Elon Musk is at it again. He announced at the 2016 Code Conference in California that design work on the Model 3 would be complete in six weeks. In the world of Elon, the mantra is “Set the bar high and then raise it.” So far, it is working pretty well for the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Tesla Motors.
For those who are following the trajectory of the upcoming Tesla Model 3, Musk first said Tesla would build 500,000 of them a year by 2020. Industry observers and pundits replied that such a goal, coming from a company that has never produced much more than a tenth as many cars, was wildly optimistic.
Musk responded as he usually does. He shortened the timeline by 2 years. Last month, he brazenly announced that production of the Model 3 would begin on July 1, 2017. His announcement served notice on all Tesla’s suppliers that they better have all their ducks in a row no later than that date. While admitting that the start of Model 3 production may have some glitches, he thinks Tesla can build between 100,000 and 200,000 cars before the end of next year.
At the Code Conference, Musk said, “Almost all of the Model 3 design is done, and we’re aiming for pencils down basically in six weeks, complete pencils down. 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 versions 2 and 3 goes along with his words at the Tesla annual meeting earlier this week. There, he took to the podium to admit the company had crammed too much new technology into the Model X too soon. He put much of the blame on himself, using the word “hubris” several times. It would have been smarter to roll out a version 1 of the company’s SUV and then add improvements later, he said.
The best example is the Model S. It was on sale for two years before the hardware for its Autopilot suite of self driving features was added. It was another year before the software to make all that hardware functional was added.
Musk has said repeatedly that the Model S and Model X were designed first, then made production capable. He insists the company has learned from its mistakes and that the Model 3 was designed first and foremost for ease of production. That change in focus is a big part of the reason Musk thinks such large production numbers will be possible.
When the Model 3 was first introduced on March 31, Elon said it was just Phase One of the launch. He promised Phase Two would be something really special. What that is has been the subject of much speculation. Some people expect the Model 3 to be the first true Level 4 autonomous car. Others think it will feature an incredible new heads up display that projects all the most vital information directly onto the windshield so the driver never has to take eyes off the road.
Whatever is coming, Musk promised the audience at the Code Conference that a “big” event for the Model 3 will happen “before the end of this year”. Based on prior Tesla announcements, it promises to be quite a show.
Source: The Verge Photo Credit: Motor Trend