TMC Source Confirms Tesla Model 3 Production To Begin On Time


The question on everyone’s lips is not when Donald  Trump will be impeached, but whether production of the Tesla Model 3 will begin on time. Elon Musk said publicly last year that the target date to begin building Model 3 sedans was July, 2017.

Tesla Model 3 in SF Tesla Life

Chastened somewhat by the disaster surrounding the roll out of the Model X, Musk admitted his targets were always ambitious and represented a best case scenario. He implied it was more realistic to expect things to get rolling on the Model 3 production line by the end of the third quarter.

Model 3 Production To Start Soon

Trevor Page, founder of the Model 3 Owners Club forum, has gained a reputation as someone who is especially well informed when it comes to what’s going on behind the scenes at Tesla. He posted on Sunday that a source at Tesla had told him “things are about to start happening very soon and and fast.” In fact, the source claims Tesla will have “several thousand” cars finished and ready for delivery by the end of July.

According to the information, all the cars will come with the black interior, will be painted in one of five colors, and have a choice of 2 to 3 tire and wheel packages. No other options will be included in the initial production run — no dual motor configuration, no glass roof, no interior or suspension upgrades.

Musk has made it clear that the number of combinations the assembly line has to deal with at the start of production will be kept to a bare minimum. First the company will focus on building the cars. Personalizing then will come later.

Option Lead Time In Design Studio

The source also tells Page that the Design Studio — expected to go live at the end of July — will display some of the more popular options like the glass roof and dual motor configuration and give customers an approximate idea of when those options — and others — will become available. The best guess is that all wheel drive with dual motors will arrive toward the end of this year or in early 2018.

The manufacturing process may be greatly simplified, but that doesn’t mean the first cars off the line will be strippos configured for rental fleets! The chatter on Model 3 Owners Club suggests the cars will be fitted with the largest available battery and a mid-level interior package. That’s what happened with the Model X launch. If so, the first cars will not be priced at the $35,000 base price Musk has promised. Those cars will get built later.

Employees First

In fact, all of them will be delivered first to Tesla and SpaceX employees, who were able to reserve cars two weeks prior to the general public. According to Cleantechnica, the thinking is that employees are less likely to bitch and moan about minor issues with the cars. In effect, they will be beta testers for the company, providing valuable feedback to improve the production process.

Next up, current Tesla owners who live near the Fremont factory. Once again, the company expects current owners to be fairly tolerant of initial quality concerns. And if the cars need to be returned for any reason, they will be close enough to the factory to get upgraded and back on the road as quickly as possible.

Getting Caught Short

Some investors have bet heavily against Tesla, based largely on its reputation for missing deadlines. Within the next few weeks, those short sellers may lose bets worth billions of dollars as Tesla not only starts production on time but actually a few weeks earlier than Elon’s most optimistic projections.

moPhoto credit: The Tesla Life via Twitter



About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • mb

    I like your opening sentence 🙂
    Nice for the (few?) thousand Tesla and Space X employees. My reservation number is probably in the 200K+ so I hope by then I can order the pano roof and AWD, although I am only 20 minutes away from Fremont (in case Tesla is reading this). Looking forward to it…

    • Steve Hanley

      I expect you will get exactly the car you want by the time VIN 200001 rolls around! I would order both of those options for my personal car. When you finally get your hands on yours and get to put a few miles on it, let us know. We might want to do a story about your experiences with the car to share with our readers.

      Glad you liked the first sentence. ‘ – )

      • mb

        I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

  • BigWu

    Here’s hoping Tesla keeps it’s street nickname: get shorty!