Tesla is preparing to take the wraps off its long-awaited budget electric sedan, the Model 3. The hype began with a single tweet of a photo showcasing a forward-looking view of the Model S, the Model X and a dark silhouette representing the newcomer.

Existing Tesla owners have reportedly received an e-mail regarding the March 31 launch event. In it, the electric car company said it has set aside 650 spots at the upcoming event specifically for current Tesla owners and their guests.

The company will be hosting a lottery-style drawing for those spots later today and will notify the lucky winners tomorrow.

Everything the company has put out to date – the Roadster, the Model S sedan and the Model X crossover SUV – has come at a premium price point. The Model 3 will be the company's first "mainstream" vehicle with a starting price of around $35,000 before incentives. It's expected to offer a driving range of at least 200 miles on a single charge.

To say the Model 3 is the company's most important product to date would be a massive understatement.

The March 31 event will take place at Tesla's design studio in Hawthorne, California. Doors open at 7 pm PDT with CEO Elon Musk taking the stage around 8:30 pm. Those who can't make it can watch the event via livestream on Tesla's website, we're told.

Despite the unveiling, the Model 3 isn't expected to begin shipping to buyers until late 2017.