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For Tesla, everything is riding on the Model 3

Mainstream Model 3 holds promise and peril for Tesla

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FREMONT, Calif. (AP) — For Tesla, everything is riding on the Model 3.

The electric car company’s newest vehicle is set to go to its first 30 customers Friday evening. Its $35,000 starting price — half the cost of Tesla’s previous models — and 215-mile range could bring hundreds of thousands of customers into the automaker’s fold, taking it from a niche luxury brand to the mainstream.

Those higher sales could finally make Tesla profitable and accelerate its plans for future products like SUVs and pickup trucks.

Or the Model 3 could dash Tesla’s dreams.

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