For a decade, the company has been a manufacturer of high-end electric cars in small numbers. But now, Tesla is aiming at much loftier goals. It wants not only to become a large-scale producer in the suddenly crowded field of battery-powered vehicles but also to lure consumers away from mainstream, gasoline-powered automobiles.
Yet Tesla’s expansion comes with a set of risks. It plans to more than quadruple its annual production to more than a half-million vehicles, while still maintaining its image as an enlightened outlier in an industry long dominated by global giants — who are racing to develop electrified vehicles of their own.
Tesla unveiled its new Model 3 sedans, starting at $35,000, in a ceremony on the grounds of its sprawling assembly plant and research facility outside San Francisco. To the cheers of hundreds of employees and invited guests, Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, drove onstage in a Model 3 and heralded a new chapter in the company’s growth.
“The whole point of this company was to make a really great, affordable electric car,” said Musk, a Silicon Valley billionaire and co-founder of Tesla. “And we finally have it.”
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