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Tesla Model 3 mania reaches peak as lines keep growing

Hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals have lined up around the world to plunk down money on a car about which they know nothing.

I'll admit: I stood in line for the first iPhone. I was excited. The product looked awesome. While some writers might be snarking about all the folks standing in lines to pre-order the $35,000-ish Tesla Model 3 mere hours before its unveiling, don't worry. I understand your excitement. Maybe not your finances, but your excitement.

No matter where your automotive tastes lie, you've got to admit that Model 3 mania is, at the least, impressive. And it's a good sign for the California-based electric automaker, which is hoping to massively expand its customer base with its first "affordable" sedan -- all of its other models start north of $69,000.

Social media is positively exploding with Tesla hype at the moment. Pictures from Tesla stores around the world -- the US, Europe, China -- show long lines, and even a few tents for the early adopters, have been posted up for a couple days now. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, never one to ignore a publicity opportunity, posted a picture on Twitter of a significant line at a dealership in Australia.

Perhaps most impressive is the fact that no one knows anything about this car yet. We have a rough idea of price, a teaser picture and that's it. We won't know any more until later this evening, at 8.30 p.m. PT, when Musk himself gives the public its first look at the car. It's unlikely that we'll get any appreciable facts and figures tonight -- the unveiling is rumored to be a long, drawn-out affair over weeks.

Hell, these lines aren't even for the chance to drive or pay for the car. Everyone is line is waiting to plunk down $1,000 for a "reservation," which earns you a spot on the production schedule. Full payment and all that will come much later, as deliveries aren't slated to begin until late 2017.

Still, I offer a tip of my hat to an automaker that's managed to make a car as popular as a smartphone. You don't see people camping out at Porsche dealerships for a stab at the 911 R.

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