CALIFORNIA - Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk says pre-orders of the firm's much-anticipated Model 3 electric car have passed the 250,000 mark. The California-based firm unveiled the five-seater car - its lowest-cost vehicle to date - on Thursday. Mr Musk tweeted he would give further updates on Sunday and Wednesday. Pre-orders of the Model 3 will not necessarily all translate into actual sales when the car is released, with first deliveries in late 2017. It can be ordered in advance in dozens of countries, including the UK, Republic of Ireland, Brazil, India, China and New Zealand. Potential car owners need to put down $1,000 deposits to reserve their vehicles. Such has been the interest that Mr Musk tweeted the company was "definitely going to need to rethink production planning". Mr Musk has said his goal is to produce about 500,000 vehicles a year once production is at full capacity. The basic model will start at $35,000 (£24,423) and have a range of at least 215 miles (346km) per charge.(FA)