Elon Musk: March Model 3 Unveiling Won’t Reveal All


Tesla Model 3 Renderings

Tesla Model 3 Renderings


According to this video (embeded above), Tesla will release the first images in late March, apparently NOT during the Geneva auto show, which ends March 13. So people who’ve been counting down the days to Geneva as the de facto Model 3 debut can add another dozen days at least. Sigh. Look on the bright side. Delayed orgasm has its merits.

And the images will show just the basic concept, with the juicier details to emerge in measured amounts as production nears. Sounds like Tesla wants to fill the order books without tipping its hand to rivals — uh, allies. By the time the Model 3’s grooviest James Bond features hit the press, Big Auto won’t have enough time to steal any thunder.

This Chinese water torture sounds like a repeat of Model X’s birth, but worse. Why worse? Because Model 3 promises a new paradigm in motoring for millions of people. Every new detail will hit the blogosphere like blood droplets into a frothing tank of piranha.

Imagine life for Tesla employees with access to Model 3 info. They’re all potential Deep Throats. They could pay off their mortgages by selling a single factoid. One hopes that during their job interviews, someone asked them, “Are you now or have you ever been disgruntled?”

(Model 3 discussion begins ~12:30ish in the video)

*Editor’s Note: This post also appears on Teslamondo. Get it and other Tesla articles out by clicking here.

Categories: Tesla, Videos


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87 Comments on "Elon Musk: March Model 3 Unveiling Won’t Reveal All"

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how much is the deposit again?

I would guess ~$2500

Currently no one (outside of Tesla) knows for sure.

I would guess nobody inside of Tesla knows either.

Wait. The minority report just arrived…. it’s… $3,723


FYI — Here is what I get when clicking on kdawg’s link, so click at your own risk:

“An unacceptable security risk is posed by this site.
McAfee Security Rating: Red”

Weird. It’s just a google spreadsheet I basically use for myself w/a bunch of plugin info.


There is a $5k deposit on the Model X. As the Model ≡. is a much cheaper car, there has been speculation that the deposit will be correspondingly less. Somewhere between $2k-3k seems reasonable, but of course it’s up to Tesla to decide what will work best for them.

Elon doesn’t even know

In other words, we are behind schedule and don’t actually have solid details to share.

+1. The credibility of Tesla and Musk, especially regarding future plans, is at an all time low.

very likely … as they needed all hands on deck to finish model X

My first thought is that designing the Model 3 is going to be hard – maximizing efficiency balanced against cost and performance – is a big challenge.

Big picture stuff will come first, and details come out as the design firms up.

Maximizing efficiency and performance at reasonable price aren’t that hard. Doing it and still having a Conestoga wagon Americans drive is the hard part.

No… there’s no reason to tip everything well before launch.

I can’t believe that the big reveal will be “pictures” of the car. Not even a physical prototype?

Like you say, this is indication that they’re already behind schedule, and they haven’t even shown the car yet.

Yeah, no kidding…PICTURES at this point??? Sheesh, anyone “holding out” for a model 3 better have a backup plan for the next three years. This isn’t a Volt with a one year from reveal to available…


Did you even bother to listen to what Musk had to say? He says they will show the Model 3 in March, but they won’t show everything. That’s what they said about the Model X all the way up to the Founder’s launch, even though they showed a working prototype that people took rides in.

Yes, I did listen. Did you?

He said PICTURES of the Model 3.

Pictures. Photographs. Not an actual prototype. I’m glad you’re impressed by that. I’m not.

He said pictures because that’s what they asked him. ‘When will we see pictures?’ ‘In the end of march’… I think we still don’t know anything about what they’ll actually show but I wouldn’t rule out a physical prototype based on this..

You will see a pre-production prototype. Just like they did with the Model S in 2009 and just like they did with the Model X in 2012. Reservations will open for those attending the event and will open for everyone else at the end of the event.

As expected… by everybody.

Forget “late 2017”, you will not be able to drive the model 3 until 2019 at the earliest.

I still say Q2 or Q3 of 2018…for a couple years now…

Anyone who thought otherwise has not been paying attention–this is what Tesla did for the MS and MX – a standalone event (because like Apple, the media will show up for them) and a concept car which is about 90% of the way there.

In the video he said “pictures” in late March, do you still think there will be a physical concept car?

I would venture yes–the pressure is on because of the Bolt, and the extended timeline for the MX. For a number of reasons, they need to show they are tracking to plan on the M3 as so much is riding on it.

Omar, you really nailed it.

The prototype shown of the Model X was so different from the actual production vehicle that I’m amazed anyone would care about the difference between a concept drawing and a prototype.

We can be confident that, just as with the “X”, Tesla will withhold many details about the Model ≡ until very shortly before it’s time for the earliest customers to finalize their orders.

Patience, Grasshopper.


It’s hard to withhold information if the information doesn’t exist. Stuff kept happening to the MS, even years after initial launch…from day 1, the standard features and options kept expanding and changing in content and price, and then they added the autopilot hardware, then roll out the autopilot software piecemeal as they develop it, then added dual-motor, then upgraded the standard battery pack…

…basically, they know what they want to do, but they don’t admit most of it, with any details, until it’s ready for release.


> Every new detail will hit the blogosphere like blood droplets into a frothing tank of piranha.

That made me laugh out loud. Glad no one was around at the time, it would be hard to explain out of context.

I love his writing style… Been a fan for some time, now. 🙂


That song… No.

won’t show everything?? thank you tesla for pushing other manufacturers to speed up electric car production. my next car will be a bolt and maybe a tesla later.

Exactly… +100

Ooooh, I *LOVE* a good mystery…

“Delayed orgasm has its merits.”

Good thing I hadn’t started drinking my tea yet, otherwise it’d be all over my iPad! I mean, wow!

There is a very thin line between delayed and denied.

^^^ *ROFL*

That was even better!

both great lines!

Elon has pretty much set the stage, cued the lights, and sent out the band conductor to start the prelude music!

Even the dropping of the 40 kWh Model S was an element that refined their own thinking that anything under 200 miles range per charge was not worth building!

Elon keeps ising the word – ‘Compelling’ – describing what they want to build. Not just nice, or workable, or long range, or quick, or fast. No, they are seeking to pull all of those facets into each of their products, be they Sedans, SUV’s, smaller cars or crossovers, or even pickup trucks!

More importantly, the cars they build can now charge up at more places than any other car type or brand! Superchargers, CHAdeMO chargers (with their adapter), Campsites, Welding Shops, J1772 EVSE’s, & even the lowly NEMA 15amp 120 Volt plug! The Bolt will not have so many options without GM working with Tesla!


I have no doubt that Tesla will eventually come up with a good design for the Model 3.

That being said, Tesla is nowhere near completion of a pre-production model. We will only see a concept (and it could just be a rendering) in March.

This supports the opinion of many posters here on InsideEVs that the Model 3 will not be available until 2018 at the earliest.

There are too many items that need to be validated before production.

Probably. If it hit much earlier than that a I would be surprised.

I’m one of those who has said that we’ll see no deliveries of actual Model ≡’s until 2018 at the earliest, but I think it’s much too early to claim vindication, just because Tesla will apparently be showing only concept drawings (or more probably, CGI renders), rather than an actual prototype. Let’s keep in mind that Tesla has a habit of touting its cars long before production begins. As InsideEVs’ Jay Cole recently posted in a comment, it almost invariably takes auto makers a minimum of four years to go from clean-sheet design to actual production. Most auto makers wait until much closer to actual production to show a prototype, so they don’t kill off sales of their current models. (And let’s not confuse a concept car with an actual production prototype.) But Tesla has no reason to wait; the Model ≡ is aimed at a much less expensive market than the Model S or X, so shouldn’t cause many would-be Model S or X buyers to defer and wait for a Model ≡. The problem isn’t that Tesla takes longer than other auto makers to develop a new car and put it into production. The problem is that Tesla… Read more »

Does anyone have a link for that song

I like Tesla a lot, but I think they may be making a mistake in dragging out the release of info on a mid-price car. They can get away with this more easily on luxury cars for people with a lot of disposable cash, but every month the Model 3 lags behind the Bolt and next gen Leaf in deliveries means lost customers that won’t be coming their way for at least three more years, and in many cases more.

Our Leaf lease ends in four months. I can wait another six to ten months for the Bolt or maybe the next gen Leaf. I can’t wait two years or more for the Model 3, no matter how good it is.

Cant compare a leaf or a bolt to a tesla. Both are a joke of a car. Really. Nissan did not sell any leafs for 3 years and it finally pickep up. Tesla is a hot before it even comes out. Bolt is a cheap plasticky interior chevy with a battery pack. Wait for tesla.

I’m not waiting for Tesla. Their arrogant, elitist attitudes have hurt too many people already, they are not getting any of my money.

And Ford’s attitude against compelling EVs or even DCFC up to this point deserves your money?

Get real, I’m interested in any EV with long range and DCFC as long as it’s NOT a Tesla.

Poor paid Tesla agent has zero facts against the world best selling electric car.

LEAF; Worlds best selling battery electric.

Check your stats. Not in 2015…

The timing of the Model 3 has been the same for quite some time now… since around 2013. The rough timing has been the same since 2011.

They can’t build the Model 3 yet, so there’s no dragging this out. The only real change from their 2011 corporate overview document:


Is that they didn’t need the Model X in 2013 to hit volumes that they expected. They hit 30k volume with only the Model S in 2014. They hit 50k volume with only the Model S in 2015. So the X wasn’t needed before the production line upgrades.

They need the Gigafactory and another round of upgrades in Fremont to make the Model 3. The Gigafactory is expected to make a slightly bigger form factor cell and another step change in the battery chemistry. The Model 3 is far more challenging to make than the Chevy Bolt which has poor aerodynamics and can’t make the Supercharger jumps the same way a Model S 60 kWh version can – and the Model 3 has to use the same network.

They don’t have any current Model 3 sales that will be damaged by premature announcements. So they can announce whatever they want. Sure they would like to release it earlier, but it is much more difficult than making announcements. I remember when Microsoft was competing with IBM OS/2, they promised and promised Windows “just around the corner” forever, and naive people were taking vaporware promises for real instead of buying already available competitor’s OS/2. And it worked out for MS just fine.

“Sigh. Look on the bright side. Delayed orgasm has its merits.”


Tantric car reveal!

Talk about a tease… 😉

This is simply the way Tesla uses the modern news media in all its variants to keep its potential customers excited and engaged. This is very similar to what they did with the S and X.

It ends up keeping the free advertising going for much longer and this is beneficial and therefore smart.

I’m ready to sign and put in my deposit and trust Tesla will be better in every way than the others.
The Super Charging network is growing fast. Yet the Bolt Chevy will not put in any Fast Chargers that it.
Tesla also said they will push to get the 3 done and out for 2017. It won’t get delayed since it’s a simpler design based on knowledge gained from the S.

Gonna either be a weird release party in March…. Or a really good one next March…. Or both! lol

I’ve got 17 months to burn through on my LEAF lease, so I’m good.

It’s probably going to take three years for the model 3 to come to market so your going to have to find something else when your Leaf lease expires.

Vaporware has just become Vaporware².

I see that CSC continues to pathetically shill for Nissan against all other EV makers.

Talk about a myopic view point.

We need ALL manufacturers to produce and push compelling EVs and that is precisely what Tesla is doing here and it is working with the upcoming Bolt as proof.

CSC is technically correct. Model 3 is vapor for now, and highly hyped.

But unlike other car companies that have plenty of other cars, not having next gen mass market EV from Tesla means end of the company. Therefore, it’s inevitable there will be Model 3 or something like it. In fact, they’ll have to make it kickass if they are to survive, and they’ll try that much harder (hopefully).

Of course, if he thinks Tesla will go out of business, that’s a different story.

If Tesla just shrunk down the ‘refreshed’ Model S and kept everything the same, they would have a winner. Adding harder body lines to make it more aggressive would make it even better.

I expect a RWD and AWD option to be available, so there is a lower price model. But I want the AWD.

It is impossible to reduce price by half just by shrinking it 20%.

Outside of raw material, prices are function of scale. If Tesla made millions (or billions) of Model S, price would be much lower, maybe even cheaper than SparkEV (outside of battery). With Model 3 projected to be orders of magnitude more, half or more in price reduction won’t be surprising.

Last we heard, Tesla was switching from aluminum (expensive) to steel (cheaper) for the body, and of course changing the battery design slightly and producing batteries at the Gigafactory. Those are the major cost-reduction elements.

Beyond that, there were a lot of cost-reduction changes made to Model S from 2012 until now. All of those will obviously be incorporated in the Model 3 design.

I tried to add it up and all of these *plus* high volume seem necessary to hit that target price. I still suspect he’ll go slightly over the target price, but the fact that that’s the price *before incentives* means it’ll be cheaper than the Bolt once the incentives run out.

You are forgetting profit margin – Musk does not expect the same 25% to 27% profit margin that they have for MS. They only expect about 10% to 15% profit margin in order to be competitive at this price point.

When Tesla puts out a concept for a full crew cab truck with the same pulling power(or more) than a GMC Sierra 2500 and 200+mile range, you will see the auto industry will know it shit the bed. That will be bigger news than the model X,3,or Y.

Now I am getting worried. If all they can do is images at this point in time we are looking at 2020 at the earliest. If they had planned a start late 2017 they would have most of the tooling in place, contracts to third parties etc in place as well. It takes at least two years even if you have a drivable prototype available. And that’s when you cut corners and force it. Sorry you have to do better.

It will not be just images. You will see a pre-production prototype. Just like they did with the Model S in 2009 and just like they did with the Model X in 2012. Reservations will open for those attending the event and will open for everyone else at the end of the event.

I tend to agree.

The way this article is worded is very misleading.

Elon only said pictures because the guy asked him when will we see the first pictures of the Model 3. That does not mean that in the late March unveiling all we will see are pictures.

I fully expect we will see a prototype, just like the original Model S/X unveiling. The production model will still have differences, but it will give a very good idea of what to expect on the production model.

Given that Elon admitted to having just one hour of sleep between his previous trip to Hong Kong and looking like absolute cr** in Paris– I think you have a very valid point.

Elon is very literal. The non-native English speaker questioning him, did use the word ‘pictures’. In an attempt to not over-reveal and beling sleep deprived, using the same word in the answer, makes sense.

Unfortunately, the internet is also quite literal, and easily losing the context of things, and repeating them (usually) with a negative bias.

Personally: I fully expect to see a working Alpha Prototype like GM produced for the Bolt. Model III’s been on the company’s business strategy for years. I don’t believe the entire team of design and engineering folks were stuck working on just the Model X’s doors the entire time it was in development. The March Reveal has been on Tesla’s radar for some time.

good points…

Lost in Translation? Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Wait a minute… I will get to see a picture of a mock-up of a 3 and from that I’m expected to put down a deposit on the car? I don’t think so, I want some juicy details first!

And they will have some juicy details, just not all of them.

So now we get some renderings instead of a mule?

I stand by my predictions that this car will only come in 2018-2019 (and it more and more looks like the latter date for volume production).

As of Q1 2016 Tesla hasn’t even solved X production issues.

Designing and manufacturing a “cheap” (mass-market) car is actually much harder because of penny pinching all components/manufacturing and keeping the QA high at mass volumes.

By 2020 Tesla will face dozens of competing long-range PHEVs and EVs from all major car makers – their constant delays will bite them.

So says the short-selling, seeking alpha, stock manipulator troll.

Just speculation and conjecture, there is no real reason to even bother reading such comments.