First Look: The Tesla Model 3 in Action

Elon Musk dropped the first video the public has seen of a Tesla Model 3 release candidate on Friday. It’s only five seconds long, but that’s enough to tell that yep, it’s definitely an incredible vehicle. After a series of prototype sightings, it’s the first glimpse of what the company’s next major project will look like when it hits the streets.

In the video, we see a group of people in both front and back seats accelerate down a short road, before coming to a stop a few yards away. The five-second footage doesn’t reveal much, but it does confirm that the company has a functional release candidate vehicle ready to drive. The $35,000 entry-level vehicle is set to enter full production this summer, but Tesla has been re-tooling its Fremont facility to produce the new cars for weeks, and it looks like it has finally borne fruit (if a sleek, all-black car is a fruit, that is).

Musk recently told investors on a recent secret call that the company would skip the beta testing process and reveal a release candidate within a week or two. The Model 3 has been spotted in prototype form around the SpaceX campus, but this is the first time we’ve seen the car in release candidate form.

Friday’s footage confirms the company has met its “week or two” deadline, and with a large backlog of orders to fulfill, it’ll be good news for fans on the edge of their seat wondering if the company will meet its deadlines.

The Model 3 is going to be the company’s first foray into the entry-level electric vehicle market, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to lose some of Tesla’s signature technologies. The Model 3 will have Autopilot capabilities, the semi-autonomous driving system currently in use on the Model S and Model X, and it will support the full self-driving capabilities that are expected to launch later this year.

It will, however, lack some of the other features drivers have come to expect from Tesla. The car will contain only one computer screen, for example, as opposed to the dual screen setup used to provide vital information to the driver. Despite the reduced feature set, Tesla is expecting to sell a large number of Model 3 vehicles, producing 250,000 cars per year by 2018.