Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Friday the Model 3 had over half a million advance reservations as he handed over the first 30 to employee buyers.
Outside Tesla’s Fremont, California factory, Musk showed off the $35,000 base vehicle with a range of 220 miles on a charge that marks a departure from the company’s earlier luxury electric cars.
‘The whole point of Tesla was to build a great affordable electric car,’ Musk said at gathering for the rollout of the first Model 3 cars.
‘That’s what this day means. I’m confident it’ll be the best car in its class, gasoline or not, hands down.’
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Friday the Model 3 had over half a million advance reservations as he handed over the first 30 to employee buyers
Outside Tesla’s Fremont, California factory, Musk (onstage) showed off the $35,000 base vehicle with a range of 220 miles on a charge that marks a departure from the company’s earlier luxury electric cars
The Tesla Model 3 cars were all lined up and waiting for their new owners at the company’s facility
Customers pay $1,000 refundable deposits for the car, which is eligible for tax credits. Any new buyers would likely not receive their car until the end of 2018, Musk said
Hours before the event, Musk acknowledged it would be ‘quite a challenge’ to build the car during the early days of production.
‘We’re going to go through at least six months of manufacturing hell,’ Musk said.
The over half a million reservations are up from about 373,000 disclosed in April 2016.
Customers pay $1,000 refundable deposits for the car, which is eligible for tax credits. Any new buyers would likely not receive their car until the end of 2018, Musk said.
A longer-range version of the car is priced at $44,000 and will drive 310 miles on a single charge.
The cars feature a streamlined dashboard devoid of buttons or knobs, with a 15-inch touchstream display to the right of the driver.
Earlier this month, Musk predicted that within 10 years nearly all new cars made in the US will be autonomous, and half of those will be fully electric vehicles. The SpaceX chief said within 20 years, driving a car will be like having a horse because ‘there will not be a steering wheel’
The cars feature a sleek interior that Tesla announced is now vegan. Initially the seats were leather
The cars feature a streamlined dashboard devoid of buttons or knobs, with a 15-inch touchstream display to the right of the driver
Earlier this month, Musk predicted that within 10 years nearly all new cars made in the US will be autonomous, and half of those will be fully electric vehicles.
‘China is probably going to be ahead of that,’ the SpaceX chief said.
Musk said that within 20 years, driving a car will be like having a horse because ‘there will not be a steering wheel’.
Tesla faces major hurdles living up to the Model 3 hype. The 500,000 vehicles Tesla vows to produce next year are nearly six times its 2016 production.
Were Tesla to produce, and sell 500,000 cars per year, the company would likely outsell the BMW, Mercedes, or Lexus brands in the US.
Production delays and quality issues marred the launches of Tesla’s Model S and Model X vehicles, and the company blamed production problems for a shortfall during the second quarter of this year.
Musk has said a simpler Model 3 design will greatly reduce potential assembly-line problems.
Tesla has burned through over $2 billion in cash so far this year ahead of the launch. A troubled Model 3 launch could heighten the risks for the company, while a steady delivery of Model 3s could generate a stream of cash that would allow Tesla to avoid going again to the capital markets to fund its operations.
Tesla’s share price has surged 54 per cent since January in anticipation of the Model 3 launch, and Tesla’s pricey valuation now exceeds that of traditional rivals like General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co.
Until now, Tesla has operated as a niche producer of luxury electric vehicles, with a charismatic, showman CEO who regularly interacts with fans on his Twitter account.
Now loss-making Tesla is trying to move into a different league, building vehicles in high volume for customers able to pay only a few thousand dollars more than the average price of a conventional car or truck sold in the US.
The Model 3 is part of Musk’s broader plan to build a clean energy and transportation company that offers electric semi trucks, rooftop solar energy systems and large-scale battery storage systems.
HOW THE MODEL 3 WILL BE MADE
Elon Musk has likened future versions of Tesla’s Model 3 production line to an ‘alien dreadnought’ – and last week the first pictures of the factory emerged.
A Reddit user claiming to work for robot making company Kuka posted the images of what he says are 467 robots being delivered to the car-making firm’s California HQ.
The photos show a large shipment of unmounted robots that will form part of the ambitious production line.
SoutheastTraders forum user Mac11FA, via the Tesla subreddit, said he is a Field Service Engineer for Kuka Robotics.
The robots captured in the photos appear to be largely manufactured by Augsburg, Germany-based Kuka robotics, according to Teslarati.
The robots, each costing anywhere between $50k to as much as $500k can manage multiple tasks by switching adapters and moving across multiple axes.
‘Kuka is the world’s leading provider of production systems in the automotive industry,’ the firm boasts on its website.
‘With years of experience, we are the master in the design of flexible and efficient production processes.’
Tesla starts production of the Model 3 in later this week.
The company’s desire to move beyond its current position as a niche maker of luxury cars largely rests on the Model 3.
The lower-cost model, which will start around $35,000, is set to go on sale later this year.
Tesla said it is preparing its factory in Fremont, California, to produce 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week sometime before the end of 2017 and 10,000 per week at some point in 2018.
Palo Alto, California-based Tesla is also expanding its network of stores and charging stations to meet anticipated demand.
Tesla said it plans to open 100 retail and service locations worldwide this year, including its first stores in Dubai and South Korea.
It also plans to double the number of fast-charging Supercharger stations to 10,000.