By on May 11, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

At the Tesla Model 3’s glitzy unveiling, everyone knew the model was a half-baked cake. Now, company founder Elon Musk admits the much-hyped electric sedan still isn’t out of the oven.

Musk said in a recent conference call that the design of the $35,000 Model 3 EV still isn’t finalized, according to Reuters, and the company plans a spending spree to get the model into production on time.

Tesla already has around 400,000 reservations for the lower-priced, 215-mile EV, and plans to begin production in late 2017. Last week, Musk took to Twitter to warn prospective buyers that a delayed order could mean delivery in 2019, despite plans to produce between 100,000 and 200,000 Model 3s before the end of next year.

Achieving a factory output of 500,000 Teslas (all models) in 2018 won’t be cheap, but first the company needs to nail down supplier issues and finalize a design for its mass-market wonder car.

Musk said in the conference call that Model 3 engineering decisions will continue for another six to nine weeks before the model reaches its final design. At the same time, the company is evaluating and selecting suppliers.

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson told Reuters that Musk’s timeline for production, given the groundwork needed, “seems not possible.”

Whether or not that’s true, avoiding the supply issues that delayed Model X production (and led to quality issues) is key to the model’s success, given the anticipated delivery dates for many Model 3 buyers. Musk doesn’t want to start handing back $1,000 deposits as nervous would-be buyers get cold feet.

A delay would damage the company’s brand and send some EV buyers into the waiting arms of General Motors, Nissan, and other electric car producers.

Tesla kept spending low for the first quarter of this year, but the company expects to shell out $2 billion over the rest of the year to boost production capability. One quarter of that cash will be sunk into Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory, which will supply the Model 3’s batteries.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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128 Comments on “Tesla Model 3’s Design Isn’t Finalized; Musk Flings Cash to Kick-Start Production...”


  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The front end is just terrible. Many others have a similar style but that lack of grill opening is just about as poorly done as can be.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Not much way around it. it has to meet the EU pedestrian safety regulations, so the nose more or less has to have that shape to pass the “Lower Leg Impact” test. usually a grille is a convenient way to “hide” it.

      • 0 avatar
        redliner

        Maybe Tesla can design two front fascias. One for places like the US that don’t have pedestrian safety rules, (We don’t have pedestrian safety rules, right?) and a different front fascia for those “other countries”. Kind of the reverse of how 1970 cars in the USA had those ugly tacked on bumpers.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        How do Ferrari et al get around this?

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          if i recall..there is some STRANGE rule that allows the very special niche cars to avoid regulations. Due to the rule that if the regulations hurt the car manufacturer financially, they are exempt from the standard placed upon all others.
          I think most exoctic cars like astin martin use this exemption all the time.
          Seems very wrong.
          But yet it does exist.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            The issue with pedestrian safety is having a soft surface for them to impact. The high noses we see today reflect the effort to get a few inches between the hood and the hard points of the engine.

            Ferrari gets around it by having the engine in the back.

            Note: this is European regulation, not US.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “The issue with pedestrian safety is having a soft surface for them to impact. The high noses we see today reflect the effort to get a few inches between the hood and the hard points of the engine.”

            AFAIK there are three tests. One of them is “Lower Leg Impact,” which is why so many cars have that flat bullnose. hood height and hood-to-engine clearance are for head and upper body impact protection.

            http://www.slideshare.net/GlobalNCAP/2014-unrsc-18-new-york-ped-safety

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Elon Musk’s business model regarding Model 3:

            Step 1 – Announce estimated price

            Step 2 – Work up cobbled-together prototype for journalists to drive in golf kart fashion on 900 foot circular course inside building

            Step 3 – Throw out some silly a$$ guestimates as to specifications

            Step 4 – Crowdfund 350,000 $1,000 “pre-order” deposits

            Step 4 – Hurry up & try to finish what are 1/20th completed product plans

            Step 5 – Start thinking about how to obtain enough batteries to produce Model 3

            Step 6 – Start thinking about how to obtain enough parts to produce Model 3

            Step 7 – Start thinking about how/where to build even 1/3rd the 500,000 Model 3s hinted at, let alone all of them

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            There’s also the requirement that a body goes over the car rather than under. I think many front spoilers are actually designed for that purpose rather than airflow.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      I disagree. I love the front design. The major failure is the lack of lift back.

    • 0 avatar
      raffi14

      Well at least it gives people something to talk about.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I’m betting the Chevy Volt will be ready on schedule. That will make it the only long range EV in the mid $30K price range long before the Model is produced in significant quantities.
    How many of the people who put down deposits will want to wait until 2019 or probably longer. Not me, but I have no skin in the Tesla queue.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I tend to believe a large portion of the people who lined up and plunked down a reservation for a Model 3 did so just to be part of something “trendy.” like the people who line up for the latest iPhone on launch day, even though you’ll be able to buy that model of phone for at least 18 months. it’s “Look at me, I’m part of something!”

      these people wouldn’t buy a Bolt because it’s not made by Tesla. and they’d probably sneer at the mere suggestion.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        JimZ,
        I think you have a point. But how are Tesla drivers any different from BMW drivers who would rather starve than drive a ‘soulless econobox’? How are they any different from Starbucks drinkers who turn up their noses at Dunkin’?

        People have brand preferences, and can be snobby. And?

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          if it’s based on something tangible, then that’s one thing. It’s reasonable to be e.g. a Toyota fan if you’ve had nothing but good experiences with their cars. It’s reasonable to be an Apple fan if you’ve had good experiences with their products. I don’t think it’s reasonable to be a fan of a brand based on little more than hot air, or because its CEO answers your tweets.

          • 0 avatar
            Jason

            The typical Apple fan (the ones that I personally know, anyway) have no experience with anything else. They don’t even understand what they’re a fan of, because it’s in total isolation vs. alternatives.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I see, there’s a rule book for being a fan that is based in tangible, reasonable evidence. How does this explain the Cleveland Browns dawg pound?

            As it turns out, people have the right to be fans of whatever they please. Annually on a global basis, it is estimated that between 5-10 million people are killed by vehicles, a combination of accidents and pollution.

            I am a fan of any company that can reduce that number in a meaningful way.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I didn’t say there was a “rule book,” I’m giving my opinion. You’re taking my opinions of Tesla Motors as some sort of personal insult towards you, and I can’t figure out why.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Insulted? Why would you say that? I love to be called someone who is so shallow they wrote a check for $1,000 just to be trendy and to be able to say “Look at me; I’m part of something!”

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I think you’ve made it abundantly clear you intend to follow through with a purchase of a Model 3. Step back and consider the possibility, then, that *I am not talking about you.*

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Jim, Even if you are talking about VoGo, so what? When someone consistently posts fandom comments, they should make sure their skin is tough enough to be called out on it. If not, the comments section might not be for them.

            I love Laura Scudders peanut butter. Can’t get enough of it. If someone says I’m a dope because I haven’t seen the light of Jif or Skippy, why would I care?

      • 0 avatar
        NN

        You are right that Model 3 reservation holders won’t care about the Bolt or other electric cars. I wouldn’t dismiss them as merely caring about being trendy. As the Model S has proved, the Tesla will be a more innovative car. Autopilot, nationwide supercharging, updates done over the air, direct purchasing/interaction, easy integration with the future SolarCity/Tesla Powerwall home power systems. Made in the USA with massive investments being made in US factories and suppliers (Tesla is now the largest automotive employer in California). They are buying faithfully into a brand but it is not simply because it’s trendy, there are tangible reasons behind their decisions, and if you have $1000 to burn, there are much worse ways to do it.
        Also, IMO it’s a fantastic looking car and should be kept without a grille, as it identifies the car as unique.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          I mainly don’t care about the bolt because 1) I’m fairly certain it’s going to feel like an econobox, and 2) I care about Tesla’s supercharger network (and to a lesser extent, I like the idea of buying outside the dealership model).

          Now, that being said, it’s possible, though unlikely, that the model 3 will either 1) feel like an econobox, or 2) be so delayed I’ll need to make another purchase. And it’s also possible that the bolt will have an epic level of interior design, handling, and power to change my mind, and that GM may build a network of their own. So I’m not entirely against the idea of the Bolt, I just find it unlikely to tick the boxes I care about.

      • 0 avatar
        Stevo

        My guess is that a large contingent of those that have placed deposits are parents that have an S in the garage and now drive an X (there are three X’s at my kids school pull through already – and it’s a small school) that are ordering to be able to get their teen drivers the “budget” Tesla once they are released, because they don’t want to “spoil them” with the “adult” version. I kid you not. It isn’t really wanting to be part of the trend, so to speak, just people with lots to spend.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      The base Bolt doesn’t include CCS quick charging which could add a several thousand dollars. Quick charging is a critical feature – as in don’t order one without it. It’s probably going to put it into the low $40k range.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Has Tesla said anything about a $35K base Model 3 being able to use the SuperCharger network? Base Model S’s didn’t have that capability originally.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        @mcs – The Bolt won’t include CCS and it will be a three thousand dollar option? I raise a dubious and reproachful eyebrow. What’s the evidence that it won’t include CCS? All but the cheapest Nissan Leaf does, the VW e-Golf does, the revised Focus EV will, the Kia Soul EV does, etc…and GM has indicated that the “base” Bolt will be quite well equipped. If it is optional, what’s the evidence that it will cost three thousand dollars? It’s more like three hundred on the Chevy Spark EV.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          I’m not sure where I got that number – thought I read it somewhere. Checking on the Spark site, they charge $750, so maybe that’s a more accurate estimate. Don’t know why they’d make something that critical optional when it’s only an additional $750. There may be some other features optional on the Bolt that are standard on the 3. Forward automatic braking is standard on the 3, but GM charges $1500 for it on Volt, so it may be the same on the Bolt. A Bolt equipped similar to a 3 could very well approach $40,000 and thanks to Volt sales, the $7500 government subsidy will go away not long after Teslas.

          Here’s once source that states that CCS is optional:

          http://blog.caranddriver.com/we-briefly-drove-the-2017-chevrolet-bolt-ev-and-now-were-charged-up-about-it/

          I found the site that states that forward pedestrian alert, forward collision alert, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert are optional on the Bolt. It’s the official Bolt site:

          http://www.chevrolet.com/bolt-ev-electric-vehicle.html

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    “A delay would damage the company’s brand ”

    Steph….obviously you don’t really understand the power of blind faith. it moves armies.

    …or spend some time in a tent revival some time…very scary. you will see the glazed over eyes and sweat drenched giving all they have to the reverend.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      “A delay would damage Tesla’s brand” is kind of like saying “The near mathematical impossibility of gaining enough delegates to secure the nomination would damage Bernie’s brand”

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      A delay would be unfortunate, but Tesla hasn’t built its brand on timely deliveries. A half-baked design and implementation would damage Tesla’s brand. I can’t see the Model3 being production-ready in two years if they’re still futzing over the design, but I expect they’ll pull a Tucker and release a few ringers in 2018 so they can say they made the deadline.

      Getting the product right is far more important than meeting some arbitrary deadline. But they can’t wait forever, of course.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    There’s a big difference between “half baked” and “six to nine weeks before the model reaches its final design.”

    This article is stating the obvious. Is any car design fully frozen 18 months before job 1? What would be the advantage of that?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Beat me to it.

      This is the normal engineering process. Functional prototypes always imbue the sense of ‘finished’, when they are not. Of course it will take some time to work out details. Even first-pass tooling will need tweaking.

      This is a non-story, but it’s worth running a few more times over the next year.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Is any car design fully frozen 18 months before job 1? What would be the advantage of that?”

      yes, more or less. There may be late changes if issues arise in validation testing, but typically the design is considered “final” months before the first hand-built prototypes are manufactured. Otherwise how could you expect suppliers to tool up? tooling lead time is on the order of 14-16 weeks depending on what you’re making. If the design’s not final, then you run the risk of having to throw out your tooling and start over.

      This really makes Tesla look like they have no idea how to be a car company. I’m starting to doubt whether they’ll even ship before 2020.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Jim,

        I’m sure you are correct about major components, but the Taurus book (“Car: A Drama of The American Workplace”) made it sound like they were still working on less critical stuff until production started, and sometimes after.

        That’s the extent of my knowledge. I know other readers have hands-on experience.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          there are always late changes, but those are generally for fit issues, or assembly aids, or if a part or system failed validation testing. Musk’s words sound like they still haven’t finalized Basic Design yet. And hell, if they’re still *sourcing suppliers* then they’re WAY behind. every other company has long since defined their maker layout (sourcing strategy) while the car still exists only in CAD.

          • 0 avatar
            Jason

            “This really makes Tesla look like they have no idea how to be a car company.”

            On the other hand, Tesla certainly has a lot more cars on the road than you do.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “On the other hand, Tesla certainly has a lot more cars on the road than you do.”

            I wouldn’t be so sure about that.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            re: sourcing suppliers, here’s what the Reuters article says:

            “We are currently evaluating, qualifying and selecting our suppliers”

            To me that has a different meaning than *sourcing*. It sounds like they have suppliers and are evaluating bids and risk factors. presumably, this is for components that have shorter lead times (less than 18 months).
            Tesla reportedly got burned by some suppliers on the Model X, so it makes sense for them to learn from the experience. It should go without saying that all auto manufacturers occasionally get burned by suppliers, and vice versa.

            I still think that this article isn’t differentiating standard procedures from worrisome developments. Hard to tell which is which.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “To me that has a different meaning than *sourcing*. It sounds like they have suppliers and are evaluating bids and risk factors. ”

            it’s a bit “jargon-ish,” but when you “source” a part it means you’ve done all of the work selecting a supplier and have signed the contracts accepting the supplier’s bid. At that point the supplier can start work on designing and building the part. if it’s build-to-print (i.e. Tesla designed the part) then that kicks off the tooling.

            Musk’s wording sounds like they’re still in the request-for-quotation (RFQ) stage, which is a long way before a supplier can start making parts.

            “Tesla reportedly got burned by some suppliers on the Model X, so it makes sense for them to learn from the experience. It should go without saying that all auto manufacturers occasionally get burned by suppliers, and vice versa.”

            that’s Tesla’s side of the story. Given the fact that the supplier they’re pitching a fit over relates to the Falcon doors, it’s also quite likely they came up with an impractical design which is going to be difficult for any supplier to manufacture.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            I think the only basic design issue that I think would be a problem is if they haven’t finalized the back-end of the car. That would have an impact on the glass supplier and I don’t know what their turn-around would be. And, it’s tough to store cars out in the yard missing roofs, although I suppose you could cover them.

            I remember during the Johnson Controls seating strike, Ford pushed trucks out the door and into the yard without seats, so it wouldn’t be a huge precedent.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            To be fair, Tesla has admitted that they were stubborn about the innovative door and seat design, and that this caused a messy launch. They are committed to avoiding these mistakes with the Model 3, which makes sense, since it is a more mass market vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            Jimz

            watching you face off with the Tesla faithful reminds me of the time I was faced with a religious argument with a wacho bunch who were speaking in tongues!
            Eventually you either have to put them out of their misery or you your own by running away.

            drop the mic and turn away.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “watching you face off with the Tesla faithful reminds me of the time I was faced with a religious argument with a wacho bunch who were speaking in tongues!”

            not at all. I like the fact that Tesla is here and are doing what they do. I’ve driven Model Ss and they do what they were promised to do. I like the fact that Tesla has changed the mindset of the industry and made it possible for everyone else to justify the development of long-range EVs when before the most they could sell to their boards were 70-mile compliance cars.

            I just try to be realistic about where they are as a company.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            The problem here is we’re trying to parse a few paragraphs of news quote to take educated guesses at what they mean. I suppose in a few weeks we’ll see where they are, but it’s certainly difficult to gauge actual progress otherwise.

            Hey, given the number of Tesla stories TTAC seems to want to run, how about running an article to come up with some questions for Tesla from the B&B and taking them to their press team?

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            Based on what was shown and these comments, I interpret it to be a matter of finalizing the ‘graphics’ of the car. The cars they drove around did their job mechanically, so I think the internals only need fine-tune adjusting. The interior was probably still being worked on. I think the main lines of the car, the shapes of the panels, etc., won’t change, but we will see inconsequential cosmetic changes to the front end, just like we saw with the concept X versus the production X.

      • 0 avatar
        CH1

        Here’s an example supporting JimZ’s points. The Volvo S90 was revealed last Dec and started series production two weeks ago. The V90 was revealed in Feb and will start production next month. The V90 Cross Country has yet to be revealed. Dennis Nobelius, the project manager for the 90 series cars, said the designs for all three were already complete in an Oct 2014 interview.

        The following excerpt from the interview (translated from Swedish via Google) gives an overview of the process. PB is the interviewer.

        PB: What lies ahead now, which piles you have on your desktop?

        DN: … Number two is to release drawings for the V90, S90 and V90 Cross Country. For they are pre-designed, they are ready, right now. Now we will build, and learn from it. But the drawings are complete.

        PB: Does it mean that you are now starting to build real cars, such as you can start testing?

        DN: Yes, but it takes some time for first we must build tools on drawings. But when they are ready, then the cars.

        PB: So you do press tools before you started testing the cars?

        DN: Yes, as soon as the drawings are completed so we start with the tools to everything, sheet metal and plastic and everything. From the first tools you can build the first cars, so it’s just around the corner.

        PB: I thought you hand-make the first cars, made ​​all the plates in the chassis manually first before tools were ordered?

        DN: It depends on what tools it is. Some “soft tools” we do less volume. But any time we go in hard, real tools at once. It’s faster, at lower cost, and we are right then it will be great.

        PB : And do you wrong so it becomes very expensive to change?

        DN: Exactly, that’s why some components are made ​​in the so-called “soft tools” where you can change afterwards if there is something that needs improvement.

        Another thing is that the suppliers as well as production engineering are fully integrated into the design process.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    The walking-back begins!

    I’m curious what percentage of prospective buyers were disappointed the 3 has a teensy trunk instead of a hatchback like the S.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    To save a lot of time, I am providing the following summary of the insight from the “best and the brightest” RE: every article involving Tesla. We can all move on now.

    1. Tesla cannot possibly ramp up annual production from 80K units to 500K in 2 years. Just like they could never have ramped up from 10K annual units to 80K in 2 years.
    2. Tesla cars are just for rich liberal eco-weenies, who are really hypocrites because they fly to Bora Bora and Davos all the time on their fancy private jets, eating lobster and caviar and stuff.
    3. Electric cars suck, because real men drive naturally aspirated RWD V8s only. No matter that the Tesla S is quicker than any other production sedan.
    4. Tesla is run by an egomaniac, and it’s not fair that he gets to date supermodels and I don’t.
    5. Tesla is essentially a subsidiary of CARB and the EPA and exists only because of heavy government subsidies. They should be like GM and Chrysler and never accept a dime from the government, except that one time Obama forced them to go bankrupt.
    6. Batteries are heavy, destroy the environment and can never be recycled. Ever.
    7. Climate change is a myth created by liberal eco-terrorists, designed to regulate honest American businesses into the grave. Those 97% of climate scientists are obviously wrong, or just hate America.
    8. Tesla is not profitable, and can never be profitable, no matter what the Wall Street analysts say
    9. The direct sales model is a loser; customers are perfectly happy with getting screwed over by dealerships
    10. Anyone who puts down a deposit or invests in Tesla is nothing but a sucker who will lose all his money. Take off the rose tinted glasses and get back to the real world, which – FYI – smells like a combination of gasoline and diesel fumes.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      to save time, I’ll sum up the typical Tesla fan responses:

      “How dare you besmirch my favorite car company!”
      “They’re just a start-up!”
      “Enjoy your wooden shoes, you luddite!”
      “Tesla, Tesla, Tesla, oh, and Tesla. By the way, did I mention Tesla?”

      • 0 avatar
        Ihatejalops

        @VoGo

        You remind me of Jared of Silicon Valley without the practical business knowledge.

        97% of scientists eh? http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexepstein/2015/01/06/97-of-climate-scientists-agree-is-100-wrong/#25404e137187

        4 out of 5 doctors used to recommend Camel Cigarettes, so I should smoke them eh? (This is an old advert from an abbot and costello routine)

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          I don’t know your TV show reference, but I find it ironic that you say I lack practical business knowledge, in that I’ve been consulting to businesses for 3 decades now, with some of the most respected companies on the planet.

          But you didn’t know that. You just know that we disagree on something, so you feel the need to insult. I get it.

        • 0 avatar

          It was actually “4 out of 5 doctors smoke Chesterfields”, and was one of multiple ad campaigns implying their brand of cigarettes was healthier for you (without ever actually coming out and making that assertion).

          Lucky Strike and Kent were two others off the top of my head.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Yes, it took decades for many smokers to overcome their denial that smoking was killing them. Millions died. We are seeing the same process ongoing WRT climate denial.

            I get that businesses dislike increased regulation, and that it costs money to green your supply chain. Those are reasonable concerns, but if everyone in the industry is forced to make the same changes, then it really doesn’t confer competitive disadvantage.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            Oh, Vogo

            You had me…then yo lost me.
            Having me on your side is not considered a good thing by you, but you were going well until you bring up the global warming and smoking combo.
            Please…
            I hate morality laws, like all those blue laws still haunting laws today.
            First, smoking is a personal choice and I find it strange how many freedom fighters and individualist turn on a dime and back laws that prevent folks from living their lives, no matter how dangerously, and demand they follow the status quo. You cannot smoke yet you can climb mount everest or bungee jump off bridges or even ride motorcycles.

            And as for global warming…when did we go from discussions on and that there is and always has been global warming to it is understood to be a man made event? Global warming now automatically means man made global warming.
            If you even question this the PC warriors will prosecute you and take away your job.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            You misunderstood me. All I said is that the denial that smoking was dangerous lasted for decades, and led to many deaths. I did not in any way advocate for laws banning or limiting smoking. You made that up.

            As far as anthropomorphic climate change goes, it is established science. I don’t know what a “PC warrior” is, but I am fascinated by Steph Curry.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            VoGo

            hmmm…I don’t remember saying you advocated for laws banning.
            You made that up.
            I was just sayin how I don’t like how the community concern for health ends in laws prohibiting people from living their lives. Oe ending their lives. Or shortening their lives.

            No, I was more concerned with you lumping the two together and implying one equaled the other somehow or implying denial of one is equal in intellectual failure as the other. This doesn’t compute.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Is this what I made up?

            “I hate morality laws, like all those blue laws still haunting laws today.
            First, smoking is a personal choice and I find it strange how many freedom fighters and individualist turn on a dime and back laws that prevent folks from living their lives, no matter how dangerously, and demand they follow the status quo. You cannot smoke yet you can climb mount everest or bungee jump off bridges or even ride motorcycles.”

            Congratulations on your use of the term intellectual failure. It would appear you’ve heard it often.

            Didn’t you promise to stop coming here? Another type of failure.

          • 0 avatar
            Ihatejalops

            @Budda Boom

            It’s most definitely Camel. I wish I could share it. Enjoy :D (not it)

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCMzjJjuxQI

            @VoGo

            You missed the point on the cigarettes; that even educated people get it very wrong (climate change believers with their “soft” science rather than smoking which is “hard” science).

            Please stop with the Climate Change crap. The “science” is barely science at that. Very prominent scientists disagree (like the guy who founded the concept who’s at MIT) with the premise that anthropomorphic warming exists or at the rate which some think it is. We know we have ice ages and have warm ages (because, ya know the ice has to melt), that’s about it. Even Gore’s movie has been wrong for some time. The data manipulated.

            They cry about 1 degree as if that matters.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          @Ihatejalops:

          “97 percent of climate scientists agree that there is a global warming trend and that human beings are the main cause–that is, that we are over 50% responsible.”

          That make you feel better?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            28 sez: 100% of climate scientists agree in that they enjoy being employed, and 97% don’t want to rock the boat.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            @28: so in your world, you can trust exactly 0% of anything any reputable source says, even if they are peer reviewed, because that doesn’t mean anything other than that they are colluding to keep their jobs. Therefore by extension, none of it is true, and there *is* no real science?

            I do not want to live in your world, and I mourn the legions of bright, hard-working scientists devoting their lives to understanding these problems, only to be shrugged off as “lying to keep their paychecks”.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            @28: What proof do you have that all the data is falsified?

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            thus.
            is.
            not.
            true.
            and regardless…consensus does not ever make science. Anymore than the consensus of scientist at one time thought the earth was cooling or even flat.
            but regardless…I do not have the energy nor does this site want to get into another religious argument at the moment.
            We have the Tesla faithful to deal with here.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @orenwolf

            You probably also believe elections are fair and represent the will of the people.

            @dr Z

            What proof is there by the time you read it in a published report that it hasn’t already been altered?

            Then of course, there is the simple fact as science keeps marching forth it corrects old mistakes. My favorite and which is very appropriate in this debate (note the last sentence):

            “Einstein’s Static Universe

            Prior to scientists embracing the notion that the universe was created as the result of the Big Bang, it was commonly believed that the size of the universe was an unchanging constant—it had always been the size it was, and always would be. The idea stated that that the total volume of the universe was effectively fixed, and that the whole construct operated as a closed system. The theory found its biggest adherent in Albert Einstein—the Static Universe is often known as “Einstein’s Universe”—who argued in favor of it and even calculated it into his theory of general relativity.

            How it was Proven Wrong:

            The theory of a static universe was problematic from the start. First of all, a finite universe could theoretically become so dense that it would collapse into a giant black hole, a problem Einstein compensated for with his principle of the “cosmological constant.” Still, the final nail in the coffin for the idea was Edwin Hubble’s discovery of the relationship between red shift—the way the color of heavenly bodies change as they move away from us—and distance, which showed that the universe was indeed expanding. Einstein would subsequently abandon his model, and would later refer to it as the “biggest blunder” of his career. Still, like all cosmological ideas, the expanding universe is just a theory, and a small group of scientists today still subscribe to the old static model.”

            http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-most-famous-scientific-theories-that-turned-out-to-be-wrong.php

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            @28:

            So I’m right then, you believe that nothing science produces can be believed because 1) you trust no studies, regardless of how they are reviewed or how many concur, and 2) science corrects it’s theories when new information becomes available.

            So I guess in your world nothing is true, except what you decide is? Isn’t that the same thing people accuse “believers” of thinking? “Forget the evidence, none of it is trustworthy, I *believe* I’m right, damnit”.

            I honestly don’t want to live in your world. I don’t want to have literally 0 faith that other human beings can ever learn anything new, or, for that matter, ever prove they aren’t just doing it “for the money”. I’m sorry. :(

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            The silly wrt “global warming”, or “man made vs sun spots”, or whatever weirdness gets airtime right now, isn’t whether humans contribute or not. Having a fever arguably contribute at least a bit to global warming….

            Rather, who cares? If you want colder, move further away from the equator. Done, simple. If the polar caps melt and your beach house floods, follow the tidewater a few hundred yards inland and build another one. It’s not like Moses came down from Sinai with an ideal temperature for Gaja to be at, and any other would be an eternal sin.

            It’s just a bloody temperature. If it changes, some people, cultures and species benefit, others don’t.

            At points in our planet’s history, it’s been globally warmer than even flaring every frac site in America could hope to make it. And colder than it would get, even if all of us traded our ICE cars for Iphones with wheels tomorrow. Yet, Gaja seemed to hang in there just fine.

            Half a generation of people trying to make a career out of “look ma, I found out something. It’s, like, an infinitesimal degree warmer today than when grandpa was my age. I’m smart, says my teacher!!!”, then using their newfound revelation as an excuse to bash the other half; who then turns around to bash the former right back for the sin of wearing skinny jeans and being sexually liberated enough to hug trees instead of chicks….. You’d think people would have something more important to try building their identity around.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            @28: Another question is not a suitable answer. Or do you not have an answer? _What_proof_do_you_have?_

            @stuki: It’s more than “an infinitesimal degree” and much less than “when grandpa was my age.” There are reams and reams of observations and data, too much to be discounted as a natural phenomenon or fluke occurence. Your ignorance of the potential effect (“just a temperature”) mankind can have on its environment is quite telling.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            @Drzhivago138


            @stuki: It’s more than “an infinitesimal degree” and much less than “when grandpa was my age.” There are reams and reams of observations and data, too much to be discounted as a natural phenomenon or fluke occurence. Your ignorance of the potential effect (“just a temperature”) mankind can have on its environment is quite telling.

            Placed side by side with a chart of peak and through for global temps since the dawn of Gaja, all your “reams and reams of observations”, is nothing more than an infinitesimal degree. Heck, go back far enough, and the planet was a ball of molten rock. Yet, it still made it, without a Prius or Tesla in sight.

            As long as humans are part of nature (which is becoming increasingly obvious as “we” resemble sheep more and more every year), human influenced temperature changes are perfectly natural. Lots of species influence global temperature. Trees to a much greater extent than humans, so far.

            And it is “just a temperature.” Barring some runaway sci-fi apocalypse that turns earth into Venus, a “theory” that ran out of steam for simple lack of enough tin on the planet to manufacture the required quantities of tinfoil, what’s really the big deal?

            Shitty skiing south of the polar circle, perhaps? Take up surfing….

            More jungles and more desserts? Heck, the only people still producing offspring that will be around to “enjoy” that change, are Africans and Dessert dwelling Muslims. Good for them more of the planet is closer to what they grew up with, as they go about filling it.

            It’s not about reams of data, or human this versus natural that. But rather, who cares? We’ll be warmer than Mars and cooler than Venus. Always have been, always will be. Which makes sense, given our relative distances from the sun. And if that fails, St. Elon is even working on a solution for that contingency.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I agree with your snark, except for #7 and partly #8.

      I really do think ‘climate change’ is a short-sighted political agenda, and Tesla – in spite of my fan-boy status – is on thin ice financially.

      It’s funny how people consider the Model 3 to be a “rich man’s car”.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Reality is that you actually DO need to be pretty well off to afford a $35K car. The “average” family can’t. Rich, no, but the market for $20K cars is a heck of a lot bigger.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @krhodes: The average transaction price for a car in 2014 was $33k, and for trucks it’s over $40k.

          That’s an average for 16 million purchases.

          *Somebody* is buying all these vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          $20K car buyers can always lease $35K cars. Isn’t that what leases are for? BMW 328 leases for the monthly payment on a new Camry?

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        “I really do think ‘climate change’ is a short-sighted political agenda…”

        What data do you have that says that’s all it is?

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @Drzhivago138:

          Every response to the ‘climate change’ issue includes more regulation, higher costs, higher taxes, increased centralization of decision-making (Kyoto Agreement), and demonization of those who are unwilling to go along with it.

          Leftist politics are about control, and control is the central solution to the ‘climate change’ problem.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            So your problem is with the people and the solutions, not the pure data? What solutions would you recommend, then? “Do nothing” is unwise.

  • avatar

    I think it’s a good looking car and as long as it boosts my TESLA share prices I’m all good with it.

    TESLA stock is a roller coaster.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I thought it was pretty clear at the unveiling (and Musk’s subsequent tweets) that the design wasn’t finalized. The two cars shown weren’t even identical in all the details (i.e. door handles).

    This isn’t too surprising- the production Model S has tweaks to the design of the first model S “unveiled”:

    http://www.gizmag.com/tesla-model-s-debut/11339/

  • avatar
    Jason

    I think I would be more worried if the car were 100% complete as of a month ago – would that not mean that it would be outdated by hard launch day (meaning, you can drive it now)?

    Better to lock in the bits that won’t age poorly and do the tech bits at the latest possible hour.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Better to lock in the bits that won’t age poorly and do the tech bits at the latest possible hour.”

      that’s a recipe for high rates of failure in the field, high warranty spend, and increased chances of recall(s.) the environmental/durability requirements typically specified by automakers would make your eyes water.

  • avatar
    The Doctor

    “Musk doesn’t want to start handing back $1,000 deposits as nervous would-be buyers get cold feet.”

    Especially since Tesla’s latest 8K filing showed that the deposits have already left their coffers to pay down their asset-backed credit line…

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Rushed development always ends well, no?

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I really like the styling.
    I’m guessing if I’m still alive in 10 years, I’ll grab a used one for a pittance and look cool driving to my doctor appointments and retiree lunches.

  • avatar
    ilkhan

    It seems impossible because GM would still be working on the design of the Model S at this point.

    Tesla moves at a completely different pace.

    The nose design doesn’t bother me. They’ll stick the same emblem design on it that the facelifted Model S has (which looks really good in person).

    A liftback would be nice, but I’ll lease an early 3 for a few years and then move to a v2 liftback or hatchback or small SUV when it comes out at lease end.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “It seems impossible because GM would still be working on the design of the Model S at this point.

      Tesla moves at a completely different pace.”

      this is an absolute load of garbage. Typical automotive development programs (for a new or significantly-redesigned vehicle) are 3 to 4 years long. The Model S was announced in 2008, and went on sale in 2012.

      Which was 4 years later.

      Meanwhile, the GM showed the Volt Concept in 2007, and the production Volt went on sale in 2011, four years later.

      So what was that you were saying, again?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I think his point is, you discount Tesla’s magic elves.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          “I think his point is, you discount Tesla’s magic elves.”

          It’s *hilarious* to me how many comments on these articles exist solely to deride people who think Tesla can succeed. Is it just because it’s easy/fun to make fun of people you disagree with?

          Where are all the “If you don’t believe in Tesla you are ” comments? Why do they all come from the other side? It’s like a subgroup of commenters here have decided “Well, you don’t agree with us, so we’ll just start attacking the “believers” by lumping them into a class and making fun of them”. Seriosuly? That’s what TTAC is about?

          I’ve said from the beginning that I’m hopeful for Tesla, and have some small amount of skin in the game, but of course, *they may well fail*, because when is the last time a car company scaled up like this? Has it even happened in my lifetime? I’d be a fool to blindly assume success, so I don’t.

          But the childish remarks add nothing to the discussion, they make TTAC look like Jalopnik. That’s gross.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            +1 million

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “It’s *hilarious* to me how many comments on these articles exist solely to deride people who think Tesla can succeed. Is it just because it’s easy/fun to make fun of people you disagree with?”

            I can’t speak for 28*, but I was not responding to someone who merely thinks Tesla can succeed. Hell, I think Tesla *can* succeed. The ones I tend to deride are people like ilkhan above, who make completely nonsensical fanboyish statements about Tesla vs. the industry as a whole.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            No one is being derided, but I do see people ridiculing blind faith.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “That’s what TTAC is about?”

            Pretty much. Go back and read some of the comments on the old “GM Deathwatch” posts. There was plenty of making fun of GM employees, owners, and fans back then. The vendetta against Saab and the SaabUnited enthusiast site comes to mind as well.

            Nearly every brand and fan group has been ripped on by TTAC at some point. Insane amounts of skepticism and sour grapes is what TTAC was founded on. Optimism has never really been a part of the site’s culture (remember the backlash over Derek’s “Game changer” line?).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Oh come on, that was clever!

            You need to chillax brother, life is too short; I learned the hard way.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            @28: “Oh come on, that was clever!

            You need to chillax brother, life is too short; I learned the hard way.’

            You don’t see me here taking things personally. *That* would be the need to chill, and I’d wholeheartedly agree. What I am doing, though, is pointing out a very real subthread in these discussions that I think TTAC would be better off without.

            We should be able to debate (and joke about!) our positions without devolving to jalopnik-style personal attacks *or* pointless fanboyism, while appreciating what we DO have here: a community of car enthusiasts who actually try to have intelligent conversation. That’s a rare, rare bird (so keep it away from wind turbines!)

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            “No one is being derided, but I do see people ridiculing blind faith.”

            That’s it exactly. Someone who wants Tesla to succeed is guilty of blind faith. Someone who wants Tesla to fail is being rational and logical.

            It all makes sense now, why so many of the B&B are so very passionately opposed to an American entrepreneurial company that is changing the car industry.

          • 0 avatar
            shipping96

            TTAC: home of climate change denial and “Tesla Death Watch” ( oops we don’t talk about that latter thing)

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            “TTAC: home of climate change denial and “Tesla Death Watch” ( oops we don’t talk about that latter thing)”

            @ shipping96 – Lame lame LAME remark.

            You’re engaging in both a red herring AND an idiotic straw man argument, and furthermore, you’re trying to create a uniform patina of views of those who find Tesla’s Model 3 business model weak (or worse).

            I believe the earth is getting warmer, that the ice coverage is shrinking at a fast clip, and that the activities of humans have at least some causal connection to global warming, yet I think Musk has been reduced to a carnival barking, snake oil salesman given how he’s handling and stating the business case for the Model 3.

            Nice (not really – more like LAME) try, though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @shipping96

            Seriously, take a step back and look at the language you regurgitated: “climate change denial”. Who decides whats “truth” and whats “denial”? You? Someone you saw on TV? Harvard? The President? A Kardashian? Control of language is essential to control of thought and yours on this subject are certainly not your own. Why is that?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            “Who decides whats [sic] “truth” and whats [sic] “denial”?”

            Whoa, whoa, whoa. No-one used the word “truth” except you. How about the word “fact”? As in, we make observations about the world around us, record those observations as data, and draw conclusions that can be proven or disproven as facts or not-facts.

            “Denial” can be quite easily defined as “looking at verifiable data and saying, ‘nope, nuh-uh, not happening. I just don’t believe that this data is correct, even though I have none of my own to submit.”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Drzhivago138

            Without a Flux Capacitor there is no verifiable data out past about 150 years. Everything else I have seen has been a “reconstruction” of what they think happened based on other evidence.

            FWIW I’d be much more inclined to buy the hype if there wasn’t a statist TAX scheme behind it. I personally don’t think we know what the hell is going on but I don’t think hedging our bets is a bad idea, I just don’t go full in screaming Al Gore in a crowded theatre.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Except that there is verifiable data for the past however many years one could ever want–in ice cores, tree rings, and sediment layers.

            I understand your reservations about how possible solutions seem “statist.” But isn’t that more a problem with people than with the data? What solution might you propose to prevent a tragedy of the commons?

      • 0 avatar

        What I interpreted from OP’s comment was that GM are not capable of building a Model S in 4 years since its a huge leap forward.

        Car manufacturers typically innovate incrementally not all at once. You get much more reliable cars if you advanceme them incrementally, you get much more exciting cars if you take a leap in design and technology. Take your pick.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          It’s odd how having a battery that is so large that it makes the car unprofitable becomes “a huge leap forward” on the interwebs.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            That is my general feeling as well. I don’t think Tesla’s drivetrain/car is particularly innovative. Their business strategy of targeting the well-to-do with a high performance EV was the innovative part.

            That is also why the Model 3’s targets gives me pause. I built a Model S on their website over the weekend. $72k is as cheap as you can get into one with no tax credits (70kwhr battery, IIRC). The range is 235mi… like the 3. The smaller 3 isn’t going to cut the battery size/cost by 1/2 in 2 years time. The chassis isn’t going to cost 1/2 as much as a base Model S. If they came out and said they were going to make the Model 3 at $45k, I’d be far more likely to say Tesla could meet those targets.

            My guess is that they are going to offer a $35k model for some time period before they start dropping the lower range/performance/trimmed models due to “lack of demand” versus the higher range/performance/trimmed models. If your order isn’t filled in that initial time period, you’ll just have to settle for a more expensive one.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @pch101 I’ll say it again, your sources whoever, they are, don’t have the latest numbers on battery cost. It’s lower than what you think it is.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The reality is that Tesla loses money because it can’t pass on its costs to its customers. That includes the costs of the battery pack and its management, which are far higher than the cost of a fuel tank.

          • 0 avatar
            Russycle

            And an electric motor is far cheaper than a high-performance ICE and transmission. Not saying it all comes out in the wash, but “battery vs. fuel-tank” is a silly comparison.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The cost of the EV drivetrain is still substantially higher.

            Noting this reality isn’t “silly”. Rather, it’s one of the fundamental problems with the cost structure with electric cars. All things being equal, the cost of an electric car is inherently higher due to the battery.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            What’s the cost of an ICE drivetrain capable of pushing a mid-size sedan to 60 in less than six seconds? Engine, transmission, alternators, fuel pump, ignition, etc. Let’s see your numbers and sources.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Apparently, Tesla can’t sell its cars at prices high enough to make a profit. You want to brag about that?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            If Tesla could achieve better economies of scale do you think they could actually turn a profit or are the production costs just too high?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            To be profitable, Tesla would need both (a) some level of scale and (b) lower power storage costs per unit.

            On the upside, it has solid management and even better branding. It may very well fail, but it has better odds of success because of the management.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> Apparently, Tesla can’t sell its cars at prices high enough to make a profit. You want to brag about that?

            Okay, I’ll brag. With the exception of one, every business I’ve started ran in the red at first. They’ve all been successful. I’m currently an advisor to the management team of a company that’s rated by Forbes as being near the top of its sector in the world in terms of profitability and played a major role in its most profitable unit. I know what it takes to make money and to become profitable.

            Take a look at internet companies like Amazon or Google. How long did it take them to become profitable? Building a large manufacturing company – an auto company is going to take a lot of money and there’s no way you’re going to be profitable for a number of years. Stop growing too soon and you’re doomed.

            Furthermore, I’m heavily invested in Permean Basin mineral rights and I’m hedging that bet with investments in the battery sector. I’ve done a lot of due-diligence over the last year I have learned a lot about the state of lithium battery technology and where it’s going. One of the things I’ve learned is that the guys making real progress are keeping quiet for competitive reasons. These are not the fluffy little announcements from labs about pie-in-the-sky mushroom powered battery experiments. There are people making solid improvements in current lithium technology solving manufacturing speed and cost issues and making real progress in battery density.

            Be careful about making guesses at to what you think costs are. Unless you have direct access to the books somehow, you don’t know. Don’t take analysts guesses as fact.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The costs aren’t hard to figure out. The company releases these mysterious documents called “financial statements” that give us a hint or two.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            SCE to AUX linked to very good (yet concise) summary of the incredibly ambitious, daunting (I think it’s nearly impossible) task that Musk has in producing 500,000 vehicles in even the next 3 years, let alone 2.

            As it stands now, Tesla will likely be unable to increase its current production 60% (to 80,000 vehicles, total), by 2017.

            Musk, in claiming that Tesla is going to deliver on 400,000 Model 3s, is essentially alleging Tesla will be able to ramp up production 1000% (ten fold) within two to three years.

            It’s just not feasible, let alone likely, and I genuinely believe Musk has completely thrown his credibility (and maybe sanity) on a giant bonfire, soaked in petrol, and there’s a match about to be lit to set fire to it.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Thanks to SCE to AUX, here’s the article:

            http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1103860_tesla-says-it-will-build-500k-cars-a-year-by-end-of-2018-can-it

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “And an electric motor is far cheaper than a high-performance ICE and transmission.”

            So? an electric motor is useless without something to supply it with electricity. It’s not the motor which is expensive, but the battery and the power electronics which control it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It should be a big fat hint that most automakers use smaller batteries in their EVs because batteries are the low hanging fruit of cost reduction.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    @Quentin:

    (Ran out of reply options above ^^^)…

    If Tesla reneges on the $35k Model 3, attempting a bait-and-switch for reservation-holders like me, I’ll ask for a refund. While I do expect to be drawn in for a couple of options, I WILL NOT buy a $45-50k car.

    I’m guessing that many others would agree and do the same. It’s not that the Model 3 won’t be a good car at a higher price, it just won’t be affordable.

    The Model 3’s performance and visual appeal are givens. But Tesla’s entire future depends on this car’s affordability and profitability.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Good critical 2-page summary of Tesla’s ability to hit its goal of producing 500k cars (all models) by the end of 2018:

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1103860_tesla-says-it-will-build-500k-cars-a-year-by-end-of-2018-can-it

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