Orders for lower-price Tesla reach 276,000

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DETROIT (AP) — Tesla Motors’ CEO says worldwide orders for a new lower-priced electric car hit 276,000 last weekend.

CEO Elon Musk posted the number Sunday on his Twitter feed. He says if the trend continues orders will hit 500,000.

Tesla’s new Model 3 starts at $35,000 and has a range of 215 miles per charge. Customers must put down $1,000 to order the cars, which go on sale in late 2017.

Musk says in tweets that Model 3 steering controls will feel like a spaceship. He also says it will be rear-wheel-drive with optional all-wheel-drive.

The orders make it likely that many won’t get a $7,500 U.S. electric car tax credit. The credit phases out when a manufacturer hits 200,000 sales. Tesla won’t say how many orders came from the U.S.