FREMONT, Calif. — If the gleaming Model 3 rolling out of the Tesla factory here Friday could ask its maker a question, this one would be apt.

“Will I be the next Ford Model T, the spark of a new transportation revolution, or the Ford Edsel, a misfire consigned to the annals of automotive history?”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is sure of the answer.

“The whole point of Tesla was to build a great affordable electric car,” Musk said at gathering of employees and a few dozen media for the rollout of the first Model 3 cars. “That’s what this day means. I’m confident it’ll be the best car in its class, gasoline or not, hands down.”

Certainly a lot rides on the Model 3’s tires. Tesla has become a cultural touchstone on the back of its fast and expensive $69,500-and-up Model S and X electric sedans, but with the $35,000 Model 3 it hopes usher EVs into the mainstream while turbocharging its production numbers to calm investors.

Currently, Tesla produces around 100,000 vehicles per year, all Model S and X. Now with the Model 3, it hopes to ramp up to 500,000.

Tesla’s stock continues to soar despite questions about profitability, rocketing to $334 from $235 in the past 12 months. But some analysts aren’t sure Model 3 can be Tesla’s savior.

“The make-or-break part of this for Tesla isn’t the production numbers, it’s the profitability and ownership experience issues,” says Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.

“If one or both are off, it’s big trouble,” he says. “It’s tough to be a company that specializes in EVs, as they’re only 1% of market and most electric…