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Elon Musk Unveils The First Production Model 3

On Saturday evening, Elon Musk teased the Tesla faithful tweeting that “Production unit 1 of Model 3 is now built and going through final checkout. Pics soon.” Four hours later Musk kept his promise when he tweeted the first picture of what he said was the first production model of the the Tesla Model 3.


While Musk has yet to deliver any additional details, not much appears to have been altered in the Model 3’s appearance since the concept was revealed in early 2016.

Last week, in which the stock of Tesla briefly tumbled into a bear market after the company announced several disappointing delivery data points, including what appeared to be a ceiling in Model X sales…

… a weaker than expected sell-through of Model S and Model X, and a downgrade by Goldman Sachs which claimed that Tesla may be reaching a demand “plateau” due to the “discontinued order rate metrics, the company’s 2H17 guidance (Model S and Model X deliveries to likely exceed) in combination with the past four quarters of delivery”… 

…Musk tried to salvage some of the hype by claiming that there will be an official “handover party” for 30 customers on July 28, followed by around 100 Model 3 deliveries in August, and around 1,500 more deliveries in September, with hopes of reaching 20,000 deliveries of the car “per month” starting in December.

Tesla has not updated information on the number of current Model 3 reservations according to Jalopnik, but the last figure made available was around 370,000. With demand still high, options on early orders may be limited to wheel and paint color specification, and new Model 3 orders aren’t expected to be delivered until 2018 or later.

While Tesla announced a target price for the lowest Model 3 trim at $35,000, it is not yet clear how expensive the car can be fully-optioned or what specific features and trims will be made available to existing and future orders. Tesla has confirmed that every Model 3 will get at least 215 miles of range with acceleration pegged at 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds. Adding to the cost, those excited about Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving will have to pay to use it as an option upon ordering, or pay to install it via an update later. Tesla has claimed its new hardware, which will be installed on all Teslas going forward, “should be capable of Level 5 autonomous driving by the end of this year.”

Jalopnik also notes Tesla’s pull-back on its previously-free access to its national (and international) Supercharger network. Vehicles ordered after January 1, 2017 will receive 400 kWh of charging credit, which is approximately 1,000 miles of driving. At the time, it was previewed that charging pricing would fluctuate.

Still, one of the most teased elements of the Model 3 is its simplistic “and possibly even sparse” interior design, with Musk confirming that there would be no traditional speedometer, but that buyers “won’t care.” The concept model revealed features a large, landscape-oriented touchscreen in the center of the dashboard, and as Jalopnik notes “it will be interesting to see how, exactly, Tesla has made that work in the production car.”

In all, the announcement of the first Model 3 production unit for a company that has been notorious late in delivering on its expectations is seen by some as an achievement:

Considering Tesla’s past of delaying new models, it’s a tremendous achievement for the Model 3 to reach production on schedule, as promised. Here’s hoping the thing is really the revolutionary electric car for the masses, or whatever.

On the other hand, some wonder if Tesla has not missed (terminally, perhaps, in light of the recent collapse in California Tesla registrations) the delivery window for the “revolutionary” car, which comes at a time when Tesla’s coolness factory appears to be sliding.

As tongue-in-cheek confirmation of this, the most upvoted comment on Jalopnik’s article discussing the Model 3 arrival is the following: “Am I weird for being more excited for the next gen Accord’s reveal next week than I am about this?”