The wait is over.
Elon Musk unveiled Tesla's latest electric vehicle, the sleek Model 3, Thursday night in front of a crowd of 800 people in Hawthorne and an enormous audience online via livestream.
Pre-orders for the electric vehicle -- envisioned as Tesla's first affordable electric car for the masses -- began Thursday morning in stores around the world and online starting at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time.
By 10 p.m., roughly 133,000 pre-orders had been placed.
The Model 3 won't be delivered until late 2017 at the earliest, but a select few people got to take a ride in the new electric vehicle Thursday night.
In groups of three, the auto press and special guests were chauffeured along a half-mile track.
By general agreement, the car is sleek, silent and smart-looking. A comfortable five-seater, it was roomy enough to fit a 6'3" driver and leave leg room for the 6' passenger behind him. The use of a single piece of glass to cover the rear seating area increased the roomy feeling.
The ride included a short straightaway section long enough to allow one burst of electric acceleration for which Teslas are deservedly famous.
At 10 p.m., after this reporter had taken his spin, there were still dozens of others eager to ride.
Tesla raked it in Thursday, accepting 115,000 pre-orders of the Model 3 before the car was even unveiled to the public.
With the car boasting a starting price tag of $35,000, numbers-savvy people online were quick to point out that that's a cool $4 billion for Tesla.
But not quite - people put down deposits of $1,000 with the option to cancel anytime.
Still, that's a lot of dough.
Tesla has had trouble delivering its cars on time in the past, but Musk says things will be different with the Model 3.
The entrepreneur got a big laugh from the audience when he said the electric vehicle would be delivered next year and "I do feel fairly confident it will be next year."
At $35,000, Musk promised "you will not be able to buy a better car, any better car, for less than that."
The Model S and X made the Model 3 possible. So to all of you who bought an S or an X, thanks for paying for this.
All Model 3s are expected to come standard with supercharging.
Supercharger stations, located throughout the U.S., are billed as a way to let Tesla owners charge their cars within minutes.
By 2017, Musk hopes to double the number of superchargers and quadruple the number of destination chargers available to Tesla owners. That's about 7,200 superchargers and 15,000 destination chargers.
A lot about having a car is about freedom -- going where you want to go. The supercharger is critical to that.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, speaking to an adoring crowd of Tesla fans, pronounced the Model 3 a great success upon its birth tonight in Hawthorne.
Pulling the covers off the fourth vehicle in the company's short history, Musk declared that more than 115,000 vehicles had been pre-ordered in the last 24 hours.
The lower, sleeker Tesla – at least 20% smaller in stature than its bigger brother, the Model S – will be able to go from 0 to 60 in less than six seconds in its most affordable configuration.
That version also will be fitted with Tesla's "autopilot" features, which have helped the car be among the safest on highways.
Standing before a collection of new Model 3s, Musk reminded the audience that this car represents the culmination of a long-held dream to bring affordable, zero-pollution vehicles to the world's highways.
Safety: 5-star safety rating in every category
Speed: Base model will go from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds, with some models that go faster.
Range: EPA rating of at least 215 miles per charge
Other features: autopilot hardware, fits five adults comfortably, front and rear cargo trunks