By on June 3, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

Four weeks after he said the Model 3’s design was six to nine weeks from being finalized, Tesla CEO Elon Musk now says he’ll need six more weeks until the affordable EV is off the drawing board.

Got that? When the Model 3 (scheduled for production in late 2017) was unveiled on March 31, almost everyone noticed the embryonic state of the vehicle, especially its blank-slate interior. What the future electric sedan will look like after Tesla finishes its design work is still anyone’s guess.

So much online ink has been spilled discussing the gargantuan task Musk faces in reaching his production targets, it’s easy to forget about the vehicle itself.

Reporters from The Verge quizzed Musk about the Model 3’s status last night at the Code Conference (a tech industry speakers series), asking him if there was a chance the model could fall victim to the same delays that befell the company’s Model X.

“Almost all of the Model 3 design is done, and we’re aiming for pencils down basically in six weeks, complete pencils down,” Musk told the publication. “And we’re tabling — you know, if there are ideas for future cool things, we’ll have it in version 2, version 3.”

The reference to future model updates was something Musk touched on earlier this week at his company’s annual shareholder’s meeting. That gathering — which was more like a conference, live feed and all — saw Musk admit that his earlier Roadster model was a failure and that the Model X’s gremlin-plagued doors were a huge mistake.

“We should have taken those ‘awesome’ features and tabled them for a future version,” Musk said, referring to the vehicle’s signature “falcon wing” doors. “It was a case of being overconfident.”

Clearly, the man doesn’t want that headache on his plate again, so he’s pushing the addition of any gee-whiz gadgetry to the Model 3 off into the future. At last check, 373,000 people held reservations for the future model, which will retail for $35,000 before government incentives.

In the same Code Conference interview, Musk said the finalized design of the Model 3 would be revealed during a “big” event held near the end of this year.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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48 Comments on “Tesla Model 3’s Final Design is Still Six Weeks Away: Musk...”


  • avatar
    orenwolf

    I’m glad he’s standing up and recognizing the need to iterate. But yes, this does sound like a one-week or so slip on the “six-to-nine week” schedule for completion of the vehicle.

    That said, I’d rather they spend an extra week and get it right than have the initial deliveries need the sort of work some early delivery Model X’s have been alleged to have required.

  • avatar

    Dropping $1000 on a car that you won’t physically have for more than 2 years is a tremendous letdown.

    Finding out that your Supercharging isn’t going to be free…

    …that just feels like bait & switch to me.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I knew up front that I’d be waiting two years.

      Nobody promised free Supercharging for the Model 3; this has always been a question until this week. Actually, I’m glad it isn’t, so that the Model 3 costs can be kept down. Personally, I’d prefer to have Supercharging on a pay-as-you go basis, since I would only be an occasional user of it.

      • 0 avatar

        Many people are gonna cancel their deposit after hearing this.

        In fact, the lack of free Supercharging is part of what Tesla used as an excuse to kill the 40KWh Model S – before they even put it out there.

        BAIT & SWITCH

        They claimed that the Model S’ base trim 40KWh would be under $60,000 with the tax rebate and then they cancelled it – sending the base Model S price higher.

        No wonder I can’t get my shares to $300 per.

        too much baitin’ and switching’.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          I’m sorry to hear that the lack of supercharging doesn’t meet your expectations.

          I am interested, though – can you tell me where you read/heard/understood that supercharging, for free, had been included in the plan for the model 3? Or even hinted at?

          I’m afraid I don’t see any “Bait” here to “Switch”.

          I guess we’ll see next quarter how many reservations disappear from this change. I will wager personally that it will be very few.

          • 0 avatar

            The assumption by people who don’t (can’t) own a Tesla is that “Supercharging is free” based on the ads they’ve seen on the website, the Facebook and the internet for the Model S and Model X.

            It’s an assumption.

            I’m not loosing sleep over it. I’m just disappointed I’m not profiting from their baitin’ and switchin’ as much as I should be.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            The Bolt has level 3 charging as an extra cost option as well. Hmmm, pay money for the CCS network and pay for the electricity in some situations, or pay extra for the Supercharger network…

            Thing is, with the Bolt, the circuitry is probably not on the car. With Tesla, it *may* already be there and it could be a matter of an on-line purchase. So, you might be able to wait until you actually need it.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Meh, the marketplace spoke and Tesla listened. So few people wanted a supersedan with Nissan Leaf range (wonder why?) that they canceled the 40 – but not before filling the orders of the few who had chosen it – and they did them one better and gave them the 60 kWh battery, with full capacity available any time simply by buying the software update – and IiRC did it for at or near the target price after state & fed rebates. No story really.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      I *just bought* a car. I’m counting on the model 3 not being available until 2018. Not a letdown at all.

      I do except that the instant-gratification-folks may feel like that’s forever away, but that’s fine, they can focus on the next shiny thing until 2018, THEN realize they should have pre-ordered while they wait at the back of the line :D

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Well, that’s the design process.

    But Tesla is resource-constrained in a way that the Big Car Companies aren’t. And I wonder if his engineers & project managers are afraid to be honest with him during status meetings.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      I really hope that’s not true. I remember reading an article on SpaceX that had the design/engineering team reporting directly to him, and *they* set the schedule, because, well, RUDs are an unwanted thing, you don’t want to rush rocket design. I hope he’s done the same at Tesla.

    • 0 avatar

      Be afraid of Elon?

      Why would someone be afraid of Elon?

      You know: the guy who looks and sounds like Dominic Greene from 007:Quantum of Solace.

      There’s a cult-of-personality forming around him.

      If he’d ran for President, he’d be 5 points ahead of THE DON.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “If he’d ran for President, he’d be 5 points ahead of THE DON.”

        he can’t, he’s not eligible to hold the office.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          That didn’t stop Cruz. ‘Natural born’ Canadian.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Ted Cruz’s mother is a US citizen, therefore by the laws in effect at the time that makes him a natural born US citizen, thereby eligible to hold the office of President.

            Elon Musk was born in South Africa to Canadian and South African parents. no way for him w/o a constitutional amendment.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ted-cruz-is-not-eligible-to-be-president/2016/01/12/1484a7d0-b7af-11e5-99f3-184bc379b12d_story.html

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Did you miss the big, fat “OPINION” at the top of that page?

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_nationality_law

            For persons born between December 24, 1952 and November 14, 1986, a person is a U.S. citizen if all of the following are true:[10]

            The person’s parents were married at the time of birth
            One of the person’s parents was a U.S. citizen when the person was born
            The citizen parent lived at least ten years in the United States before the child’s birth;
            A minimum of 5 of these 10 years in the United States were after the citizen parent’s 14th birthday.

            he’s not “naturalized” at birth, he’s a citizen at birth.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You actually have to understand the argument, which involves knowing how words were defined 200 years ago.

            She explains it well, and it’s not complicated. Ted Cruz is a citizen because Congress passed a law that granted citizenship to those who were born abroad to an American parent.

            Someone who is born on US soil does not need a statute in order to be a citizen. Ted Cruz and others like him would not have been citizens unless there had been a law. That makes him naturalized, not natural born.

            Naturalization has nothing to do with filling out paperwork or not filling it out, but with the legal authority that was the source of citizenship. Citizenship to those born on US soil is a birthright, a concept that the US derived from common law.

            If Congress repealed all of the immigration laws tomorrow, the foreign born would not be citizens, while those born in the US would be unaffected. Congress doesn’t have the authority to withhold citizenship from someone who born on US soil, but it does with everyone else.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            And that reminds me of certain others who were born in that exact circumstance, yet nary a peep out of the media.

            This would have been..around this time, when…?

            Oh!!! ::Raises hand!:: *** 2008!!! ***

            I’ll show myself out!

    • 0 avatar
      accord1999

      Given the terrible launch of the Model X in terms of production ramp-up vs expectations, fit and finish and poorly working doors, that’s the most likely explanation.

    • 0 avatar

      I know alot of people think it’s hate for electric cars but some of us here like electric cars but feel that the timeline for this car is unrealistic. Tesla does not have the resources and funds to make it happen on time, and there seems to be a question if he has enough talent as some of the automotive talent he had has been leaving as of late.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    More of Musk’s snake oil is being revealed slowly but definitely surely with each passing month.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      I think it will be interesting when they finally get around to competing in this price class, sometime in 2020 or whenever. And (probably) the $7500 govt chit is gone…or the competition also has $7500 chits.

      Thus far their low volume has allowed them to deal with the crappy reliability fairly well. At some point they either have to get a lot better OR be swamped with problems.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        People buying a $35-45k car are not going to put up with the same problems that $100k buyers put up with. There’s no reason to expect a company that can’t handle QA on a boutique car will be able to handle mass production without quality issues.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    So if it has nowhere near the cool stuff and is instead being made a rather simple electric car…why the 30K and counting charge?
    The luxury sure isn’t there. It isn’t on the very expensive big brothers…so why in friggin hell would this thing cost so much?

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      As of last year the average selling price for US vehicles was $33,560. You’re presuming that just because they aren’t putting falcon wing doors on the model 3 (or some other crazy engineering idea) it’s “pedestrian”?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Because honking huge battery packs that can go 200 miles are REALLY expensive? As are multi-hundred hp electric motors and the control electronics for them?

      The Model 3 is going to be the nicest $35K electric Civic you can buy though.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah this is one of the reasons the 3 doesn’t interest me but the S does. I can’t afford an S but if I could I would likely buy one, it’s unique it has features not found on other cars. The 3 on the other hand if I’m going to buy basic electric transportation, I would be just as happy to buy it from some one who really knows small cars well, GM KIA etc will likely have the car part down better then Tesla.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          “GM KIA etc will likely have the car part down better then Tesla.”

          It’s interesting you say that, but that’s precisely why I don’t think a Bolt will interest me, I’m almost certain the Bolt will be a much worse drive than the 3.

          The S (and X) are fast, high performance vehicles. In fact, that’s all Tesla has produced so far. I don’t personally believe that I’m going to find the model 3 to be either 1) boring to drive or 2) more “econobox-y” than what GM or KIA would produce, based on the performance characteristics of Tesla cars to date (and the announced sub-six-second 0-100km accelleration time).

          Add to that not having to go to a GM or KIA dealer. :)

          • 0 avatar

            I’m guessing the Tesla will accelerate harder , but I think the ride and handling will be better in the Bolt. The sonic and cruze ride and drive pretty well I doubt Tesla will beat them out of the gate. Also since there is no free road ranger service on the 3 the dealership model has a distinct advantage if the car has problems. Which leads to the next point currently GM has a better track record of reliability on their P-EV’s then Tesla has on their full electrics. I’m guessing this will translate into the Bolt being much more reliable at least at first then the Tesla at least for the first few years of production.

          • 0 avatar
            accord1999

            Better to have a nearby mediocre dealer (and numerous third-party shops) than a service center that’s so backed up it can’t see you for many weeks, or so far away it costs you multiple hours each way of driving to get there or to spend $3/mile to get Tesla personnel to get your vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            I live in the fourth largest city in North America. None of these issues apply, given the reduced maintenance requirements I have no issues dropping off my car a few times a year (if that?) and subwaying home. I’m sure I can book online like I do with my Mazda dealer today.

            Lack of dealerships will definitely affect rural purchasers. This is most definitely a benefit of local repair shops in this situation, dealer or otherwise.

            There’s no doubt that the Tesla EV model (no rural support, home charging an asset) is available to only a subset of mainstream buyers. However, I also believe that subset will still result in Tesla selling every car they can build.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            So, the 3 will be cheaper than the S or X, but somehow it’ll have performance as good? You don’t expect the performance of a Lexus LS Hybrid when buying a Prius C.

            Basing your assumptions on the more expensive models will probably leave you very disappointed.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            That’s not an assumption. Tesla already announced sub-six second 0-60 times for the base model 3.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            I’ve wondered about the servicing with the 3: if there’s not the concierge thing, where do you go? Are there going to be service centers within range of the Toledos, Fort Waynes and smaller urban areas?

            Right now, the nearest Tesla centers to me are in the northern Detroit suburbs (Oakland County, home of Detroit’s “new money”), or one in Cleveland. Assuming a summer day with light traffic, the Detroit one is doable on a full charge (assuming that the Supercharger capability is not present or not enabled), while on a January day, my guess is that you might clear Ten Mile Road on I-75 before you run out of juice. Throw Detroit traffic into the mix, and it’d be a crapshoot! (And you certainly don’t want to be foolish enough to pull off I-75 below Eight Mile and north of roughly I-94 to find help!)

            Cleveland’s out simply because of distance, as is Indy, the next closest! In both cases, one traffic snarl could put you in the red!

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            It’s a fair question. As I mentioned, not relevant to me personally, but relevant to a great many I’m sure.

            I wonder if Tesla will contract with someone for routine maintenance? This doesn’t solve repairs though. Surely they’ve already considered this, so I suppose the plan, whatever it is, is yet to be revealed.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            Having driven both Teslas I m gonna kinda disagree. This is why I have always disagreed with the Tesla madness.
            They drive really cool in around town head jerking hooning.
            It seems that is all my brothers try to impress on everybody every time they drive…at the serious torque from every stop.
            Well, that and the impressively large tablet.
            Other than that, they ARE plain.
            Their interiors are rock hard to sit in and they are about as luxurious as a 40 car from anybody else.
            Steve says he is happy with his X finally…but it was getting close to being returned out of anger.

            The 3 is gonna be really plain.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          “GM KIA etc will likely have the car part down better then Tesla.”

          GM and Kia are more than 6 weeks away from designing a car that drives well. Nobody buys a GM or Kia product because it’s good. They buy one because it’s cheap, and they can’t afford any better.

          Obviously, I don’t know what the Model 3 will be like (neither does Elon), but there’s no reason to suspect that it will be even worse than a GM or Kia. It’s a very low bar.

          • 0 avatar

            I don’t know I think the Cruze is the best compact out right now, hands down I would take it over a Focus or Mazda 3 (I haven’t driven other competitors other then the Dart which I think is about equal in ride to the Cruze) The Sonic is competitive with the FIT, and better then the Versa, I haven’t driven any of the other current gen subcompacts but it seems better then the last Yaris I drove as well.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    I don’t imagine I’ll wait for the 3 if I can swing the Bolt when it comes out. And I expect the 3 will come out soon after, and I’ll bitterly regret my decision. (One advantage of getting older: you come to know yourself!)

    John is mistaken. Tesla is targeting o-60 in 6 sec or less for the 3, and the car looks sexy as hell. GM is targeting ~7 sec for the Bolt, which is still plenty fast for a tall Sonic, but…it’s a tall Sonic, no one is ever going to pick up chicks in that dork mobile. Luckily I’m married, so not an issue for me.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Nissan and Mercedes are working together on low-end “luxury” ICE cars. I’m wondering of one of the 4 EVs Mercedes will be an Infinity/Mercedes cooperation? Although it wouldn’t have the supercharger network (which is a big factor), I think that it would be the closest to a Model 3 rival. My current Nissan EV is super reliable. The biggest maintenance items in 30k miles were wipers, wiper fluid, and tire rotation. The battery still has 100% health according to the diagnostics and the level of charge it will take despite well over 100 level 3 charges – although I’m certain the battery grim reaper will eventually make his visit.

      Battery technology is definitely moving forward, but quietly. The most conservative of the technology approaches is to remove most of the inert material currently in the batteries thereby increasing density, increasing the durability of the electrodes, and shortening the time that it takes to complete the manufacturing process. Add 800v charging and we’ll see a huge increase in the number of EVs on the road.

      If in 2025, buyers get a choice between a turbo 3 cylinder 800 cc ICE with a GDI particulate filter and a CVT vs. a 300 mile EV capable of a full charge in 15 minutes, I think we’ll see most people going for the EV. I predict the EV won’t kill ICE, but ICEs will commit suicide. In other words, ICE technology will get increasingly worse and EV technology will improve. I think those trends are already in place.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “If in 2025, buyers get a choice between a turbo 3 cylinder 800 cc ICE with a GDI particulate filter and a CVT vs. a 300 mile EV capable of a full charge in 15 minutes, I think we’ll see most people going for the EV. I predict the EV won’t kill ICE, but ICEs will commit suicide. In other words, ICE technology will get increasingly worse and EV technology will improve. I think those trends are already in place.”

        Seems like a reasonably possible scenario.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        “If in 2025, buyers get a choice between a turbo 3 cylinder 800 cc ICE with a GDI particulate filter and a CVT vs. a 300 mile EV capable of a full charge in 15 minutes, I think we’ll see most people going for the EV. I predict the EV won’t kill ICE, but ICEs will commit suicide. In other words, ICE technology will get increasingly worse and EV technology will improve. I think those trends are already in place.”

        That’s not ICE suicide; it’s murder by totalitarians. It would be infinitely preferable to remove the tyrants and their supporters from positions of influence.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          “It would be infinitely preferable to remove the tyrants and their supporters from positions of influence.”

          To be replaced by another set of tyrants – just on the obverse of the same coin.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “remove the tyrants and their supporters from positions of influence”

          Sound like a lotta trubbel over whut kinda motor they give ya. Le’s jus’ go git drunk.

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