It's been less than 24 hours since Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Model 3 to the world, but more than 180,000 auto enthusiasts have already pre-ordered the $35,000 electric car

Half the price of Tesla's Model S, the four-door Model 3 represents Musk's first real attempt at offering a mass-market vehicle that could pave the way for an industry-wide transition away from fuel-based autos to electric cars. Musk says he's "fairly confident" customers will be able to get behind the wheel of their very own Model 3 before the end of 2017. 

The Model 3 will be able to go from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in less than six seconds and has a range of 215 miles, but Musk spent more time during the presentation in Hawthorne, California, Thursday discussing the car's unique design features. Here are three details that make the Model 3 so special.

1. More room.

The Model 3 fits five adults "comfortably," according to Musk, because his design team compressed the instrument panel and moved it forward. He mentioned that because there is no internal combustion engine, there is no need for a fire wall to protect passengers. "That's what gives you the leg room to have five adults," Musk said, adding that both the first and second row have "plenty of leg room."

2. Glass roof.

The Model 3's roof is one continuous pane of glass, putting any sunroof--or moonroof--to shame. The headroom of the interior combined with the glass roof provides an amazing "feeling of openness," according to Musk. "It has by far the best roominess of any car in this size," he said, adding that you can also fit a seven-foot surfboard in the inside.

3. Cargo space galore.

With no engine under the hood, the Model 3 has plenty of space for a trunk in the front and rear. "It has more cargo capacity that any gasoline car of the same external dimensions," Musk said. 

To make the Model 3 as convenient as possible for long trips, Musk pledged to double the 3,600 supercharging stations worldwide--to around 7,200--by the end of 2017. Superchargers are free stations that can charge Model S in a matter of minutes, instead of hours. The stations are strategically located near restaurants, shopping centers, and wifi hot spots.

Published on: Apr 1, 2016