Tesla Model 3: 7 Things to Know Nearly 200,000 people have pre-ordered the electric car By Michael Harthorne, Newser Staff Posted Apr 1, 2016 6:55 PM CDT 109 comments Comments The Tesla Model 3, which is scheduled to hit the road in December 2017. (Tesla Motors via AP) (Newser) – Elon Musk unveiled Tesla's newest electric vehicle, the Tesla Model 3, Thursday night in California, and the hype was strong. Thousands upon thousands of people lined up at Tesla dealerships to reserve the vehicle, which isn't even scheduled to be released until December 2017. But that's what you get when you promise a $35,000 mass-market electric vehicle. Here are seven things you need to know about the Tesla Model 3: USA Today reports the final tally of Model 3 pre-orders reached 198,000 on Thursday, with 115,000 people paying the $1,000 reservation fee without seeing as much as a picture of the car. ABC News states the Model 3 is the vehicle that could finally make Tesla "a key player in the burgeoning market for mid-priced electric vehicles," with one expert saying it's a "much more critical vehicle than any vehicle that has come before." How important is the Model 3 to Tesla? Slate reports it will "make or break Tesla, both as a company and as an idea" while attempting to turn the company from a "niche luxury brand into a major world automaker." Vox says there could be a hidden reason buyers are tripping over themselves to reserve the Model 3: tax credits. The federal government phases out its $7,500 tax credit for buying an electric car when companies produce 200,000 vehicles, and Tesla is nearing that cutoff. The Wall Street Journal reports the Model 3 represents a huge challenge for Tesla, which has only made around 110,000 vehicles in its history. It's now staring down the barrel of nearly 200,000 pre-orders with 20 months to ramp up production. The Los Angeles Times gives consumers five reasons not to believe the Model 3 hype, including a history of quality problems at Tesla and the company's questionable financial health. Finally, Gizmodo throws a bucket of cold water on the whole thing, noting that "the Model 3 cannot be the hero for the US’s energy woes if we don’t fix a few serious problems with our infrastructure first."