off the line, Tesla enters a larger market, where more people are buying electric cars, and more people can afford the Tesla brand.

The first Model 3, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously referred to as "SN1" (for serial number 1), is completed, and heading through inspection, according to a tweet from Musk:

SN1 was reserved by Tesla board member Ira Ehrenpreis, who, instead of taking the car for himself, gifted the rights to the first car to Elon Musk as a birthday gift.

Ehrenpreis will get the second car off the line, he said in a tweet. Other details about the individual car are still scarce, but we'll post updates, including photos, as we get them.

Hundreds of thousands of people have already reserved a Model 3, and Tesla plans to ramp up production capacity to meet demand. The company hopes to be able to produce 500,000 vehicles annually by next year. The first 30 Model 3s will be delivered to customers at on July 28. Musk expects those deliveries to increase " exponentially," to 100 customers in August, 1,500 in September. Musk says he thinks he can ramp that significantly by the end of the year.

Tesla's stock price has risen, along with the company's value, in expectation of the success of the Model 3, though it declined a bit this week. It'll be interesting to see what happens now that the car is officially in production. That said, Tesla has expanded far beyond the boundaries of automaking, and now produces battery systems for solar and grid power storage, as well as solar panels and solar roof tiles. Tesla also just landed a contract to build the world's largest battery system in Australia, in which he has 100 days to build 100 megawatts of storage, or it's free. The system would be able to power 30,000 homes in the event of a blackout.

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