The Tesla Model 3, a mass-priced electric car that's not yet on sale, has had a huge impact on the auto industry.

The fact that Silicon Valley carmaker Tesla Motors could get more than 350,000 people to put down $1,000 each for a vehicle they wouldn't receive for 18 months or more was astounding enough.

But Tesla CEO Elon Musk's goal of boosting his company's production by a factor of 10 in just three years—from 50,000 last year to 500,000 in 2018—was seen by much of the industry as delusional.

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Launching any new car model is challenging enough for established carmakers, much less when it's only your fourth vehicle ever.

If there's also a multi-billion-dollar battery factory that has to go into production and reliably produce millions of lithium-ion cells to make your new car possible, that multiplies the complexity by a lot.

The result is that much of the auto industry doesn't believe Tesla can meet its announced schedule of delivering production Model 3s before the end of next year.

To get a bit of data on what green-car fans think is a likely delivery date, we surveyed our Twitter followers as to when they thought the first Model 3s might reach their eager buyers.

The results indicate that Tesla has a lot of fans and believers among survey respondents.

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A majority of the responses indicated that if the schedule does slip, it would only be by six months or less.

About a third (34 percent) of survey participants said the first Model 3s would arrive between July and December next year—meeting Musk's promise.

Tesla Model 3 design prototype - reveal event - March 2016

Tesla Model 3 design prototype - reveal event - March 2016

A slightly larger proportion (38 percent) said the first-arrival date would slip to the first half of 2018.

And 20 percent of respondents said it would happen in July through December of 2018, or essentially a year's delay from the announced timing.

Only 8 percent of survey respondents said the Model 3 would arrive "in 2019 or later, or never," indicating a strong over confidence among our Twitter followers that Tesla can do what it says it plans to do.

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There's probably another survey to be done about actual volumes of the car and whether Musk's target of building half a million cars a year by the end of 2018 is doable.

Still, we suspect that this poll might produce more skeptical results if it were done among the auto industry at large.

Which is one of the reasons that the Tesla Model 3 story continues to be fascinating to follow.


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