Even before the new Model 3 sedan was unveiled late last Thursday, Tesla Motors said it had logged more than 100,000 advanced orders. And as of the following Monday morning, the Silicon Valley carmaker claimed the figure had topped 250,000 – a number that would translate into more than $10 billion in retail sales.
The surge of interest is unprecedented in the auto industry, resembling more the sort of frenzy that has greeted the launch of a new Apple iPhone. But at this early stage, at least 18 months before the first car is scheduled to roll off the assembly line, can the new Tesla Model S be considered a hit, or a case of battery-powered hype?
That’s a question which few industry observers seem to agree upon. Investors have clearly been impressed, driving Tesla’s stock price up by over $15 a share since the hours before the electric sedan’s unveiling. That run-up comes despite the warnings issued by some key analysts.