More than a hundred queued to pay a deposit for a telsa model 3 at st leonards dealership in sydney

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MORE than 100 people queued in Sydney and Melbourne for up to 48 hours for the privilege of paying a $1500 deposit to buy a car they hadn’t seen, didn’t know how much it would cost and won’t be driving before 2018.

Part of the attraction came in the timing Australia was the first country in the world to start taking pre-orders of the Tesla Model 3 at 8am yesterday.

That makes Andreas Stephens, of Sydney, the first person to order the small sedan, though he wont be the first to own one. Existing Telsa owners who sign up for a Model 3 earn priority in the pre-order queue.

That didnt stop Stephens from camping outside the St Leonards dealership for 48 hours armed with only a chair. It was a lonely vigil: his next queue-mate didnt arrive until 5.30pm on Wednesday.

Andreas said he was prepared to wait to show his support for Teslas approach to mobility.

There were plenty of people coming up (to the dealership) to recharge their Model Ss, Andreas noted, I cant afford that so Im looking for a more commercially-priced car that is based on the same philosophy.

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Of the delay in getting a car he stated: Im not in a hurry as such to get the car, so the two or three-year wait is not a concern Im not a 16-year-old chasing the latest iPhone.

The Model 3 is an electric vehicle built for middle-class consumption with an expected starting price of $55,000-$60,000 roughly the price of an Audi A4, BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The cost is about half that of the Model S sedan already on sale in Australia and is a large reason why Telsa founder Elon Musk expects the Model 3 to make battery-powered vehicles a mainstream proposition.

And he needs to. To date Tesla has yet to make a profit and needs a high-volume, low cost model to generate sales and reverse an increasing cash-drain The Wall St Journal reports annual losses tripled in 2015 to $1.17 billion despite a 27 per cent sales increase.

The market has backed the Model 3 by boosting the share price back to its January highs ahead of todays global launch of the car, which takes place from 2.30pm local time.

Beyond the Model 3 sedan expect to see spin-offs including a coupe and SUV in the near future.

Specifications for the Model 3 have yet to be announced but the car is reputed to be capable with optional battery pack upgrades of travelling more than 400km/h on a charge and hitting 100km/h in less than four seconds faster than a Holden Commodore V8. Dont expect to pay $60K for that version, though.