Elon Musk first opened the door for pre-ordering the Model 3 electric auto over a year ago, and within days over 300,000 eager customers shelled out a thousand dollars each in deposits to have their names added to a very long waiting list.
Tesla has thus met its target to begin production of the Model 3 in mid-2017, although the company reportedly followed a different launch cadence and prototype phase compared to traditional automakers. The Wall Street Journal, sighting official data from Hong Kong's Transportation Department, stated that no new Model S sedans or Model X sport utility vehicles were registered in the Chinese territory in April. Tesla reports orders for the Model 3 of around 500,000, and industry reports suggest that its plant will be producing 20,000 examples per month by December. A visit to the Tesla website only reveals the same information that has been up there for some time, among other things noting a "starting price" of $35,000.
In 2016, Tesla made 84,000 cars, while more established auto manufacturers such as Toyota or Volkswagen typically produce around 10 million vehicles per year.
The first vehicle was reserved for Tesla board member Ira Ehrenpreis, who, instead of keeping the auto for himself, chose to give it away as a 46th birthday present for none other than Elon Musk.
On Monday, it acknowledged that it had experienced a "severe shortfall" in production of 100-kilowatt battery packs that use new technologies and are made on new assembly lines. Its $35,000 starting price makes it by far the cheapest vehicle Tesla has ever produced - far cheaper than the Tesla Model S, which starts at $68,000.
"Tesla is working with the Shanghai Municipal Government to explore the possibility of establishing a manufacturing facility in the region to serve the Chinese market".
So while we now have a clear look at the final Model 3 design from an exterior perspective, it remains to be seen what the Model 3 interior is going to look like. The Model 3 is the company's fourth auto to be developed, third in its current line-up, apart from the Model S and the Model X.
Tesla has been working hard to stick to the Model 3 schedule. The company's website now states a delivery estimate of mid-2018 or later for any new reservations. The electric vehicle producer reported ($1.97) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters' consensus estimate of ($0.67) by $1.30.