Tesla will live stream video from the launch of its new car, the Model 3. The event takes place at its Hawthorne, California, facility on 31 March and will be the first time anyone outside of Tesla has seen the new electric car.

Following in the tyremarks of the Roadster, Model S and Model X, the Model 3 will be Tesla's most affordable car yet, with a price of around £30,000. The car is expected to be smaller than the Model S and compete against the likes of the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. It is thought to have an all-electric range of around 200-220 miles.

Tesla has invited US journalists and select customers to the event, but for those unable to attend there will be a live stream on the company's website. Chief executive Elon Musk recently said he wasn't sure how to reveal the Model 3, and if the entire car would be shown off at the 31 March event, or teased gradually ahead of its 2017 release date.

It now looks like the car will be shown in full, but it is plausible that the interior will remain hidden behind tinted glass - a technique occasionally used by car makers - until a later date.

Tesla says "less then" 800 guests will attend the "intimate" event, with 650 of these being Tesla customers who won their tickets through a lottery system. Customers wishing to attend must register before midday on 16 March (PST), then the winners will be contacted with an invitation the following day. The event will be broadcast live from 8:30pm until 11:30pm local time (4:30am - 6:30am, 1 April GMT).

The Model 3 is hugely important for Tesla. It will see the company perform a make-or-break expansion from a niche company selling six-figures cars to early adopters, to a firm looking to compete against the biggest and most successful car makers in the world, and in a fiercely competitive section of the market.