Tesla Model S Under Cover

Tesla Model S Under Cover

SHOULD TESLA “SHOW ALL THE CARDS”?

Tesla

Tesla

The company says it’s debating how much to reveal about Model 3 at the March 31 debut. Show all the cards, or hold a few close to the vest? TeslaMondo figures there’s a one percent chance it has sufficient information to weigh in on this question. That means there’s a chance! So here goes.

Unfortunately, the central question triggers a bunch of little questions, so this gets complicated pretty fast.

First question: Are we talking about physical features or invisible features, e.g. autonomous abilities? Seems Tesla couldn’t possibly show us a hard and shiny Model 3 only to physically change it during the brief incubation period between concept and production. But this begs the next question . . .

Second question: Will Tesla show us an actual car, or just images? If we see only images, it seems more possible that Tesla has something up its sleeve that affects appearance.

Third question: Will Tesla stay true to its credo about production cars adhering to the concepts? Look at Model S and Model X. How much really changed during their long incubation periods between concept and production? Almost nothing. WhiteStar looks so much like Model S that to this day, the dingdong press sometimes uses WhiteStar images with current Model S articles. Model X lost its nose cone but little else changed. The panoramic roof surprised us only because we failed to notice it until months before production. It was hiding in plain sight. In sum, Tesla bravely showed all of its cards with the S and X. Full frontal nude scenes, without any strategically-placed potted plants.

So, yes or no? Reveal all or not? Hang on a minute.

Controversial Tesla Model 3 Render (via Stumpf Studio)

Controversial Tesla Model 3 Render (via Stumpf Studio)

Tesla’s show-all bravery didn’t carry much risk when it had the premium EV space all to itself. But now Tesla is no longer just a billionaire’s wet dream. Model S is stealing everyone’s lunch money. Tesla now dominates automotive “mind share,” and everyone salivates over that. Wanna bet that Big Auto has an array of concepts under wraps, and will choose which to unveil only after seeing Model 3? With cash-rich rivals absolutely rapt this time around, and with precious little time for Model 3 to mutate between concept and production, a full frontal nude scene makes Tesla quite vulnerable.

So, show all? Or grab a potted plant?

No. It should show only what’s necessary to fill the order books. If they fill as quickly as we’re all expecting, and Tesla still has “one in the chamber,” all the better. Tesla could even start building the III without using all of its ammo. If/when demand wanes or competition threatens, BANG!

Yes. It should inflict maximum harm on, say, the Re-Volt. Show the world that once again, Tesla is years ahead of the smelly, shaggy auto mammoths. Reverse the “Look out Tesla” headlines. Make them read “Look out everyone else.” Use the short Model 3 incubation to full advantage. By the time the mammoths can react with their concepts, Tesla will already have Model 3s burning gas. So to speak.

TeslaMondo’s position:

Tesla should show the minimum necessary to trigger orders, and that’s not much. This assumes the cloaked features are standard equipment across the entire Model 3 range. If we’re talking instead about some sort of James Bond “gotta have it” option that affects only high-end versions, then a belated introduction could trigger an upheaval, as people try to change their orders. Not good. Tesla needs to pull off this product launch smoothly. The sooner Tesla knows the desired product mix, the better it can strategize the rollout. So Tesla should employ suspense, but not at the risk of delaying or complicating the most important automotive launch since the Prius.

*Editor's Note: This and other Tesla-related posts appear over at TeslaMondo. Check it out here.