Tesla hopes to get populist with new Model 3

The mass-market car scheduled to hit the road in 2017...

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has unveiled its latest vehicle and the first, the company says, aimed at the mass market.

The Model 3 is set to retail at a base price of $35,000 and will have a range of 215 miles.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told fans gathered in a Californian design facility that he is "fairly confident" that the car will go on sale late next year in the US.

Full production will follow in 2018 with Musk admitting that it may take until 2020 to fulfil demand.

Despite Musk's vague statement on Thursday night, he also confirmed that his company had received 115,000 reservations for the car in the first 90 minutes it was available. This tops the approximately 107,000 vehicles the company has sold in total to date.

Reservations cost $1,000.

Tesla's first people's car will comfortably seat five, go from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds and boast a 15-inch flat screen central command unit.

Design chief Franz von Holzhausen said that it will be an "Audi A4, BMW 3-series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class type of vehicle that will offer everything".

The vehicle follows an affordable, mass production model unlike the luxury, lower-volume production of Tesla’s Roadster, Model S and Model X.

It can be seen as the final stage of the "master plan" Musk outlined a decade ago:

  1. Build sports car
  2. Use that money to build an affordable car
  3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
  4. While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options