Report: Tesla To Start Pilot Production Of Model 3 On February 20

1 month ago by Eric Loveday 170

Tesla Model 3

News is just now breaking (via Reuters) that Tesla will start pilot production of the Model 3 on February 20, after Tesla earlier reported that it will pause production at its Fremont factory this month to add capacity to areas like the paint shop for the upcoming Model 3.

Reuters cites “people familiar with the matter” as the source of the leak on the pre-production start.

According to Reuters:

“Tesla Inc has told suppliers it planned to begin test-building its Model 3 sedans on Feb. 20, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that could allay concerns about the company meeting its target to start production in July.”

Tesla Model 3 Spotted Testing Near Palo Alto

Tesla will likely start to produce only a small amount of Model 3s in February. The vast majority of these vehicles will see extensive internal testing, nothing more.

If pilot production does indeed begin later this month, then perhaps Tesla can remain on track for Model 3 deliveries to begin later this year (Tesla’s ‘best case’ target was earlier set by CEO Elon Musk for July 2017) in the U.S.

Reuters reached out to Tesla for comment on this Model production 3 news. A spokesman declined to comment on the production timeline, but did state:

“Our ramp-up in production moves as fast as the slowest and least lucky supplier.”

A rather odd statement. That’s for sure. Is Tesla really trying to place all responsibility on suppliers?

If Tesla hits the February 20 target, then just 2 days later it will share the big news with investors when it reports Q4 earnings. As Reuters reported:

“What better way to stoke the fan base and Wall Street than to wheel out pre-production models” ahead of the earnings announcement, said one person familiar with Tesla’s plans who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Long term, Tesla hopes to produce some 500,000 Model 3s, Model S sedans and Model Xs per years starting from 2018. That goal seems highly optimistic, but we’ll hold off on saying it’s impossible for now.

Source: Reuters

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171 responses to "Report: Tesla To Start Pilot Production Of Model 3 On February 20"

  1. tftf says:

    Ok. Do people know what this means?

    Actual production will start around the end of the year at the earliest.

    GM did this in early 2016 and they barely managed to ship and sell a few hundred cars in late December 2016:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/samabuelsamid/2016/03/22/chevrolet-builds-pre-production-bolt-ev-as-wall-street-salivates-for-tesla-model-3/#e866f69c453c

    PS: And GM did a lot of road testing with earlier prototypes in mid-2015 already.

    1. Ambulator says:

      Do you really think Tesla is going to be as careful as General Motors? Even if they are that would still mean production this year, which is better than many people think.

      1. Ziv says:

        Do you really think a newby like Tesla can do this much faster than GM? Tesla will be lucky to deliver more than a handful of III’s this year.
        But I will bet that by April or June they are selling a Giga-ton of them every month. Tesla is going to rock the car industry in 2018.

        1. Nix says:

          Yes, they can.

          Right off the bat, Tesla doesn’t have to build a validation assembly line and then physically move it into production like GM does. Tesla built their final production assembly line already.

          Here are GM’s steps:
          1) Build validation assembly line
          2) Test validation assembly line
          3) Schedule end of production for whatever is being built on the current production assembly line. This shutdown is typically scheduled for early summer, as model year switch-over occurs. This is typically 3-6 weeks.
          4) Break down current production assembly line.
          5) Update production assembly line with new assembly line for the new car.
          6) Retest production assembly line.

          Tesla doesn’t do any of this. They have a brand new assembly line that they started unit testing last October. That assembly line IS the production assembly line.

          No messing with switch-overs, no scheduling issues, no teardown and reconfiguration.

          Second off, Tesla hired a former Audi A4/A5/Q5 head of Manufacturing, who said that Tesla was actually well ahead of traditional ICE car companies when it comes to their manufacturing plan for the Model 3.

          Third, Tesla has invested heavily into “building the machine that builds the machines”, including buying their own Robotics company. Tesla has been VERY up front about smarter manufacturing being the key to bringing down the price of the Model 3. Their target has been to revolutionize the manufacturing the same way they revolutionized the electric car.

          Where is it written in stone somewhere that GM is the Holy Grail of automotive manufacturing, which supposedly no car maker can best? I would bet that there are lots of other ICE car makers who would reject that as a misconception too…

          1. Matt says:

            In fact, I would say that manufacturing is the thing that GM does the worst. The only company in the world that comes close to as much product engineering as GM is Toyota. Talk about the Germans and Japanese all you want, by far the greatest collection of product design talent is in the US. Just like beer. But I digress.

            1. James says:

              Based on the poorly aligned panels on my Volt, I’d say you are correct.

          2. Ziv says:

            Nix, Matt, I hope you both are right and I am wrong! It would be very cool to see more than a couple hundred III’s arrive in 2017. I think it is going to be a relative handful, but I would love to see more show up, sooner.
            The fact that we aren’t seeing dozens of III’s on the road makes me wonder just how soon they will be arriving, though.
            I keep thinking about the things that slow deliveries down. It takes a month after production starts for the first cars to show up in peoples driveways, and most of the first III’s are going to be delivered to current Tesla owners in California, so if you order a base III and don’t live in CA, you might be waiting a while.

            1. Nix says:

              Ziv — “I keep thinking about the things that slow deliveries down.”

              That’s your problem right there. It is leading you to fabricating issues that don’t exist. Like this one:

              “It takes a month after production starts for the first cars to show up in peoples driveways”

              Nope. Not at all. It typically takes a couple of days to a week for Tesla to build a car. From there you can pick it up right at the factory. If you want it delivered, it may take up to 2 weeks. This is documented here, where the Production to delivery is 2 weeks:

              http://www.teslarati.com/journey-to-owning-tesla-model-s/

              But even that is an over estimate, because that is a general number, not a California specific number.

              For that we can look at actual delivery times:

              https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1XZiDkogRyBqHMEnlWJT4HA8BKxYjR5J-z5TPikra8gQ/edit#gid=723244002

              There are 4 CA deliveries currently on that list. Here are the actual number of days of BOTH time to build plus time to deliver added together:

              6 days
              7 days
              10 days
              17 days

              This also includes BUYER initiated delays, such as having delivery on a specific preferred date. So a week to 2 weeks for CA delivery.

              No need to wait a month. Not in California. East coast is indeed another story, but they aren’t getting “the first cars”. CA is. The currently available information doesn’t support your claims.

              1. JeremyK says:

                You can’t use current production delivery statistics to determine what M3 SOP delivery timing will be. Ziv is correct. There are much more detailed quality inspection/repairs that need to be made to those first vehicles coming off the line. Plan on a month.

                1. Nix says:

                  Tesla has begun assembly line testing much sooner than with the Model S or X, so while I agree that there will be some additional delay on the production end, it won’t be a repeat of MS or MX delays.

                  And much of those delays will likely be made up for on expedited deliveries, as Tesla prioritizes getting these cars to customers FASTER than current MS and MX delivery times.

                  If you go to my source, you will see that MORE of the time is spent in delivery than in production. Many early deliveries will likely happen right at the factory, greatly cutting down the delivery portion of the numbers I posted.

                  So even with added rework times, and added inspection times, 1 month is still an exaggeration.

          3. unlucky says:

            Tesla has to do 5 and 6 at least. 3 can be done overlapping with 1 and 2 if you have a spare place to do it. And GM does.

            So really you’re talking about 3 and 4 as being different.

            I think you’re making a lot out of nothing.

            And yeah, Tesla has been very up front about how they are very smart and Detroit knows nothing about anything. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is so.

            Same with your comment from the new Tesla employee. Do you really think he can speak freely on this? Imagine if he said the opposite what would happen.

            1. Nix says:

              No, you cannot overlap as much as you say. For example, if you are not done with testing, you cannot schedule a firm switch-over date. Or if you do schedule a date, you will have to pad out the date by weeks in order to account for unknown problems.

              You can only truly set a firm date once testing is complete.

              1. unlucky says:

                Yes, you can schedule a firm switchover date without having finished testing. You’re not kidding yourself into thinking there aren’t further changes to make once you make the production line.

                And you’re talking about doing it in advance anyway, as you say, if there is only a few weeks shutdown you have little choices to when to change over. You’re not going to delay by a year.

                Yes, you will have to pad out the dates anyway to account for unforeseen problems. That’s how schedules work. If you don’t do so, you’ll just end up slipping the schedule anyway, because not putting time for problems in the schedule doesn’t mean you then won’t have problems!

                Either way, you tried to make this out as a huge difference in process between companies when in actuality it is a small difference.

                1. Nix says:

                  “Yes, you will have to pad out the dates anyway to account for unforeseen problems. That’s how schedules work”

                  Correct. That means GM needs to schedule EVERYTHING with a significant amount of padding, just to make sure everything is ready by the hard switchover date. That padding adds time throughout the ENTIRE schedule so they can hit the target date.

                  This is Project Management 101.

                  However, there is NO SWITCH-OVER DATE for Tesla. Because they don’t have an assembly line switch-over from building another car. Tesla built an entirely new assembly line in all the massive amounts of space they have in Toyota/GM’s old NUMMI plant that could push out half a million cars a year.

                  You unwittingly proved my point. All that padding that is required to hit a specific date forces GM to lengthen out the project plan. Or they have to complete work, and then schedule the date. Either way, it is time Tesla simply doesn’t have to spend.

                  1. unlucky says:

                    I didn’t say identical. I said you’re making a small difference into a big difference. If you’re trying to disprove that they are identical you’re only arguing with yourself.

                    And there’s no reason GM has to shut anything either. They have spare manufacturing capacity too.

                    You listed 6 things GM has to do. But one can be overlapped with 2 of them, dropping the count to 4. And of those 4, Tesla also has to do 2 of them. So the difference is 2 items. 2 of the smaller items. Its not huge like you make out.

                2. Nix says:

                  Oh, and I’m not saying it is the entire difference between how Tesla does their job, and GM does their job.

                  I’m simply giving one very obvious and easily proven difference between the two, which illustrates how false it is to simply ASSume that GM’s process and Tesla’s process are identical.

                  Pretending the two are identical is a falsehood, and I don’t have to detail every single difference to prove the falsehood. Just like I don’t need to list every prime number to prove that 6 is not a prime number.

          4. JeremyK says:

            This doesn’t change the fact that it takes many many months of testing of pre-production vehicles before SOP. So, we are still waiting to see these first pre-production vehicles. SOP by end of 2017 will only be possible if we see Beta level vehicles in the next month or two.

            Additionally, every time Tesla drops a supplier or has to change the design, the clock resets. Changing suppliers mid-stream is a big tear up to timing.

            1. Nix says:

              Jeromy — that is why Tesla has completely revamped their Supply Chain processes for the Model 3. Tesla now physically visits the factory floor to confirm progress, and works directly with production on the floor to confirm readiness (instead of just working with sales executives who promise everything is always great).

              When Tesla lined up suppliers for the Model S, Tesla was nobody, with no sales. They had a hard time being taken seriously by suppliers. Now suppliers are begging Tesla to be included. There simply is no comparing the Model 3 supply chain to previous Tesla cars.

          5. georgeS says:

            @Nix
            good point on cutting time out of the process by having a new assembly line sitting there ready to go and not having to switch over an existing one.

            I don’t remember reading anywhere that their assembly line for model 3 was done already. Do you have a link?

            1. Steven says:

              The main line, is the Model 3 line. They’re re-tooling it this month for Model 3 production, that’s kind of what the article is about.

              1. Nix says:

                Steven,

                That is incorrect. Tesla has two lines currently for current production, and the Model 3 line will actually be their third line.

          6. georgeS says:

            @Nix
            This whole thing appears to be over blown.

            If you read the Reuters article they said:
            “Separately, sources told Reuters that the luxury electric carmaker planned to begin test-building the Model 3 on Feb. 20. ”

            The article here we are commenting on calls it “pilot production”

            To me “test building” as stated in the Reuters source means they are starting to build alpha test cars….not necessarily off the final production line.

            Plus the only reference I see on October production line is some drawings being complete, not the whole line. …and the shut down of the Tesla Line is for adding paint facilities.

            So I’m not so sure Tesla will be starting build of cars on the actual line this month. I think they are talking alpha test cars…not necessarily built on the formal production line and certainly not with final production parts. The sub contractors have until June or so to get production parts to Tesla.

            That said I think we will indeed see some few of the first production cars get delivered at the end of 2017.

            1. HVACman says:

              I agree with you, George. We would have seen increasing numbers of spy-shots and other reports of hand-built production-intent Model 3’s on the road the past few months if Tesla had already completed their pre-production validation process and were ready to do some assembly-line validation builds.

              Tesla probably would have leaked some of those spy shots themselves if they existed, just for the free media frenzy/publicity and some informal visual confirmation that the Model 3 really is moving forward.

              Cryptic announcements about “pilot” production and timing based on the “most unlucky” vendor suggest that Tesla has bad news but doesn’t want to admit it, so must “spin” their announcements.

              Many may believe that Tesla has some Silicon-Valley-specific “secret sauce” that can bypass the auto-industry-proven-process for mass-market vehicle development, but GM, with the Bolt’s like-clockwork development from conception to retail sale, gave Tesla a schooling on what “experience” can do as opposed to “secret sauces”.

              I wish Tesla good luck, but they continue to burn cash at a record rate and it appears to me that cash-burn turn-around point continues to move further into the horizon.

            2. Nix says:

              george — they are building their test fleet on the same assembly line that will be their production assembly line.

              Unlike GM, they don’t build a validation assembly line, then take it apart, and retool the production assembly line. Tesla is simply building out their production assembly line that they will tweak as needed through this process.

              They ordered parts to build up to 300 pre-production cars on this assembly line. If you don’t think this is a HUUUUUGE step forward for Tesla, I don’t know what to say.

              This is huge. With lots of u’s.

            3. Roy_H says:

              George, by your description these must be beta cars, not alpha. The way I read it is that the paint shop has excess capacity (originally designed for 500k cars annually) and all models of cars are run through the paint shop, but the rest of the assembly line is unique to Model 3.

        2. Nick says:

          Highly recommended reading Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. Then you will understand exactly why that first statement is 100% incorrect.

      2. DJ says:

        I hope so. Tesla has a hell of a lot more to lose…

        Here is to hoping they have a successful launch whenever it may be 🙂

    2. tftf says:

      Here’s a good article covering the process (using the GM Bolt as an example).

      There’s a big difference between integration tests (2015) and the later (2016) test fleet…

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/samabuelsamid/2016/06/13/2017-chevrolet-bolt-ev-gets-closer-as-it-appears-in-residential-neighborhoods/#4d1c4be81db3

      Now the curious thing we haven’t seen 50-100 Teslas drive around in 2016 (or there would be more spy shots, some tests can’t be simulated indoors etc.).

      I’m questioning if this really is “pilot production” already – even so, actual production would be about 9 months off.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “Actual production will start around the end of the year at the earliest.”

      Well, since you’re always wrong in your serial Tesla bashing, tftf, then perhaps I need to quit predicting that Tesla won’t get more than a few token Model 3’s off the production line at the end of this year.

      Since you’re so reliable at being wrong, perhaps I need to move my prediction up much closer to Tesla’s target date, which is July 1.

      😛 😛 😛

      1. unlucky says:

        Isn’t it a little early to declare this other person wrong?

        We’re still talking about the future here.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          I’ve been reading tftf’s B.S. for years, both here and over on Seeking Alpha.

          So no, it’s far past time to report that very nearly everything he posts about Tesla and its cars is wrong. He’s very reliable that way! Maybe not quite “batting 1000”, but surely better than 990.

          1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

            That’s really ironic Pu-Pu, you accusing someone else of always being wrong. Oy veh! [face palm]

            You’re the only person I know that claims Moore’s Law is wrong, and that the increase in the number of transistors on a chip gets smaller every two years. [double face palm]

            You’re also the only person I know who claims that the increase in the energy density of a Li-Ion battery in kilowatt hours gets smaller every year. [triple face palm, if only I had a third hand]

            Pu-Pu said:
            “Hey, if you [Sven] want to keep pointing out your ridiculous claim that, as li-ion batteries improve in energy density every year, the actual amount (not percentage, but the actual measured amount) of improvement actually increases every year, fearlessly violating the law of diminishing returns… Well, you go right ahead and continue to expose your lack of scientific literacy… Yes, it is sad when someone starts believing his own lies.”
            http://insideevs.com/gm-honda-announced-85m-joint-fuel-cell-system-manufacturing-operation-in-michigan/#comment-1138596

            Pu-Pu said:
            “What I’m certain of is that the improvement here is, like Moore’s law, a situation where things get incrementally smaller as the years pass, so the law of diminishing returns applies. Sven’s math would suggest the amount of improvement increases every year… which is backwards. The actual, measurable improvement will incrementally decrease every year, all else being equal.”
            http://insideevs.com/tesla-cto-j-b-straubel-30-increase-in-battery-energy-density-from-model-s-to-model-3-video/#comment-1106143

            Somebody please tell this FOOL that he is absolutely and completely wrong.

            1. Bill Howland says:

              Yeah, whenever I try to politely correct him he insults me so I’ve given up trying to be polite with him – he has the manners and thought processes of a rude 11 year old – of course – there are several here like him cheapening the discussion.

              He at least HOPES he’s much more believable when he says “THOSE IN THE KNOW ABOUT THE 2nd law of Thermodynamics”; when he can’t solve the simplest TD problem in existence.

              Or he doesn’t understand that talking about the characteristics of a car are not the same as necessarily criticizing it.

              He talks about ‘Settled Science’ as if it were settled law. And he never argues the point he is trying to make – since he usually doesn’t remotely understand any of the details.

              This is why discussion about points or statistical issues are pointless with him as such subjects are well over his head.

              Don’t try any Calulus-based proofs on him either – he’ll just say they’re science fiction!

              1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

                I couldn’t have said it better myself. That pretty much describes Pu-Pu to T.

      2. CDAVIS says:

        lol… +1

    4. Nix says:

      “end of year” being the last half (as in “tail end of the year”) then yes.

      Which must just gall the hell out of trolls like you who kept saying late 2018 or 2019…

      I predict the short interest in this story will be enormous…..

      1. tftf says:

        1.) The Reuters report is calling this “pilot production”. If it’s not the car production is much further away than 9 months, see my two links above.
        I used the GM Bolt on purpose because it’s also fully electric and GM was lauded for quick development times – even so it took 18-24 months of Bolt road tests (and before that testing with mules).

        2.) Volume production for Model3 is 2018 (US) and 2019 (global) imho. 2017 production will likely be for Elon and his friends (and we will see about QA if Tesla tries a fast ramp…).

        1. Nix says:

          Tesla isn’t GM.

          1) GM is not the Holy Grail of even ICE car making. Using their process even to predict other ICE car maker schedules is dangerous and fraught with ASSumptions.

          2) Tesla has not at all been following in GM’s footsteps. See my previous posts.

          3) You don’t know when Tesla began Model 3 drivetrain mule testing. Nobody outside of Tesla does. Pretending otherwise is foolishness.

          Sorry for your shorts. Are they feeling tight?

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Tesla envy happens when other people have, ahem, long positions and yours is too short. — Jim Whitehead
            😉

          2. tftf says:

            “GM is not the Holy Grail of even ICE car making”

            I did not write that. But there are testing cycles in the car industry that take time – months and months.

            The best Japanese car makers compressed the pre-testing phase by 12+ months (by overlapping design phases etc.), you can’t shave more time off.

            Some deadlines are regulatory (crash tests etc.) and some are global (otherwise Tesla couldn’t export the car) and can’t be done faster.

            The Reuters story isn’t even confirmed 100%, see CNET link below.

            Maybe it’s just about parts delivery and supplier validation…if so, Model3 volume production is even off further into 2018.

            1. ffbj says:

              I will split the difference and say late October, perhaps a Halloween start with a few hundreds coming off the line, with a few thousand by Christmas. To early to bandy about who is wrong or right.

            2. Nix says:

              tftf

              My point is that no, you can’t simply say GM was here at this date, so Tesla must also be there too on the exact same timeline.

              “The best Japanese car makers compressed the pre-testing phase”

              So you admit that not everybody has to match GM. Thanks for proving my point.

              “Some deadlines are regulatory (crash tests etc.) and some are global (otherwise Tesla couldn’t export the car)”

              Tesla isn’t going to start exports with their initial deliveries. So this is yet another example of how Tesla does it different than other car makers, and can shave off time from other car makers. Again, you can’t simply ASSume that Tesla will do what other car makers do. Especially since Tesla has stated that they have specifically focused on changing processes from the norm, and the Production Manager brought in from Audi stated that Tesla was well ahead of ICE car makers in advancements in production.

              So enough of the FUD that Tesla can’t possibly do this or that, just because ONE company (GM) didn’t do it that way for ONE car (Bolt). It is outright FUD, and the more you post, the more you prove yourself wrong.

    5. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      “GM, on the other hand, showed the Bolt concept at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and had at least 50 integration prototypes on the road by June 2015. ”

      So far there are only 2 driveable Model 3 concepts. Sure Tesla will produce _something_ this year. But I doubt if it will be above the level other automakers call “preproduction”, or beta-test in software world.

      1. Maybe I was dreaming, but I remember stories last August about Tesla ordering parts for 300 Prototype vehicles! This then, would probably be the start of those being built!

        If they only build 1 a day, then, sure – it will be 2018 before retail production begins! I don’t think they will be that slow!

    6. Dan says:

      GM didn’t want to get the Bolt in production any earlier than December. GM is just stamping out bodies while LG makes all the hard parts – and LG didn’t have that stuff ready in volume prior to December.

      Tesla has already been testing the production electronics for up to a year now, as the mules has production drivetrains way back in March 2016.

      1. Anon says:

        100% Correct.

      2. theflew says:

        This might be news but motors, LCD displays and batteries aren’t hard to make. Companies just specialize in them.  LG makes millions of motors each year for various things. Millions of LCD displays for various things. And not only do they make batteries, but they also make the machines that make the batteries.

        1. Nix says:

          “batteries aren’t hard to make”

          And yet making a single alignment mistake on just 1 of 4 battery manufacturing lines at A123 bankrupted both A123 and helped bankrupt Fisker.

    7. buu says:

      well lucky for Tesla they don’t plant to start selling cars 1000s kilometres away first. You know its basically extra month

    8. Martin Winlow says:

      Using GM as a yardstick for what Tesla may do is about as flawed thinking as it gets!

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Indeed!

        GM is to be commended for testing its new models for months before actually selling any, to work out as many of the early production problems as possible.

        Contrariwise, Tesla has been criticized rather often, and with some justification, for using buyers of early production units as “beta testers”.

        Regardless of whether or not beginning sales of a newly produced model ASAP is wise, or good for Tesla’s long-term reputation, it’s patent nonsense to claim that Tesla can’t start selling a new model within weeks of putting it into production because GM never does it that way!

    9. Ron M says:

      This is great news especially after the analyst’s comment yesterday. Model 3 will begin some delivery’s by the end of June. People forget analyst probably shorted the stock so he would like to see Tesla fail. Don’t bet against Musk

  2. Robert Fahey says:

    Tesla has made the “least-lucky” supplier comment before.

  3. WadeTyhon says:

    Great to hear! I hope we hear more final details about the car soon. July seems doubtful but I still think it is more likely than not the Model 3 ships at least in limited numbers by the end of this year.

    ***mod edit (Jay Cole)***
    Yes, as noted below, our slip on that one. 500k for 2018 is net all EVs. Thanks for the mention!
    ***mod edit***

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      Jay’s on the case! Thanks!

      1. Jay Cole says:

        No problem, we always want to be right…or at the very least to have any mistakes only exist for a few minutes, (=

  4. JyBicycle says:

    It’s capital raise time!

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Hrm, not really, its a battle of anonymous sources, (=

        “…a report by Reuters says the automaker will begin “test-building” the car on February 20. However, a person close to the situation suggests the report confuses manufacturing with parts ordering.”

        vs

        “If Tesla succeeds in starting pilot production of the sedan at its factory in Fremont, California on Feb. 20, as people familiar with the matter told Reuters…”

        So you can pick your poison really. Although we are talking about PPD cars here, not intended for volume production. One assumes even at this point, if Tesla is at (or darn near) PPD production of some magnitude, there is huge timeline issues. If not this month, then when? Next month? Has to be imminent to hold any kind of 2017 delivery timeline.

        1. Martin Winlow says:

          The M3s used during the unveiling looked pretty finished to me and that was *months* ago. Surely all the parts (panels for example) were not all truly hand-made and, if not, doesn’t this imply things are a lot further along than comments here and elsewhere suggest?

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            No, those were prototypes, which means mostly if not entirely hand-built. There were only 3 of them, and only 2 were used to give test drives… which suggests the third either didn’t have an interior or else it didn’t have an operational drivetrain.

            What this article is talking about is what is sometimes referred to as “pre-production units” or “production prototypes”, much closer to the actual production car. Note the reports of parts being ordered for 200 pre-production units. Most of those will be used for testing.

            Very likely — I think it’s nearly certain — a few of those will be used at the “Model 3 Reveal part 3”, to show off what the production car will look like, both inside and out. You will please note we haven’t seen that yet!

            There will certainly be some changes from the Model prototypes. For example, Elon said they would make the trunk opening larger, and the prototypes didn’t have the HUD (Heads-Up Display) which is said to be in the production car. No doubt there are other changes and additions which will be a surprise.

            1. Kdawg says:

              I don’t think Tesla ever said anything about a HUD. That was just all speculation by people. They did say the steering wheel would be like one in a spaceship.. or something like that.

          2. bro1999 says:

            Including that hollow red Model 3 that had the melting side mirrors? Lol

            1. Taser54 says:

              Woah. Smoke and mirrors. Good catch

            2. floydboy says:

              Damn! Would you look at that! STILL better looking than the Bolt!

              1. bro1999 says:

                Yeah, look at all that open space under the car. Lol

                1. Kdawg says:

                  That’s the Fred Flintstone package.

      2. Nix says:

        That supposed debunking needs the following debunking:

        “Sometime this year, Tesla will need to set up a manufacturing line for the Model 3”

        Tesla already built their manufacturing line. It went into unit testing in Oct. IBID on source, link has been posted many times.

        “a person close to the situation suggests the report confuses manufacturing with parts ordering.”

        Tesla ordered parts to build 300 TM3’s last spring/summer for Pilot production. That’s already been done.

        I won’t say that this Reuters story should be taken as official word, but this supposed debunking is pretty weak.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “Tesla ordered parts to build 300 TM3’s last spring/summer for Pilot production. That’s already been done.”

          If so, that’s news to me.

          Nix, as I understand it your working theory is that Tesla is testing M3 production prototypes in secret, where no one can see them.

          Of course you could be right — you rarely post anything that turns out not to be correct — but I’m gonna stick my neck out here and say my working theory is that nobody has seen any M3 production prototypes because Tesla hasn’t built any yet. If the rumor in this article is true, then the first ones will be built starting Feb. 20… 11 days from now.

          1. ffbj says:

            Well it’s news to you then. Old news to some others:
            https://electrek.co/2016/08/01/tesla-model-3-parts-fleet-300-prototypes/

            Also posted earlier in the thread.

          2. Nix says:

            No, my theory is that Tesla began testing the TM3 drivetrain in unmarked Model S mules before they hand-built the 2 test vehicles that actually used the TM3 body. And they have been using those 2 hand-built test mules for testing ever since then.

            I base this on 3 factors:
            1) This is pretty standard industry practice, for example GM used another body to test the Volt drivetrain.
            2) Tesla did this with the Model X, using a Model S body.
            3) They would have needed to do some testing before determining the design of the TM3 for fitting the components into the first 2 test cars.

            So I’m suggesting that drivetrain and electronics are likely much further ahead than just beginning testing.

            The parts for 300 cars have already been used to start unit testing of parts of the assembly line. Not all of them will be built into complete cars. The TM3 assembly line was built alongside the existing MS and MX assembly line, and unit testing began in 2016. Now it sounds like they are done with unit testing the assembly line, and they are going to now test assembly line production from end-to-end, and will create complete cars that will be used for additional testing.

            Note that Paint is not technically part of the formal “assembly line”, just like the test drive isn’t part of the formal “assembly line”, but is part of the full manufacturing process.

            Some here would presume that Tesla is starting from scratch with testing just because they only have 2 completed test cars, and they haven’t publicly talks about any test mules — while GM had more test cars and blathered about their Volt mule endlessly, making it as much a press car as a test mule. I contend that the clock started for Tesla’s drivetrain testing well over a year ago at least. Jay Cole posted something about how amazingly early Tesla had their first 2170 test cells from Panasonic. Something like 2015 (I can’t find that comment), and I’m suggesting that TM3 drivetrain testing using those batteries started as soon as they were able to complete battery unit testing on the batteries themselves, well before they built the 2 test cars.

  5. Nix says:

    Tesla has been unit testing their already built Model 3 assembly line since Oct. 2016, and ordered parts for 300 Model 3’s in Spring/Summer of 2016, so this really isn’t a huge surprise.

  6. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Author Eric Loveday wrote:

    ” [quoting Tesla:] “Our ramp-up in production moves as fast as the slowest and least lucky supplier.”

    “A rather odd statement. That’s for sure. Is Tesla really trying to place all responsibility on suppliers?”

    Is it just my imagination, or has Mr. Loveday taken to writing with a decidedly anti-Tesla bias in his articles? And I don’t mean just this one. I hope this isn’t a sign of a new editorial policy from InsideEVs’ new owners!

    What Tesla is saying is “We’re sure we’ll be ready to start Model 3 production on July 1, so if there is a delay, it will be because one of our suppliers failed to meet the deadline.”

    That’s just what Tesla has been saying for months now. WTF is up with trying to make this out as being an “odd statement”, or somehow different than what Tesla has been saying?

    It is absolutely not odd at all that Tesla keeps emphasizing the message to its suppliers: We’re going to be ready to go on July 1, and you’d better be ready too! If not, we’ll drop you hard and fast. It’s not odd because Tesla has established a very fast, aggressive timeline for M3 development, and has to push its suppliers much harder than they ever have before.

    It’s the same message shown in this recent (Jan. 28) InsideEVs article:

    http://insideevs.com/tesla-confirms-cancellation-model-3-supply-order-suppliers-technical-standards/

    1. Yogurt says:

      There is nothing wrong with it…

      And judging by your history of comments you sèem to find anti Tesla statements where they dont exist…

      And yes it will be better the sooner the model 3 goes into production to further the presure on do nothing legacy auto makers…

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Yogurt said:

        “And judging by your history of comments you sèem to find anti Tesla statements where they dont exist…”

        Judging by your history of comments, your rather strong anti-Tesla bias often shines out… as with the comment you’ve written here. In fact, of all the Usual Suspects (by which I mean those of us who regularly post here), you appear to have one of the very strongest anti-Tesla biases of all those who aren’t actually disinformation spouting FUDsters. In fact, a lot of your posts read very much like FUD, altho in your case the numerous errors of fact and mistaken opinions seem to be honest mistakes.

    2. R.S says:

      Calm down Pushmi,
      not every article has to be a love poem to Tesla.

      Their comment is strange indeed, usually the comment would be “we are working on it” or “we are moving as fast as we can”. “Our ramp-up in production moves as fast as the slowest and least lucky supplier” is not something that car makers usually say.

      But even saying insideEVs would have a anti Tesla bias is BS. Tesla makes up a large portion of their articles. 5 out of 12 articles on the first page are about Tesla. They report every incremental performance improvement, every theory and every minor detail Elon drops on Twitter. So insideEVs is just enough pro Tesla, to not be a fan magazine, IMO.

      1. Another (Euro) industrial point of view says:

        “So insideEVs is just enough pro Tesla, to not be a fan magazine, IMO”.

        Agreed ! And I am writing from abroad so maybe have a sharper eye to detect it as less numb to all the hype around this company. In Europe Tesla is just another car makers with sales somewhere down the list of other EV makers, same as in China as far as I can see Jose Ponte figures in his blog. An attractive car but with a mixed reliability track record , we note that many our north American friends are a bit ga ga about these cars without always exactly understanding why.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Just to quickly comment on this, if one strolls through all the discussions in a day, IEV will be stated as being both too critical, and too much of a “fanboy” of Tesla…often on the same article.

          End of day, its an impossible task to please everyone on tone/balance on every article, but we figure if we hear it both ways, then we are probably are as close as we are going to get.

          The best suggestion I can offer if someone is not pleased with our coverage, or think it could be better/added to, is too simply comment (sanely) on whatever the issue might be.

          All our authors (and myself) read the discussion threads and consider the points being made in order to do the best job we can.

        2. Kdawg says:

          I think there are a lot of “ga ga” Tesla fans world-wide. Ever see the presentations made in Europe? You can hear grown men in the crowd screaming “Yahh”, like Howard Dean at a political convention.

        3. pjwood1 says:

          A(E)IPV ( 😉 ),
          There’s not “hype” in:
          -aluminum construction
          -double-wishbones
          -high grade Bilsteins
          -far superior weight balance, Cg, or just drive one
          -automation a league above
          -space, front and back
          -raw acceleration
          -quiet
          No hype, here.

          Lastly, from just this (American) point of view, the Europeans seem hung up on numeric performance in an envelope that makes no sense. You and Yogurt, and even myself, might get tired of all the drag strip stuff but the reality is what Porsches, BMWs, and Teslas do most is leave from a stop, or roll-on from <60mph.

    3. AlphaEdge says:

      > Is it just my imagination, or has Mr. Loveday taken to writing with a decidedly anti-Tesla bias in his articles? And I don’t mean just this one. I hope this isn’t a sign of a new editorial policy from InsideEVs’ new owners!

      It’s absurd your accusations!!! It’s their site also, so it’s not like they need your approval or anything.

      And I don’t need your approval (which you have given) and could not care less if you think I am pro-Tesla or anti-Tesla.

      You clearly have some issues.

  7. Nix says:

    “Long term, Tesla hopes to produce some 500,000 Model 3s per years starting as early as 2018.”

    Actually, that is a widely misquoted falsehood.

    The 500,000 target is for Model S + Model X + Model 3 combined sales. Not for just Model 3 sales.

    Straight from Tesla’s SEC filings:

    “targeting an overall vehicle production level of 500,000 vehicles, including Model S, Model X and Model 3, in 2018.”

    http://ir.tesla.com/secfiling.cfm?filingid=1564590-16-23024&cik=1318605

    Please correct. This false meme needs to die.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey Nix,

      Yes, that should be inclusive of all 3 cars, apologies on that. Fixed, (=

      1. Nix says:

        Thanks Jay!

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Yupper, always working, (=

          1. Jay99 says:

            Hi, Jay the corrrection is still misleading as it does not accurately reflect what Tesla is saying. Tesla states: “targeting an overall vehicle production level of 500,000 vehicles, including Model S, Model X and Model 3, from 2018.” You have taken this to mean “Tesla hopes to produce some 500,000 Model 3s, Model S sedans and Model Xs per year starting from 2018. That goal seems highly optimistic, but we’ll hold off on saying it’s impossible for now.” The mistake is that Tesla said they want to reach “production level” of 500,000 cars in 2018, not that they will build 500,000 cars in 2018. So basically if in December 2018 they produce 41,666 cars then they have fulfilled that goal even though they didn’t produce 500,000 total in 2018. What they are saying is that they think they will reach a rate of production of 500,000 vehicles in 2018, but that they don’t expect to actually produce 500,000 vehicles in a single year until 2019.

            1. tftf says:

              Tesla had similar “annualized” production level predictions for late 2014 and late 2015…they missed them.

              1. Anon says:

                It’s now 2017. Tesla isn’t the same company they were three years ago…

                Unlike you, their capabilities and resources have grown significantly.

            2. Mike I. says:

              I am a Tesla fan and I agree with you. I interpret the claim to mean that the run rate at the end of 2018 will be 500k/yr. That means that in December 2018 they will produce more than 42,000 vehicles. That does not mean that they will deliver or even produce 500,000 vehicles in calendar year 2018. However, they should exceed 500k deliveries across all models and all markets in 2019. Impressive nonetheless.

            3. leafowner says:

              Jay99 — that is exactly how I read it. If they can hit a production rate of making 500k/year by the end of 2018 — then my bet is they will make some 300k cars in 2018 total (40k+ in December alone)

              1. Nix says:

                I think hitting either of those two goals is going to massively revolutionize the entire automotive industry. It would instantly rocket Tesla into the “Major Manufacturer” tier in passenger car production.

  8. William says:

    Tesla for the win! Short squeeze coming soon, get ready to ride the wave!

  9. Four Electrics says:

    If Tesla is doing this two days before earnings in order to announce it at the earnings call, you know that earnings will be poor. Otherwise they would save it until after the earnings bounce.

    1. floydboy says:

      Earnings MAY be poor, your assuredness!

    2. Nix says:

      Elon Musk said last summer that Q3 would be the last profitable quarter until after the TM3 is put into production, due to the costs of ramping up TM3 production. Everybody who paid attention is expecting them to go negative this quarter and stay negative.

      Are you under the misguided impression that anything otherwise will happen besides exactly what Elon stated? All of that is already baked into the price of the stock, which is overwhelmingly held by institutional investors who already know this.

      Thanks for joining what everybody else knows 6 months late.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “…you know that earnings will be poor.”

      If a serial Tesla short-seller like you honestly thought that, then that would be quite literally the last thing you’d say! You should be hoping the stock price will go even higher, so you can buy in before it drops after Tesla releases its quarterly report.

      The fact that there are so many anti-Tesla FUD posts in articles within the last few days means you short-sellers are desperately hoping to drive the stock price down now, before Tesla’s quarterly report comes out, so you can exit your position before losing even more money!

      In fact, if you honestly believe Tesla will have a negative quarterly report, then why aren’t y’all praising Tesla to the heavens, hoping to drive the price even farther up, so you can buy more “shorts” and make even more if the price drops?

      “Four Electrics” and other Tesla short-selling FUDsters: Your desperation is showing!

      Tesla FTW! Go Tesla!

      1. Get Real says:

        What is hilarious is how serial shorters and shills like tftf, FudSpreader, 4E etc are getting more and more shrill and increasingly desperate as Tesla gets closer to production.

        Tftf and Dr. FudSpreader (I wonder who they really are-Spiegel, sven?) in particular are in full carpet-bombing mode now that their shorts are getting squeezed hard.

        I’m sure they are speaking an octave or two higher as a result!

  10. Alaa says:

    To think that Tesla will take 10 months from Feb to Dec to start delivery is too much to accept. And what will they do with these cars that the will make starting the 20th? Test them. Then what? Put them in a museum? Take them apart and build them again? I for one would love to have the very first one even if it had bugs and faults in it. I will fix them.

    1. Ziv says:

      I believe that GM usually allows employees to drive their beta tester pre-production cars for months and sometimes years. And then GM takes them back and tears them apart to see if there is any way to make them better.
      Because those Bolts we saw last year are ending up in the same place as the Gen I Volt mules and pre-production cars, scattered about on a GM lab floor. And that is a good thing.

      1. Alaa says:

        I suspect that if Tesla auctions the first produced Model 3 without wheels the bidding price will be more than the Model X P100D with all the options.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Auto makers don’t sell their pre-production units. In fact, I doubt they could legally sell them even if they wanted to. Likely those are registered as being used only for internal testing. And of course, some of those pre-production units have to be used for crash testing, which has to happen before even a single unit of the Model 3 can be sold as a street legal vehicle here in the USA.

      2. DangerHV says:

        Ziv, The flip side of “better” is “cheaper”. If they find a part is over-preforming, they will put an engineer on it to design the cheapest replacement possible to meet their minimum standard. Different companies have different minimum standards. I hope Elon’s obsessive standards are the highest in the industry!

        1. JeremyK says:

          Yes, but those cost saving design changes would NEVER be implemented immediately. The car will be launched with the over-engineered parts and usually parts are not redesigned until Gen II. Validation testing does not find every flaw, so a part is not considered to be “over performing” until the car has had some time in the field and warranty claims can be examined. For that reason, the second/third model year of a new vehicles is usually the most robust. That car will still have the “over-engineered” parts from the original design, but will have early production related flaws fixed.

    2. unlucky says:

      What would they do with the cars? Try to make them any good.

      The cars built from the first parts will fit poorly or even worse just plain not work.

      Tesla will produce feedback from the initial results and feed it to suppliers to tell them how to revise their parts so that later cars are better. Then they will have to wait while the suppliers make changes.

      Suggesting you could fix any problems is equivalent to suggesting that you could just build a Model 3 on your own. In which case just get to building a car!

      Instead, there could be massive problems with the motor, motor controller, battery pack or other parts you almost certainly couldn’t fix.

      1. Alaa says:

        I respectfully disagree with you.

      2. buu says:

        in case you didn’t know Tesla produces motors and batteries and inverters themselves…

        1. unlucky says:

          I do know that. But just like any other supplier it doesn’t mean the first ones they make will be right. That’s why you have a preproduction process.

          The point of production isn’t to see if you can make a motor, it’s to see if you can make it with tooling and equipment which can be scaled up to make them rapidly and cheaply. So just like anyone else Tesla’s early effort parts for a new car will produce results that guide corrections.

          1. Nix says:

            unlucky mumbled “it doesn’t mean the first ones they make will be right.”

            Why are you ASSuming that they have not already made “Their first ones”?

            We already know that 2 complete cars are already driving on those parts. We know that Tesla has a history of using Model S mules for testing the drivetrain for the MX. We know that Tesla already ordered parts for 300 cars last spring/summer. We know that Tesla took delivery of 2170 cells from Panasonic long, long before the Gigafactory was completed. We know that Tesla has already begun unit testing their assembly line (which would include unit testing all those sub-components too). It would only make sense that they also “ordered” enough drivetrains for 300 cars from themselves too.

            I would take a wild guess based upon those facts, that they are already into the triple digits of various TM3 drivetrains having already been hand built and sub-assembly built on the production assembly line. Those components are likely the least of their worries in getting the TM3 out the door.

            If you have counter-evidence, please post it. All of my comments I have previously provided sources for (ibid).

            1. unlucky says:

              “mumbled”?

              Are you just hurling insults or do you want to discuss the issue?

              I think you need to re-read my post if you think that I assume Tesla hasn’t made a working model 3 motor yet.

              Again, the point of the early production is to work out how to make them en masse. It doesn’t mean you haven’t built a prototype yet. And just because you made a working hand-built prototype doesn’t mean the first parts off your new production equipment (line) will be right.

              As to “if you have counter-evidence then post it” I don’t need to. You didn’t present any evidence to counter, just your assumptions. Your assumptions are not automatically correct if I don’t have counter-evidence.

              Pushy: I don’t think you understand how production works. Just because you can make a prototype doesn’t mean your 300 pilot production units work. The ENTIRE point of this pilot production is to discover how to make it in volume, not to re-prove that you made a prototype that works.

              And yes, what you make can be tested immediately, but that doesn’t mean you can fix it immediately. Making tooling takes time. Revising tooling takes time. Even reprogramming production robots or making new production processes takes time. Even if you can fix a part which was made incorrectly after you take it off the line it doesn’t mean you can then make good parts on the line. It takes time to revise things.

              You are still operating under the assumption that in-house is somehow magic. It isn’t. Even if you can reduce the communications time and shorten the feedback loop it still takes time to create production in-house just as it would externally.

              It would be utterly fantastic if you stopped declaring things that people say that you simply fail to understand as “anti-Tesla trolling”.

              1. Nix says:

                Yes, mumbled. Because you clearly couldn’t simply just admit being wrong, so you mumbled some excuse.

                I’ve already covered your entire post, and I’ve previously posted links covering the parts ordered, etc (ibid).

                Your FUD is FUD by definition. Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. You have the burden to back up your FUD, and you’ve failed.

                1. unlucky says:

                  Call it FUD by definition if you want. That doesn’t mean it isn’t correct and what I care about is correctness, not whether it can be considered to be negative.

                  There is no onus for me to prove your assumptions wrong. Your assumptions are not certainly correct in the absence of disproof.

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Good grief, Unlucky, if you must write Tesla-bashing posts, at least try to have them make sense!

            Anything Tesla builds in-house can be tested immediately. If it doesn’t work, then it can be re-designed while it’s still in the prototype stage. Now, I’m not saying that Tesla could have already done all of that for all its in-house parts, because recent reports indicate there aren’t yet any production prototypes; those reportedly won’t go into production until Feb. 20.

            But if there is anything we can be sure has already been tested in test “mules”, it’s the Model 3 powertrain, including the Tesla-built battery pack and electric motor. I dunno if Tesla builds its own inverter and other power electronics, but surely they have had time to test and identify most (if not all) of the problems that might crop up there, and will already either have found solutions for those problems, or at least will be working on them.

            Other possible problems, such as fit of the body panels and any problems with interior fit-and-finish, will have to wait for those production prototypes to roll off the assembly line, reportedly starting Feb. 20.

            That still gives 4-1/2 months to deal with any early problems before July 1, by which date all suppliers are required to have their first production batch of Model 3 parts delivered to Tesla.

            1. Nix says:

              Yes, Tesla builds their own inverts and other electronics. In fact, that was one of the synergies that Tesla brought to the SolarCity deal. When asked whether Tesla Energy would use Tesla Motor’s inverters to bring down costs of solar installs, Musk said absolutely:

              “There’s no question Tesla’s going to do integrated inverter. It’s the logical thing to do. I think we’ve got the most advanced inverter engineering team in the world, and so it makes sense to, just as we do the inverters on vehicles”

              http://www.pv-tech.org/news/tesla-confirms-plan-to-use-own-inverters-for-solarcity-installs

              Hers is a brief history of Tesla’s inverter manufacturing and development, dating back to the Roadster, and their plans for the M3, and how the inverter development has already been done and completed nearly a year ago:

              “the strategy paid off and the inverter architecture for the Model 3 will have a capacity of “over 300kW”, comparable to the Model S’ RWD system even though the S is a much higher-end and bigger vehicle.

              The system is also geared toward manufacturing with ~25% fewer unique parts and they managed to significantly increase both the volumetric and gravimetric current density. The Model 3 inverter is also expected to be much cheaper on a dollar per power capacity basis than even Tesla’s most recent dual motor inverter system.”

              https://electrek.co/2016/06/29/tesla-model-3-exclusive-leak-specs-300kw-inverter-architecture-power-capacity-model-s/

              People like unlucky simply don’t know about this stuff, and in their ignorance, they spread FUD. Stuff like inverters is actually one of the lowest risk areas of everything Tesla has to worry about.

              Those inverters are actually ALREADY in full production in the Gigafactory, being installed into Tesla Powerwall II units, greatly lowering the total cost of home battery backup by integrating in the inverter with a large battery pack, a first in the home battery backup industry.

              Sadly, after being provided information he simply didn’t know about, he will mumble some bogus excuses, and try to pretend he knows something about a subject he just learned about that will add to the FUD. Poor unlucky, so predictable.

    3. JeremyK says:

      Some of these cars need to accumulate the equivalent of 100K road miles or more. How long do you think that will take?

      1. Alaa says:

        Usually when you test, you have to know what you are testing. In the case of software or electronics the testing procedure is defined when you make what ever it is you are doing. You also have to note that this car is electric. It has about 30 moving parts. Not like the other cars. So testing and the number of tests are significantly less than an Internal Explosion car.

        1. bro1999 says:

          Where does Tesla do their “in the wild” cold weather testing?

          1. Nix says:

            Also Baudette Minnesota, at AET’s 800+ acre secure testing facility where they can test on private land far from prying eyes or camera’s.

            There they can test both MS mules with M3 drivetrains, and either of the M3 test cars that we first saw publicly in spring of 2016, that we have no idea when they were first built.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Depends. If they put a test mule on a dynamo and run it 24/7 at 70 MPH, that could take as little as 60 days.

        Obviously actual road testing would take considerably longer to reach 100,000 miles. Driven 12 hours per day at an average of 55 MPH, it would take 152 days, or 21.6 weeks.

        This is, of course, one of the reasons why dynamo testing is preferred where it’s relevant.

  11. unlucky says:

    It’s hard to tell without knowing what the tests really constitute. But this seems like it’s good news.

  12. Mister G says:

    GO TESLA GO KICK SOME ARSE

  13. Alaa says:

    It really surprises me when I read that Tesla has more than 400,000 reservations for the Model 3. All you need to do is read the last Q3 report. It states clearly

    Customer deposits $690,364,000

    Now this was the Q3 report and the Model 3 was announced at the end Q1 2016; so most of this money if not all of it was the deposits of the Model 3. So in just two quarters they compiled 690,000 reservations! So for every quarter they got half that number. So by now they must have at least 1 million reservations.

    Some will say ah but some of them are S and X! We all know that the time it makes to make an S or an X is getting smaller and smaller by the day. So most of that money is the $1000 deposit for the Model 3.

    Will they be able to deliver 1 million of them? I don’t see any reason as to why not! In fact I suspect that the Giga Factory can satisfy at least 5 million Model 3. Not to mention the stationary batteries that the utility companies are fighting to get.

    So the bottom line is that Tesla will start delivering the Model 3 well before the start of Q3 2017.

    1. Nix says:

      There is some interesting good points in your post. But let me suggest a few factors that would shift the numbers a bit.

      First, the Model X and S deposit is bigger than the Model 3 deposit. It is $2500 instead of $1000, so the impact of each deposit is bigger.

      Second, overseas sales take longer, so the deposits stay in Tesla’s account longer.

      It would indeed be very interesting to know how big the latest reservation count is officially. It certainly is going to continue to grow as good news like this story keep coming out.

      1. Alaa says:

        The other thing that I forgot to mention is demand. Once Tesla sells 1 million cars or even half that could you calculate what the demand will be like? I couldn’t. But it will surely be much more than the supply. Now Tesla is now selling storage. That will be of at least the same magnitude as the cars if not more. Utility companies are fighting tooth and nail to get storage. Then we have the solar roofs. Also new cars and trucks. I would say that this giga factory and the Fremont one are not enough. The demand for all of the above will too much to satisfy.

        1. DangerHV says:

          Just a note, the solar panels and roofs will be made in Buffalo, NY.

  14. m3 - awaiting says:

    Tesla likes to user their buyers as their Beta-Testers unlike rest of the industry.

    6months after initial production run isn’t out of site for Tesla IMHO and target delivery of first cars end of 2017.

    That said, ramp up production in volume is going to be a whole different challenge. I would have gotten a Toyota Camry expert instead of an Audi one that TOTAL US sales barely breaks 200k yearly.

  15. tosho says:

    So, no more pushing down TSLA by “predicting” that they will be late by at least a year …

    1. Loboc says:

      Good to see that in quotes. More like speculation or wild-arse guessing.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Trying to cause failure by “predicting” it is an old, time-dishonored tradition. 😉

      In days of olde it was a crime to cast the King or Queen’s horoscope, because that could be used to predict failure or disaster.

  16. Another (Euro) industrial point of view says:

    First deliveries end of this year if all goes well then I still believe. That assuming Tesla is now “grown-up” enough to not hand some keys of half baked Model 3 to close friends as took place with Model X.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Tesla has already said its first sales will go to its own employees.

      Since there is some truth to the criticism that Tesla uses early customers as “beta testers” for each model, then it’s wise for Tesla to restrict the earliest buyers to Tesla employees, who are much less likely than the average person to post complaints all over the Internet about early production problems!

      1. Nix says:

        Yes, that is exactly what I expect too. Which is part of why the claim that initial deliveries will take a month to get to customers is bogus. The customers will be right there picking up their cars from where they work.

        Some people bash this practice as bad, but it simply is the way Silicon Valley now works. Look at how many people WILLINGLY participated in the Windows 10 Beta program.

        There are people who want very badly to be part of the development cycle right from the beginning. It is the entire Open Source model for software.

        These folks actually get a massive kick out of being on the bleeding edge. So who are we to stop them? They want to contribute, and Tesla wants their contribution. It is Win-Win.

        People who want the version with a 92% improvement in defects, need to wait a month or two (like was the case with the MX). They in turn will benefit from the early adopters. Win-Win-Win.

        I would also suggest that this really isn’t all that new at all. The advice for ICE cars dating back to the 1950’s has always been to avoid the first WHOLE YEAR of a new model of ICE car. Don’t buy until the second Model Year of the car, when the ICE car makers had worked the kinks out of production.

  17. James says:

    “Our ramp-up in production moves as fast as the slowest and least lucky supplier.”

    To me this doesn’t seem an odd statement at all.
    Its an accurate statement
    They’re not trying to blame suppliers
    They’re trying to their production ramp-up is essentially unknown and depends on many suppliers, there is a best case and a worst case and there is a big gap between the two.
    Just wait and see, its exciting to watch it unfold

    1. Nix says:

      Yes, they aren’t blaming the slowest supplier for being the slowest. Somebody has to be the last to deliver, even if every single supplier delivers ahead of time. It is just that one supplier will be the unlucky one who happens to deliver last.

      It is like a marathon race between the top 2 runners in the world. Both will run faster than billions of other people in the world, but one unlucky runner will come in last in that 2 man race.

  18. a-kindred-soul says:

    Maybe some testing might have been done already with Model Ss, so you wouldn’t see mules on the road. Of course at some time they must start testing all the things and parts that actually are uniquely and visibly Model 3. But I think some parts of the M3 – like its battery, motors, inverter, large chunks of software, etc. – can already be tested in Ss without anyone recognizing something different when seeing it on the road.

  19. It looks like the TSLA short sellers are “taking it in the shorts” again.

    Stock is way up today.

    1. bro1999 says:

      Elon must be planning another round of capital raising.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        They were already. But they’ll make it bigger if the stock’s up.

  20. ct200h says:

    Interesting that there has been no update on the total number of reservations for the 3.
    373,000 is the only number given. I will predict at some point we will find out there are much more, like 2 -3 times that many.

    1. bro1999 says:

      Or the opposite as people cancel reservations for other vehicles like the Bolt (which has already happened more often than Tesla fanbois will ever admit).

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        Oh no, the massive Bolt production will really put a damper in Model 3 demand!

        1. bro1999 says:

          “Pretty confident” Bolt 2016 sales (so last 7 days of Dec ’16) will outpace 2017 Model 3 sales. Not really going out on much of a limb making that prediction either.

          1. DangerHV says:

            You are comparing apples to asteroids.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        This Tesla fanboy does not at all mind “admitting”, or rather reporting, that about 25% of Model S reservations are cancelled. So sorry to disappoint you, bro1999! 😉

        I have no idea if the percentage of Model 3 reservations is, or will be, will be higher or lower. What I do know is that the actual number of cancellations is rather irrelevant, so long as new reservations come in appreciably faster than old ones are cancelled, and so long as demand for Tesla’s cars continues to exceed supply.

        However, I’m sure a lot of Model 3 reservation holders are keenly interested in the cancellation rate. The faster cancellations come in, the faster their chance to order will move toward the front of the line!

        So, from that perspective: The more cancellations, the merrier!
        🙂 🙂 🙂

        Go Tesla!

      3. floydboy says:

        Uhhh…OK. Hey, you’re not laughing and twirling your mustache again, are you?!

      4. Nix says:

        bro1999 — Even if every single Bolt buyer this entire year dumped their TM3 reservation, according to GM, that would only total 30K for this year’s production.

        That would be 373,000 – 30,000 = 343,000

        If reservations have only increased at a rate of 10% over the entire time since that number was provided (about 1% a month), that’s back up past 373,000.

        But we already know that you didn’t have an M3 reservation, and you own a Bolt. So that’s 1 down. There are others on the board that have said they bought the Bolt that also haven’t had M3 reservations.

        And anybody claiming that reservations are only gaining at 1% per month should provide some evidence, because Tesla has taken a number of steps since then to actively SLOW reservations coming in. Such as offering the Model S with a smaller battery pack, and telling people that it will be an addition year before they get their car if they get a reservation now, due to backlog of reservations.

        If you have evidence that GM Bolt defections add up to anything more than a 1% monthly rounding error on Tesla’s reservations, please post your evidence.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          ^ This.

        2. pjwood1 says:

          Neither is there a way to tell how many have left Tesla’s interest free lending program, but the above ‘splains Bolt impacts pretty well.

          1. Nix says:

            Actually, there is an indirect way to at least estimate a trend line. Tesla reports how much money they have in deposits in their quarterly SEC filings. And it’s been going up.

            Granted, they don’t break down MX, MS, and M3 reservation dollars, so it is a bundle of all deposits. But we aren’t flying completely blind.

            We will see on the 22nd how large that bundle of deposit cash has become.

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      What’s the point? At this point the numbers are big enough to show the underlying demand, and to slow reservations to a trickle.

  21. bro1999 says:

    “Our ramp-up in production moves as fast as the slowest and least lucky supplier.”

    That’s a strange comment indeed. Usually manufacturers will go “We do not comment on future products, blah blah blah” when asked about a car still in development.

    It’s like Tesla wants to plant the seed that if the Model 3 is delayed, it can go “Look what we said back in February! No surprise some crappy supplier delayed production!”

    1. bro1999 says:

      That’s not the kind of statement you put out if you are confident in making your self-imposed deadline (by end of 2017, in this case)

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      It’s something they’ve said and repeated for years.

      1. bro1999 says:

        Please provide evidence of your claim. thx

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Well I dunno about “years”, but certainly Elon Musk said so very clearly back in May 2016. See actual quotes from Elon in this article:

          http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2016/05/tesla_s_elon_musk_keeps_promising_the_impossible_i_think_i_know_why.html

          1. bro1999 says:

            “Now, will we actually be able to achieve volume production on July 1 next year? Of course not. The reason is that even if 99 percent of the internally produced items and supplier items are available on July 1, we still cannot produce the car because you cannot produce a car that is missing 1 percent of its components. Nonetheless, we need to both internally and with suppliers take that date seriously, and there needs to be some penalties for anyone internally or externally who does not meet that timeframe. This has to be the case, because there’s just no way that you have several thousand components, all of whom make it on a particular date.”

            So Elon was specifically talking about the Model 3.

            I want to see the comments Tesla has been making “for years” stating production deadlines will be dependent on suppliers keeping on schedule.

            1. WadeTyhon says:

              Model X Seats
              http://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-make-seats-itself-2015-11

              Model X Falcon Wing Doors
              http://www.hybridcars.com/tesla-supplier-settle-lawsuit-over-model-x-falcon-wing-doors/

              The Model X might have them a bit paranoid about unforeseen delays due to supplier issues. 😛 Although if the Model X was less complex they probably would have had less issues.

              So with the Model 3 being a simpler design, I doubt they will have anywhere near such extreme delays.

              1. floydboy says:

                Thank you Wade! Mr bro1999 is well satisfied! He shall now mount his trusty steed ‘Bolty’ and ride off into the sunset! Never to BASH again!

                1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                  Ride off into the sunset while crying “Curses! Foiled again!” 😉

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “That’s a strange comment indeed.”

      No, what’s strange is that anyone would think so. Even stranger is that anyone would make a big deal out of something that Tesla has been so transparent about.

      In fact, your post amounts to FUD, whether or not you intended it.

    4. David S. says:

      Agreed. Saying that production ramp-up is dependent on “supplier’s luck” is not confidence inspiring.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        I think Tesla means you’ll be “lucky” not to face their hounding, if you deliver on time.

    5. WadeTyhon says:

      If GM or Ford or another traditional automaker had said it, I agree that it would be an odd response. Their supplier and vendor relations are important and longstanding.

      But coming from Tesla, they seem to prefer to have more control and almost resent having to use suppliers. He has made comments on supplier issues in the past. XP But they’re a necessary evil… for the foreseeable future anyways lol.

      And there were several articles around the model 3 reveal where suppliers were complaining about not having enough time or notice to meet production deadline. Whether they worked these issues out with Tesla or not remains to be seen.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-suppliers-idUSKCN0YB0CA

      I don’t think they will make July, but I definitely think they will make it by the end of the year.

  22. leafowner says:

    I find this to be great news. I ran into a Tesla contractor last June (2016) and I asked him what he was working on. He told me the Model 3 interior assembly line….he said in all the 25+ years doing this that he had never seen a production line be put together so quickly. I asked him if he thought it would be production ready by next year and he said “no doubt”. So my bet the assembly line by now is nearly completed and the pilot run is to test the system out and make some final adjustments until real production begins!

  23. pjwood1 says:

    Wow, I can’t buy a Bolt yet and Tesla will be rolling pilot Model 3’s in two weeks!

    Glad IEV went with the silver image. Best color, IMO, dunno why.

  24. cab says:

    Guys, guys calm down. Tesla can do all this stuff much faster than a traditional OEM because they crowd source all the QC to people they call “Tesla buyers”. As one of their “QC department” I can tell you we are hard at work identifying issues and reporting them to our local managers (you might call them “Tesla Service Centers”). We look forward to you all becoming part of the department – most of our group meetings are held on public forums like http://www.teslamotorsclub.com where we engage in long triaging sessions to provide valuable feedback for future QC department members.

    1. Nix says:

      Apparently you’ve never been to any ICE car enthusiast website. They exist for every car maker. They all discuss in ad-nauseam the flaws of their cars. In the rest of the ICE car world, that’s why the commonly repeated advice for decades has been to avoid the ENTIRE FIRST YEAR of a new ICE model.

      Yes, Tesla does indeed allow people who WANT to be early adopters to get to the front of the line, and take early cars that will have more defects. No, Tesla doesn’t take an entire year in a new model to fix their production mistakes.

      Luckily for you, you can’t actually buy any of those first cars. Because they are already reserved, and you can’t get one.

      Problem solved. You can shuffle off and be on your way.

      1. M3- onsite day 1 reserved. Let's go! says:

        @Nix — he’s an owner already = nearly first in line if he chooses.

        Tesla clearly has QC issues and pushes their cars out much earlier than the rest of industry on testing. Bolt was Beta tested for months before full production.

        Tesla, OTOH, loves to use their customers as beta testing from the car itself to things like AP.

        Fringe buyers will tolerate that. $35K main segment buyers? Not so much. With the high production aspirations and inevitable QC issues and recalls/service calls — supply chain/production/service all need to be ramped up significantly AND effectively.

        1. Nix says:

          “Tesla, OTOH, loves to use their customers as beta testing from the car itself to things like AP. ”

          And Tesla owners who CHOOSE to go through the click-thru’s and CHOOSE to knowingly use clearly marked beta Autopilot also love to be beta testers.

          Are you under the impression that all Autopilot users are doing anything besides willingly participating in a beta program?

          This may surprise you, but lots of people actually LIKE to contribute. From open source software to all kinds of beta operating systems and software that people install willingly wanting to contribute to the advancement of something they are personally invested in.

          Guess what? It works. Tesla cut defects by 92% in a few months of limited Model X production, with owner feedback. Now the Model X has an 88% customer satisfaction level, which is very high for the automotive industry.

          If he doesn’t want to work with Tesla to improve a car by 92%, he certainly can choose to wait a month or two and complain to his heart’s desire. If he doesn’t want to participate in Autopilot, he doesn’t need to accept the click-thru’s, and he can choose the proverbial “I want my mommy” button instead. That’s fine too.

          Which will be fine with other buyers who will happily step ahead of him in line, and simply want Tesla to take their damn money already.

          http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/79/79af6b3bc5b23131ace1d835c402fa444ebd7cfc574c6b040665280337e74d7e.jpg

          But even with all that said, the TM3 shows all the signs of being in much better shape than any previous Tesla release. From the start of lining up suppliers, to less complexity, to more mature supply line, to hiring more expertise in manufacturing, to more experience, to closer ties to Panasonic, etc. So if you and the previous poster are stuck in the past, looking in the rear-view mirror and want to complain about the past, I think you should probably wait at least half a year after production before completing any TM3 order. Everybody will probably be better off.

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