After questioning about ramping up production of the Tesla Model 3, Elon (seconds ago, as I type) said that the drivetrain of the Tesla Model 3 at the March 31 launch was the production drivetrain for the world-changing Model 3.
Overall, the design of the Model 3 is almost complete. This should give a lot of EV/Tesla/Model 3 fans and climate hawks very happy.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk let it slip that the production target date for all Model 3 suppliers is July 1, 2017. He made it completely clear that this target date is “impossible,” and explained at length why Tesla has to have such an aggressive and unrealistic date.
As one analogy trying to explain it, he noted that there’s always a required date to turn in a term paper, but you know some will be late. The thing is that, even if one single supplier is late, the car will be late. So, taking into account the near-fact that some suppliers will be late and there could be tooling/ramp problems, Tesla expects to have the Tesla Model 3 in serious production by the end of 2017… but the closer to July 2017, the better.
Also emphasized a few times on the conference call, Elon noted that the Model 3 is being designed in order to be easy to produce. He said that it is “the first car” that Tesla will make that “is designed to be easy to make.”
To repeat: Model 3 design is close to done, and the drivetrain in the car on March 31 was the production drivetrain. Between now and end of 2017, Tesla is getting all of the suppliers on board and very closely watching their ability to ramp, as well as tooling up its own manufacturing facilities. Specifically asked about the need for new tools for the Model 3 production, Elon said, “if you can make a human baby in 9 months, you can make a tool in 9 months, so that’s our expectation.” (Thanks to “FANGO” for jotting this line down, as I was too busy typing other things to do so.)