As we reported last night, the Tesla Model 3 program is on track for initial production to begin in July, and for volume production to begin by September, going by Tesla’s Q4 2016 investor letter. Below are some more details and commentary since this is the #1 topic of interest for many EV fans.
The plan is apparently for production to exceed 5,000 units a week at some point in the fourth quarter, and for production to exceed 10,000 units a week at some point in 2018.
In anticipation of the Model 3 launch, and in conjunction with the gearing up process, Tesla is now rapidly expanding its retail, service, and Supercharger network functions, according to the investor letter.
So … if there are any problems with the run-up to Model 3 production, they aren’t being made public. Considering how much grief the company and its CEO Elon Musk have gotten to date for the Model X launch being delayed, it’s not too surprising that the Model 3 program seems to be running much smoother.
As a reminder here, the Tesla Model 3 was reportedly designed specifically with ease of manufacturing in mind, whereas the Model X was designed with the intent of wowing people with a variety of unique tech and features (the falcon-wing doors, the huge windshield, etc.).
On that note, Tesla’s recent acquisition of the firm Grohmann Engineering was undertaken specifically to help with Model 3 production. The investor letter notes that “this acquisition launches Tesla Advanced Automation Germany, which will help us innovate manufacturing processes to be used initially in Model 3 production.”
Here’s a bit more information on the state of things from the letter:
“In early February, we began building Model 3 prototypes as part of our ongoing testing of the vehicle design and manufacturing processes. Initial crash test results have been positive, and all Model 3-related sourcing is on plan to support the start of production in July. Installation of Model 3 manufacturing equipment is underway in Fremont and at Gigafactory 1, where in January, we began production of battery cells for energy storage products, which have the same form-factor as the cells that will be used in Model 3. Later this year, we expect to finalize locations for Gigafactories 3, 4 and possibly 5 (Gigafactory 2 is the Tesla solar plant in New York).”
As a bit of further information here, for those reading this who haven’t followed Model 3 news much (or at all): the Tesla Model 3 will come standard with a hardware suite allowing for fully autonomous travel (once the necessary software solutions are developed); rumors are that the model will feature a next-gen HUD system that’s like nothing out there currently; base pricing will reportedly be $35,000; and the company will be doing a “final” reveal of the model sometime in the near future (probably at the end of March) where the production version will be shown.
A couple of final things to note here from the letter (which may well end up getting detailed in further articles):
- The company is expecting to invest between $2 billion and $2.5 billion in capital expenditures for the beginning of Model 3 production.
- The company is expecting to deliver between 47,000 and 50,000 Model S and Model X units (combined) during the first half of 2017. This would represent year-on-year delivery growth of 61% to 71%.
- Quarter 4 2016 saw a 49% year-on-year global net order increase (as compared to Quarter 4 2015). So clearly demand is still growing, rather than flatlining as some “analysts” claim.
- The company is expanding its mobile repair service (“Ranger service”), in addition to its service centers.
- The plan is for the current North American Supercharger station network to be doubled in size by the end of 2017 (this will include a number of new stations in Mexico it should be noted).
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