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Tesla fans rejoice — the newest and cheapest model is almost here

In this March 31, 2016, file photo, Tesla Motors unveiled the new lower-priced Model 3 sedan at the Tesla Motors design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. Electric car maker Tesla said on Monday that its Model 3 car will go on sale on Friday.
In this March 31, 2016, file photo, Tesla Motors unveiled the new lower-priced Model 3 sedan at the Tesla Motors design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. Electric car maker Tesla said on Monday that its Model 3 car will go on sale on Friday. AP

Tesla lovers take note — the latest and cheapest model is almost ready to hit the streets.

Tesla founder Elon Musk tweeted late Sunday night about a handover party for the first 30 customers who will receive their Model 3s on July 28. Musk said production would grow exponentially with 100 cars in August and 1,500 by September. He said Tesla has passed all regulatory hurdles and expects the first car to roll off the production line Friday.

By December, Musk said it “looks like” the company can produce 20,000 vehicles a month.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the future of the electric-car company is riding on the Model 3, which has a base price around $35,000 and a range of 215 miles. The original model sells for $70,000 and up.

Last month, the Star-Telegram reported that the luxury electric carmaker may be one of the high-end retailers moving into the The Shops at Clearfork in west Fort Worth. Tesla applied for a construction permit at the new upscale shopping center, just off the Chisholm Trail Parkway, where Neiman Marcus is now located.

Tesla currently has a gallery at University Park Village just two miles away that opened 17 months ago. Since Tesla never commented on the Clearfork gallery, it’s uncertain whether the University Park Village store would remain open.

The automaker also has galleries at Southlake Town Square and NorthPark Center in Dallas, as well as a service center in Farmers Branch. Recently, a Tesla charging station opened in the Arlington Convention Center parking lot. It was the first charging station in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

State law prevents the company from selling its vehicles directly to the public, so customers must place their orders online.

On Monday, Tesla said it shipped more than 22,000 cars and SUVs in the second quarter, bringing its first-half sales to the lower end of its prediction of 47,000 to 50,000 units. It cited a severe shortage of battery packs in slowing shipments. The company said it’s confident that deliveries of its Model S and Model X will continue to grow in the second half of the year.

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna

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