Elon Musk: Tesla Model 3 to roll off production line two weeks early
The first Tesla Model 3 will roll off the production line this week, according to tweets from Tesla Motors’ chief executive Elon Musk.
“Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule,” Musk wrote, adding that the very first car was expected to be completed by Friday.
“Handover party for first 30 customer Model 3’s on the 28th! Production grows exponentially, so August should be 100 cars and September above 1,500,” he added. “Looks like we can reach 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in December.”
The Model 3 is intended to be Tesla’s entry into the mass-market; a mid-sized family car costing from $35,000 (£26,924), which is less than half the cost of the £65,923 Model S. It has been available for pre-order, with a refundable $1,000 deposit, since April 2016, with drivers placing more than a quarter of a million pre-orders in the deal’s first weekend.
As the name suggests, the 3 is the third model in the current Tesla range. Musk will be hoping its production is simpler than the company’s second car, the Model X, which first delivered to customers almost 18 months later than planned. That car, a hybrid SUV, was over-complicated by a plethora of customisation options, as well as unique gull-wing doors and custom-build chairs for the front seats.
The Model 3, by contrast, will only be customisable by wheel type and colour. “We’ve kept the initial configurations of the Model 3 very simple,” Musk said at a shareholder meeting in June. “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.”
But the stumbling blocks for the Model 3 will come elsewhere. The vehicle is the first that Tesla will be producing in high volume. In 2015, it produced just 84,000 cars total, compared to rivals like General Motors, which built more than 10m. Similarly, the company’s support burden will explode once the Model 3s are on the road.
Tesla has already committed to increasing the number of stores and service centres by 30% this year, and to building a new fleet of mobile service trucks.