By on July 3, 2017

tesla-model-3

Production of the Model 3 is set to begin two weeks ahead of schedule, according to Tesla Motors chief executive and second most famous Twitter user in America, Elon Musk. While that news would probably be more exciting if we had ever been given a definitive timeline for the vehicle, the CEO claims it should equate to the very first car rolling off the assembly line by the end of this week.

“Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule. Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday,” Musk tweeted late last night, causing half a million Tesla fans to engage in a collective round of giddy, high-pitched squealing. However, the most enthralled members of the company’s rabid fan base are likely to be the 30 people who get to wrap their quivering digits around the steering wheel of their very own Model 3 before the end of July. 

In a celebratory, party at my house-style announcement, Musk issued a follow-up tweet reading, “Handover party for first 30 customer Model 3’s on the 28th! Production grows exponentially, so Aug should be 100 cars and Sept above 1,500.” He then claimed a prospective 20,000 completed units per month by December.

When the Model 3 was first announced over a year ago in California, Musk suggested deliveries should begin before the end of 2017. However, there was no clear production schedule as Tesla seemed to be doing everything in its power to begin assembly as soon as possible. Union issues with its in-house German supplier served as a moderate setback earlier this year, potentially stalling production, but by April everything was pointing to summer production start.

At last month’s shareholders meeting, Musk explained the first Model 3 customers would be limited in their ability to customize their orders. “I should say that we’ve kept the initial configurations of the Model 3 very simple,” Musk explained. “A big mistake we made with the X, which is primarily my responsibility — there was way too much complexity right at the beginning. That was very foolish.”

Early options on the Model 3 will essentially limited to color and wheel type. But Musk has continued to tout the sedan as the best vehicle someone can purchase “for $35,000, even with no options.” Despite it entering into production this week, Tesla has still not provided official specs for the vehicle. But earlier promises has the EV possessing a five-star crash test rating, a 215 mile range, and a six-second 0 to 60 time.

It’s estimated that over 400,000 people have put down a $1,000 deposit to reserve the Model 3, though the automaker has not confirmed the figure. If that number is to be believed, there should still be plenty of people eagerly anticipating the arrival of their electric car well into 2019. Hopefully for Tesla, the limited batch of summer-built cars prove it to be worth the wait.

[Image: Tesla]

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52 Comments on “First Production Tesla Model 3 to Appear This Week, Says Musk...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    I don’t think “early” means what Tesla thinks it means. Unless we don’t count all the delays that brought them to the latest timeline.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      Though I’ll give them credit for taking the alphanumeric naming scheme and giving it some semblance of emotional meaning. Making your product line, in order of release, spell “S3XY” is at least novel and evokes a response.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Not sure what you’re talking about. There was never a promise for this vehicle to be delivered earlier.

      When I reserved last year, I didn’t expect to take possession for 2 years, and that seems to be holding true.

      • 0 avatar
        letstakeawalk

        No promises, sure…

        But the Model 3 (né “Bluestar”) has been in the works since 2007. It’s taken Tesla *ten years* to get it into production.

        https://www.cnet.com/news/teslas-bluestar-to-be-all-electric-family-car/

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Make that 14 years if you like. Since the company’s founding, the Model 3 has been the long range goal. It’s never been the immediate goal, which is why the Roadster, Model S, and Model X preceded it.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Cue dramatic music…

  • avatar
    stingray65

    So with limited options on the first cars, will they all be loaded or closer to base models? My guess is loaded, which will be much higher than $35,000 and hopefully closer to profitable. It will also be interesting to see how the early quality is – cheap(er) model 3 buyers are likely to be less willing to be beta-testers than the X and S buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Agreed, but then again, it’s not like the company hasn’t had time to learn from its’ past issues. We’ll see.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Not completely loaded. At first, there will be no AWD or Ludicrous mode, for instance, and only a base level interior.

      But I do think a larger battery will come out first, and that won’t be a $35k car.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    What a guy…blasting into outer space…boring tunnels under LA…building zillions of magic electric cars.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do believe Tesla will encounter problems in the not to distant future.

    Not only with the Chinese out producing Tesla with batteries, but also the EVs coming out of the EU.

    I went to the Paris Car Show last October and there were a number of EVs on show from every manufacturer (except Ford who didn’t go to the show).

    Here’s a good article to read. It came out a couple of days ago.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-28/china-is-about-to-bury-elon-musk-in-batteries

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      That Chinese battery production will almost certainly power vehicles used in the China domestic market. How would that hurt Tesla?

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        SCE to AUX,
        I know you are a Tesla nerd. So I do expect a biased comment as you have delivered.

        The Chinese will be exporting them to Tesla’s competition in the EU.

        Tesla is far from being a financial able company.

        It’s a house of cards.

        Tesla is also NO Apple. There will only ever be one Apple.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Batteries alone mean nothing if they’re not in a usable battery pack. Worse, if they don’t include necessary systems for battery conditioning and thermal management, those Chinese batteries will become worthless in a very few years which will in turn destroy the residual value of any vehicles into which they are installed. You can NOT assume that numbers alone will significantly affect Tesla any more than numbers alone have significantly affected Apple; quality, ‘ecosystem’ and support are all major factors that could keep Tesla ahead in profits and influence–assuming Tesla is able to build profits in the first place starting with the Model 3.

      And no, while many like to say Tesla is, “losing money on every vehicle built,” that’s not quite true. Each car so far has managed about a 20% – 25% profit margin but those profits are turned right back into the company to fuel growth of their infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities. Once the company matures enough to slow its growth plans, they could well leap ahead in profits.

      • 0 avatar
        bienville

        This is completely wrong. There are no profits and no free cash flow to put back into the business. All of their growth is due to capital raises and use of their credit lines.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Good point about the batteries. I was looking for a cordless vacuum a few years ago, reviews for all brands complained about how crappy the batteries were after a few moths of use, except one: Makita, who have been making cordless tools forever. Making batteries to meet specs is pretty easy, but engineering systems so they hold up over repeated use is not. Tesla has demonstrated they’re serious about this, I’d be very hesitant to invest my own money in an unproven Chinese version.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Tesla is the new Apple. The limited option model could have milk crates for seats, a 50 mile range, steelies with Chinese hubcaps, cost $43,000 and there will be a line a mile long to buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I know what you mean, but eventually the product has to deliver. Tesla’s following is largely based upon two things:

      1. The product delivers, at least well enough for now.
      2. The hope for better stuff in the future.

      If Tesla suffers quality issues on a massive scale with this car, they’ll feel the pain. At the end of the day, it’s just a car, and the buyer needs to feel they’re getting some value for their money.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Sometimes that ‘value for the money’ is not in the physical product but in the confidence and comfort in the perception that goes far beyond the cost. Tesla’s automatic over-the-air updates means that the owner almost never needs to worry about physical recalls; the acceleration is strong but almost totally silent; never needing to stop at a gas station under ordinary driving conditions. There are plenty of things the Tesla offers that only another BEV can offer and one thing in particular that only Tesla can offer, easily located and accessible fast-chargers that don’t require excessive pre-planning for your route. Tesla has all of its station locations programmed into the nav system and as new stations come online, they get added to the on-board database. No other factory’s nav system offers this… yet.

        Yes, Tesla is still a start up. They’re learning the hard way what they can do and what they can’t and trusting third-party engineering is something they can’t trust; every time they’ve tried, they’ve been bitten.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I hope this thing succeeds. Auto industry needs a shakeup. Things have been too boring/iterative/shareholder constrained for too long.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    It’ll be interesting to see if they can turn a profit on a vehicle at roughly 1/3 the transaction cost of their current models that they already lose money on. I’m most interested to know what the drastic changes are to this model’s cost structure versus the other two to enable such a substantial price cut.

    • 0 avatar

      This seems to be the biggest issue. People like to compare to Apple. The difference is Apple got the cult to just buy the product but to buy it at huge margins Tesla doesn’t have the 2nd part.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Apple developed its ‘cult’ by offering one thing; a reliable and easy-to-use product that wasn’t in-your-face all the time with housekeeping. Tesla offers a similar type of product with its cars that do almost everything for you instead of forcing you to waste time and money with ordinary upkeep.
        Think about it: no weekends spent getting an oil change or tinkering under the hood; no running to a gas station because the tank is low; no having to take it in to the garage for factory recalls (with limited exceptions.) It’s basically a car you can drive when you want and not have to worry about it.

        It’s not for everybody… not yet. But for those who have the cash to buy one and access to at least a 220volt dryer outlet, the conveniences outweigh the supposed drawbacks.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Vulpine,
          Tesla is doomed. The writing is on the wall.

          Apple offered an affordable unique product with huge margins.

          I agree with mopar4wd that Tesla doesn’t have the money to manufacture at a loss for any length of time.

          Competition in the EV market (even though it’s subsidised) is greater for Tesla than what Apple confronted.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            WHOA!

            Hold it!

            What? “Apple offered an affordable unique product with huge margins.” Affordable? $2000 in 1979 for a desktop computer with a mere 16K of memory and no such thing as a hard drive or even a floppy drive at first? Where bulk storage was an audio cassette? “AFFORDABLE”? Taking inflation into account, that machine cost more than $10K in today’s dollars.

            And don’t forget, Apple very nearly went bankrupt in ’95 because the “competition” was building cheaper but relatively boring devices. As long as Tesla retains its difference from the ‘ordinary’, it has the ability to stay alive in much the way Apple did in the ’90s–by getting a cash influx when needed and emphasizing its differences rather than joining the ‘status quo.’

            Is Tesla doomed? I wouldn’t bet on it; Apple was “doomed” too…and by the thinking of some people they’re still ‘doomed’ twenty years later and the most valuable single company on the market. Will they survive? That remains to be seen. I think they can but they do honestly need to see some real profits rolling in.

        • 0 avatar
          accord1999

          “Think about it: no weekends spent getting an oil change or tinkering under the hood; no running to a gas station because the tank is low; no having to take it in to the garage for factory recalls (with limited exceptions.) It’s basically a car you can drive when you want and not have to worry about it. ”

          What is this, the 70s? Who wastes a weekend on oil changes or tinkering to keep their car running anymore? And a gas fillup is a few minutes every 1-2 weeks, certainly no worse than the hassle of constantly connecting and unconnecting a charger to keep the battery topped-off, to say nothing if you need to go long distances and waste an hour or more to charge every 2.5 hours.

          And there’s been several recalls that require Tesla vehicles to go back to the store to be fixed, and their poor reliability and parts supply means the typical owner spends an inordinate amount of time unable to drive their cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            • “Who wastes a weekend on oil changes or tinkering to keep their car running anymore?”
            — Show me when you have time to take off of work to get your oil changed at a commercial garage. If it isn’t the weekend, then when? What about the other factors that have to be taken care of, Belts, spark plugs, wiring, brake linings? Sure, some of those things are long-term items but they still require scheduled maintenance and usually at a pretty high cost. And when you’re talking a $50k – $75K vehicle, the repair work tends to run double to quadruple what the same job might cost on a $15K Honda. I watch my neighbors where I live and those with decent cars either take care of them themselves — in their driveways — or they take them to a garage–typically during a work day, which means lost income OR a lost vacation day. There’s a reason I don’t like Fords in particular–one averaged over half my monthly take-home pay from a full-time job just trying to keep it running and fueled up. Another Ford cost me $5K in repairs–major engine and transmission work–less than 6 months after I bought it and the one I’m driving now cost me $3K on what should have been an ‘ideal’ garage find with as many thousand miles on the clock as the vehicle’s age in years. And I personally knew the original owners of the first and third and knew how they were taken care of. Don’t tell me people don’t burn their weekends taking care of their cars, one way or another, at least four times a year.

            • “And a gas fillup is a few minutes every 1-2 weeks,…”
            — Come on now; anybody that works a daily job and has to drive to work fills up more often than once every 1-2 weeks. I drive only two to three times a week in our family car and we fill it every two weeks; most people fill up every week and they have to get out into heat, cold, rain, snow and who knows what else EVERY SINGLE WEEK. And most of those cars — or should I say Trucks — take a lot more than a mere $7.50 – $10.00 to fill up.
            And you certainly can’t tell me you don’t plug in your smart phone every day or do any number of other routine daily tasks like open a door or start your car. Plugging in a car is a 5-second task that is even more mindless than remembering to fill your tank (oh, that’s right, some people do forget to gas up until it’s almost too late.) Such excuses are childish in the extreme.

            • “certainly no worse than the hassle of constantly connecting and unconnecting a charger to keep the battery topped-off, to say nothing if you need to go long distances and waste an hour or more to charge every 2.5 hours.
            — And you certainly can’t tell me you don’t plug in your smart phone every day or do any number of other routine daily tasks like open a door or start your car. Plugging in a car is a 5-second task that is even more mindless than remembering to fill your tank (oh, that’s right, some people do forget to gas up until it’s almost too late.) Such excuses are childish in the extreme.
            As for the time it takes to charge up; clearly you have no concept of which you’re talking. What you’re calling “every 2.5 hours” is more likely every four hours or more unless you speed all the time and the charging time itself is hardly an imposition when you’re able to go inside a restaurant and enjoy a decent meal out of the weather instead of suffering in oppressive heat or bitter cold for the five minutes you have to stand at the side of your ICEV filling it up and THEN have to move your car so you can go inside to eat. Or do you like messing up the interior of that expensive truck with fast-food crumbs and spilled sodas?

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah Tesla has had some serious reliability issues, and a very spread apart dealer network. For much of the country that’s not going to equal more convenience then ICE.

            As much as people hate the dealer model if a Bolt breaks down there is a huge amount of places to take it.

            I like electric cars and I like the model S but I think there are some real potential concerns for Tesla as a company.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Yeah Tesla has had some serious reliability issues, and a very spread apart dealer network.”

            —- Explain those “serious reliability issues” if you will, please. I’ve not heard of all that many over the last couple of years.

          • 0 avatar

            The older model S had serious drive train issues. I know last year Consumer reports listed it towards the bottom of their reliability ratings (like bottom 5). Consumer reports cited steering rack replacements cooling pump replacements (battery cooling) HVAC, door handles and the falcon doors on the X in general. The bigger issue is that a repair almost always extends to weeks as the service centers seem to rarely have parts in stock.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “The older model S had serious drive train issues.”
            Older model… meaning the ’13 and ’14 models. Even then, they weren’t necessarily serious if you just bother to read the reports. Rather, they were performed from an excess of caution to understand the comments they were receiving and to analyze the components after regular, daily use by multiple different drivers. More often than not the drive trains did NOT need replacement but rather were simply swapped out for safety’s sake. I think the only time there was a real issue was when a number of vehicles shipped to Norway were discovered to have received less lubricant than specified (or maybe the wrong lubricant, considering the sub-freezing winter temperatures) at which point they shipped some 100 or so drivetrains as preventative maintenance. So based on the reports they weren’t serious, though the number of swaps made it look like such. Those swaps, by the way, only take two or three hours, not the two- to three days it would take for an ICEV engine/transmission swap.

            The other items either don’t have the severity suggested by your statement or were not as numerous as you might believe. Yes, I do agree the door handle thing was annoying and does qualify as a reliability issue but the rest of it just doesn’t come across as sever issues if the numbers of incidents is so low that they don’t even reach the blogosphere.

            Issues at the service centers seem to be notorious but seem to be far more prevalent in anti-Tesla rants than in ordinary conversation; much like Antennagate was far noisier than reality for Apple back in ’08. I expect the reality of those service center delays has less to do with the number of vehicles as it might with parts having to be re-routed away from the production line and off to the shops when the company is trying to stick to Just In Time parts ordering in assembly. Every part sent to the service center is one potentially less car being built when the company is still trying to grow competitive to the established brands.

            No, I’m not trying to “apologize” for the company but I am at least willing to take a more open and realistic view as to “why” than most anti-Teslarites.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        @mopar4wd…I don’t read anything written by vulpine in a tesla article anymore.

        Since Tesla owns their dealer network, perhaps their plan is to “make it up in the back end” like many car dealers do. On finance reserves, life and disability, protection packages and extended warranties. There can’t be much if anything in the front.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Blinding yourself to information is blinding yourself to reality; if you only read what agrees with your opinion, you will only see one side of the story.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Euro style options pricing and massive scale seem to be what they’re depending on. Just enhanced autopilot will run a few grand and if people pay up front for “self driving” it’ll be several thousand more. A well equipped AWD model will likely crest $50K easily and it’ll have cheaper materials and a cheaper battery pack than their existing cars so I could see it still being a profitable vehicle. The car industry is all about sunk costs and scale so if the preorders really turn into real orders I think the numbers could work.

      The real risk is that the early Model 3’s are plagued with problems and this turns off regular buyers who can’t put up with the quirks like more well off buyers with multiple cars can.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Every time I look at this model 3, I am more amazed at GM’s significant misstep in misjudging how to push their electrics.

    In my opinion, model 3 will significantly hurt BMW 3 series, Audi A4, Mercedes C class sales. This is the go to car for up and coming professionals. There is no better car to show you are hip and with it. The Germans are so yesterday.

    Meanwhile, GM has the technology as they show with Bolt to provide a good electric with decent range (almost equal to model 3). Instead of selling it at Chevy dealers which market to credit challenged customers (with exception of their trucks and a few sports cars), the Bolt should have been a BMW 3 series competitor at Caddy. It should have been designed like a trendy Caddy with four doors and 200 mile minimum range and Caddy service. That vehicle could seriously challenge model 3. Yet, all GM offers, is the Bolt, a subcompact looking thing that could be mistaken for a Spark or some other subcompact, at Chevy. Huge opportunity missed.

    • 0 avatar
      rentonben

      My conjecture: GM made the Bolt derpy so as to not have to worry about cannibalizing current sales of higher-end GM cars.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      They tried Volt Coupe for 75K and failed miserably. Cadillac is no longer a serious brand to market such a thing.

      This is where the Saturn concept could have really worked for GM.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    It is natural for TTAC to be skeptical of Tesla. With its silent motors and autonomous sensors the Model 3 could be the enthusiasts worst nightmare…the ultimate appliance.

    Horsepower was once an arena for greasy, bloody fingers. The Tesla army of electrical engineers in tidy clean-rooms programming motor control devices is somehow less glamorous.

    I think the biggest benefit of Tesla is that they are saving us from having to endure any longer the tedious Big Five EV affair full of a future of iterative, impractical hybrids.

    Tesla could easily improve fuel economy and maybe practicality by shaping the car like a Prius or a minivan. But we should take note that he chose a Lotus as his first chassis and the Model S and Model 3 have more in common with a Jaguar XE than a Ford Fiesta.

    I think he truly is trying to build “the best car in the world” and not make the car obsolete.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Just because electric cars challenge those clinging to outdated aspects of cars, does not mean that ev’s are boring appliances. I thought Tesla had put that to rest.

      Horsepower is not an arena for bloody greasy fingers. Those with such fingers just tinker at the fringes of things developed by smart engineers working in professional environmemts. To state that the former is more glamorous than the latter suggests an ignorance of at least one. Not to mention a need to create division where none needs to intrude.

      How are hybrids any more iterative and impractical than ice-only cars?

      A more correct summation of Musk’s influence on the history of the private car is that his efforts slowed its decline.

      I’m just wondering which of the famous custom car builders will show some spunk and create a custom ev or hybrid. If F1 can do it, what are the Foose’s and Koker’s waiting for?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “Horsepower was once an arena for greasy, bloody fingers.”

        I remember manual points systems and having to clean them and adjust them. Same goes for tinkering with carburetors and manual chokes or automatic chokes that didn’t work all that automatically.

        FCA is releasing an 840 hp 9.64 second car that is fully street legal.

        Greasy, bloody fingers need not apply.

        I wish Tesla and Musk all of the best.

      • 0 avatar
        tylanner

        I feel you may have misunderstood my take. There is an air of derision that follows Tesla around like shadow. I was trying to make the case that these cars could be awesome and are not just for nerds and technophiles.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          Thanks for the correction. We eagerly anticipate the first Foose Tesla. Musk probably could do his goals a favor by being supportive.

          Not so keen on a custom Leaf…

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @tylanner – my apologies. There is always a reverse snobbery at play when it comes to machines or even kinds of employment. Instead of the wealthy looking down upon the peons and their claptrap vehicles those owners look down upon those that don’t need to work upon their machines. A man with callused hands looks down upon a man with “soft” hands.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    “causing half a million Tesla fans to engage in a collective round of giddy, high-pitched squealing.”

    The name of the site is “the truth about cars”, not “car snark”. This sort of comment detracts from the site and gives tacit approval to those who contribute little more than snarky comments.

    And imagine what Tesla fans could say about musclecar fans, were they so bad mannered.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Why is there no mention on ttac that Volvo announced they will make no ICE-only cars as of 2019?

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