During a ceremony at the USA automaker's manufacturing plant in Fremont, Calif., Tesla CEO Elon Musk presented the new, more affordable electric cars to a group of 30 employees selected to be the first owners.
Our brief excursion also allowed us to test the Autopilot, a system that still feels like witchcraft.
That could be a stretch for some buyers, especially since there are limits on the $7,500 US tax credit for electric cars.
The first 30 Model 3s were given Friday to employee buyers who can provide Tesla with feedback, according to Heavy.com. "Frankly, we'll be in production hell", he told the audience. Like most of Tesla's events, the Model 3 delivery featured a black-clad Elon Musk, who aside from being CEO embraces his role as chief electric evangelist.
A longer-range version of the auto is priced at $44,000 and will drive 310 miles (500 km) on a single charge.
Those specs are for the single motor rear-wheel-drive version of the Model 3. "This is where we are for at least six months".
Some of the executives responsible for the Model 3 have been there from the beginning, leading Tesla from a tiny upstart to an icon of automotive desire.
When it comes to performance, the Model 3 will pretty much destroy anything else at the price point in an acceleration race.
One pretty cool but also slightly troubling aspect to the Model 3 is that your smartphone will be the only key.
Previous news from Tesla indicated that the first batch of cars will be rear-wheel drive, with all-wheel-drive models to follow at an unspecified date. The company built the Model 3 to be the world's first mass-market electric vehicle to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. Not to mention, the Model 3's closest counterpart, the Chevy Bolt, has not logged overwhelming sales.
There are 10,000 unique parts in the Model 3, two-thirds of which are sourced from North America. Musk stated that the company has produced 50 production cars this month, with the other 20 vehicles being used for validation testing. In the first 24hrs following the announcement of the Model 3 past year Tesla had taken 115,000 reservations, in 48hrs that figure rose to 232,000, in the first week the number hit 325,000 delivering potential sales revenue of $14bn.
All of which is well and good, but when can you expect your Model 3?
The Tesla Model 3 measures 4,694mm in length, 1,849mm wide and it's 1,443mm tall and has a long wheelbase of 2,875mm and weighs 1,610kg.
Tesla delivered the first 30 of the sedans and says it will begin selling a vehicle with 220 miles of range that starts at $35,000 this fall.
Tesla will then place your order in line and deliver the vehicle as it becomes available in your region.
"I know I'm sandbagging a lot", Musk said.
Tesla referred to the arrival of the Model 3 as a "crucial step" in the company's mission to speed the transition to renewable energy. Premium goodies such as leather trim, 12-way adjustable seats and better audio can be added with a $5,000 Premium Upgrades package.