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Elon Musk shows off first 'release candidate' Model 3

It's a quick video, but this is your first chance to see a near-production Model 3 in motion -- and a cheeky explanation of why it's called Model 3 in the first place.


If you're one of the many thousands of individuals who put your $1,000 down to get in line for a Tesla Model 3, right now you're probably champing at the bit for any and all news about the thing that you can get. Elon Musk took to Twitter this morning with a few updates, and while there isn't much in the way salient details, these updates might be enough to keep your whistle wet until the Model 3 properly goes into production this year.

First, Musk sounded off to clarify the positioning of the Model 3 vs. the Model S. Musk discouraged people from treating it like a "next version" of Tesla -- like people will treat the iPhone 8 as a successor to the iPhone 7. Instead, he wanted to make sure that people treat the Model 3 as a "smaller, more affordable" Tesla. The Model S, he said, will always have "more advanced technology."

He then showed off this quick video of a Model 3 doing what looks to be a bit of a launch. It's short and in a dark car park, but while the acceleration is a little short of Ludicrous, it does look plenty brisk for a car in this price category. Musk called this specific car a "release candidate," which in software development terms means a version that's nearly production-ready. Hopefully that means Tesla is close to wrapping up its testing.

Oh, and about the name? Musk also reminded folks that he wanted to call the car the "Model E" but that Ford sued to prevent that. Tesla, then, chose "Model 3" as a next-best-thing. Why? Well... I'll just let him explain: