Tesla Confirms Model 3 Beta Prototype Production Underway


In an SEC filing from yesterday, Tesla confirmed what we all hoped to be true. Production of Model 3 beta prototypes is currently underway.

The filing states that zero Model 3 beta prototypes were built prior to December 31, 2016. The filing further adds that production of said prototypes is among the goal of Q1 2017 (ending March 31, 2017).

Additionally, this statement from the filing confirms that production Model 3 beta prototypes is “currently” underway:

“We expect that the next performance milestone to be achieved will be the successful completion of the Model 3 Beta Prototype, which would be achieved upon the determination by our Board of Directors that an eligible prototype has been completed. Candidates for such prototype are among the vehicles that we are currently building as part of our ongoing testing of our Model 3 vehicle design and manufacturing processes.“

Just how long it will take Tesla to move from beta prototype to production of consumer Model 3s is anyone’s guess at this point. However, Tesla’s timeline calls for production of the first real Model 3s to begin in July.

Tesla Model 3

Source: Tesla SEC Filing via Electrek

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127 Comments on "Tesla Confirms Model 3 Beta Prototype Production Underway"

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How many of these Tesla Model 3 Beta prototypes are going to be out there in the wild for us neck turning drooling Leaf Lovers to yearn for?


If it’s the same as S and X.. expect around a hundred


Enough to make potential BOLT buyers stop in their tracks


I personally think this in part why Bolt sales are flat right now. I think there are some folks waiting to see just exactly what the Model 3 is going to be and how much it will cost with options before making up their mind.



Jason Jackson

I have a Model 3 reservation, but do like what GM has done with the bolt. However, once the Model 3 is available there will not be any competition for it – IMO.


They ordered parts to be able to make up to 200.

Robert Weekley

Short of building all of those expected 300 Model 3 Prototypes, and running about 10 each of them, in 30 different Countries, Environments, and Test Cells, I hope they have some interesting way to do both Viability and Durability testing, as well as Handling, Comfort (NVH – Noise, Vibration, Harshness), Cabin Fit and Workability, for many body types, from short to tall, as well as Extra Short and Extra Tall!


The don’t need to wait until they have completed Beta’s to start much of that testing.

David Murray

I’m surprised they haven’t shown them yet, then.


No. Osborning Model S & X sales wouldn’t be useful. Those sales directly fund Model 3.


“Those sales directly fund Model 3”

Except not really.

Tesla had negative Cash Flow from Operations in 2016. Even if you give them some love in this analysis and add back a significant fraction of lease payments to lenders they’re about break-even on Cash From Operations. So that means all the cash going into CapEx comes from Financing, not from selling cars.

Looked at another way from the earnings side, SG&A consumed all the Gross Profit in 2016, meaning all the R&D was in excess of Tesla’s income. Again, give them some leeway for the non-cash cost of stock incentives and you’re still hundreds of $M short.

Tesla doesn’t “fund” development through sales. They fund it through borrowing and equity raises.


That’s an odd way of looking at things. There’s no separation AFAIK between different funding sources. Whatever net money comes in as a result of S/X sales, that’s less money Tesla needs to fund-raise for R&D of the Model 3 (as well of course as continuing R&D on S/X).


You’re taking some liberty in saying “S and X sales fund Model 3”.

They don’t. They don’t generate sufficient Gross Profit to fund any R&D. They don’t generate any net cash, and so don’t fund CapEx.

Now: if you are saying S and X generate sufficient excitement to convince Wall Street to underwrite another Bond or Share Issuance or a big Private Placement, OK. Again, let’s be clear: that means S and X help convince people to loan money to Tesla. That’s perfectly legal, legit, appropriate, etc. I get it.

But the sale of S and X do not of themselves fund any new development or facility investment.


You are being needlessly pedantic.

Paul Smith

Have you had a go at their books, or is that a guess based on other car manufacturers?

Counter-Strike Cat

But Tesla has such high demand, that they are all time production constrained and don’t need spend anything for advertising. There can’t be any Osborne effect.


Based on this statement I think it is unlikely to see significant prodection before end of the year. It is a month behind where Bolt was early last year.

“It is a month behind where Bolt was early last year.” Not by any stretch. By January of last year, more than 70 PPV Bolts (wearing the “camo” skins”) had been operating on test tracks and on-the-road operation for months. About a dozen of these were cleaned up and painted and handed off to journnlists to drive around a short test track at CES. Is Tesla anywhere remotely close to this? (I’d ask that while true the “just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist” argument is weak. Tesla has NEVER had the habit of hiding their latest technical achievement.) By March they were well into the MVB portion of production validation and had built more than 100 cars on the Orion line before the “offical” start of Bolt production in October. Do you think that Tesla will be at this spot in April? Tesla doesn’t even have body structure stamping tooling in their building yet; the CEO told you this at the shareholder conference last week. By this time last year 3-D CAD details and hardware phots and specs for battery, motor and controls, and other aspects of the car’s design were on the street and… Read more »
Counter-Strike Cat

Tesla church believers are happy to do all the testing and qualification for free, after they bought the car.

Paul Smith

Oh? And GM doesn’t do that with the Bolt?
9 recalls.



Stop the FUD – There are no recalls on the Bolt.

That website that you link to list complaints – not recalls – get your facts straight before you post this kind of information


Fair warning — my virus protection flags the website that Paul posted as a “medium threat”.

I suggest using the official link to the primary source that DanC posted instead.

And Dan is correct. No recalls on the Bolt.


GM doesn’t even build the core parts of the Bolt. LG does. The battery, the drivetrain, about a dozen major systems, including:

Battery Cells and Pack
Electric Drive Motor (built from GM design)
Power Inverter Module (converts DC power to AC for the drive unit)
Onboard Charger
Electric Climate Control System Compressor
High Power Distribution Module (manages the flow of high voltage to various components)
Battery Heater
Accessory Power Module (maintains low-voltage power delivery to accessories)
Power Line Communication Module (manages communication between vehicle and a DC charging station)
Instrument Cluster
Infotainment System

I don’t know why GM is repeatedly used as some sort of benchmark for Tesla, when I can’t possibly think of two companies who have such COMPLETELY different approaches to building cars.


But GM still does the testing.


Zim — You are simply proving my point.

GM has an entire layer of bureaucracy in their testing/fix/testing/fix cycle for all these major components that Tesla simply doesn’t have.

GM tests.
GM contacts LG for fixes.
LG makes fixes.
LG unit tests their fixes.
GM provides a roller chassis.
LG builds a new test car on the GM roller.
LG sends the car to GM.
GM tests.

Like I said, I can’t think of any worse comparison between the development cycles of any two companies.


“LG builds a new test car on the GM roller.”

Is that the case or does LG send the parts to GM so GM can put them together?


Good point. I don’t actually know how they built their prototypes. But either way my point is still the same.

There is an entire layer of bureaucracy that simply doesn’t exist for those parts for Tesla.


That’s just silly there’s no level of testing LG has to do for GM that tesla’s internal supply chain wouldn’t also have to do. You’re at most looking at removing arguments over specs, not actually removing testing or time need to revise. Either GM/LG or Tesla could remove steps bout would be foolish to do so.


Clearly you’ve never worked on anything that involved coordinating activities between multiple companies.

Paul Smith

Not very well, with 9 recalls so far.


There are NO recalls on the Bolt.


Paul, stop spreading that FUD all over the net. The Bolt has no recalls.


Yes! But, the Bolt is “Half” the Car so they can build it “Twice” as fast!…..LMAO….

George Bower

Is the production line running yet? I haven’t seen a Tesla statement that says the line is finished. Is there a statement??

If the answer is no then they have not produced any “beta” cars yet. They are still producing “alpha” cars which do not come off the finished production line.

They are trying to finalize an “alpha” car which would be considered a prototype for “beta” production run.

IMO of course


That happened Jan 20th. That was when Tesla announced that they would bring down Model S and Model X production, in order to reconfigure paint so they could begin running pilot builds of TM3’s down their Production Assembly line.

They began unit testing sections of their Production Assembly Line back in October 2016.

All sources have been posted multiple times. ibid.

George Bower


I don’t think it is all that clear. Let me just state what I think is going on IMO:

as realistic said in the comment further down, the entire line is not finished yet. As such, what they are making now are “alpha” cars.

On Jan 20 the they started producing more alpha cars as test vehicles.

The article we are commenting on has a Tesla statement. To me that statement says they are trying to get a beta prototype ready in the first quarter. The beta prototype is an alpha car that has parts in it that conform to the final specs and drawings that the suppliers will use to make production parts to be delivered in July.

First production parts get delivered to Tesla in July.

In July Tesla will start running cars off the line that go to employees using said production parts. There could be as many as 10,000 of these employee cars.


george, you said “Is the production line running yet? I haven’t seen a Tesla statement that says the line is finished.”

You may be back to the confusion over the word “production”

Tesla absolutely started there Production Assembly Line on Jan 20th.

Realistic is talking about the Stamping Line. Those are NOT the same thing.

An assembly line is where all the parts from all the suppliers are brought together and actually assembled. The actual parts production is done separately, and a supply of parts is then fed to the assembly line.

Tesla already has their Production Assembly Line up and running. Yes, the parts they are using to build cars on their Production Assembly Line are the set of 300 parts they ordered last spring/summer.

We don’t know what stamping equipment Tesla already has running. They may have 1 stamping machine for each part, and in order to go into Volume Production of the TM3, they may still be waiting on multiples of those stamping machines to complete their line. Musk’s statements aren’t clear on what they have currently, and what exactly they are waiting for.

George Bower

“Tesla absolutely started there Production Assembly Line on Jan 20th. ”

I guess we are getting buried in semantics. To me a complete assembly line is making cars that have parts made on production stamping machines.


I’ve re-read the often posted quote from Elon saying they are sourcing stamping machines. That quote doesn’t say what some claim it says. Tesla is indeed still sourcing stamping machines.

But Elon doesn’t actually say what stamping machines Tesla already has.

It would be highly unusual for a company to have only one stamping machine for parts for a car that is in Volume Production. That would be a single point of failure.

We don’t actually know from that one quote if Tesla has 1 set of Production Stamping machines needed to make Beta cars. It is just as likely that they have those stamping machines to make betas, but that Tesla still needs to get enough redundant stamping machines to achieve Volume Production.

If anybody has a source as to exactly what Tesla already has, vs what Tesla may need to get duplicates of before going into Volume Production, I would certainly like to see that posted.


I had a tour of the Tesla Fremont Factory when I took delivery of my Model S on June 2013. I saw 2-4 stamping machines during that tour. I don’t know how many stamping machines Tesla Fremont has now.

Counter-Strike Cat

Tesla flexes the terms alpha, beta, pilot to whatever is needed to hit the timeline for big management bonuses.

“Is the production line running yet?” Not at all, according to Musk at the Shareholder Conference Call last week. Here he is talking about body production equipment; you can listen to it about 60 minutes into the call: Jeffery Osborne, Cowen & Co: “…I believe at the Gigafactory event on January 4, you mentioned that there was some equipment, stamping tools and whatnot that needed to be put in place in Fremont. I was just curious, A, if those showed up, and then, B, if you can just update us on what needs to be done from just a physical capacity to make the vehicle in July?” Musk: “Yes, and we’re busy pulling out [unintelligible] the stamping facility right now. The open question is not whether the stamping line will be here. It’s going to be here well in advance of the Model 3, but it’s like the question is really how long does it take to work out the bugs in the stamping line? And how many iterations does this one have to go through to get it operating smoothly? But it’ll all be here and it’ll be a hive of activity, and I’ll be personally down there looking… Read more »
George Bower

agreed realistic,
see my comment below and see if it makes sense to you.


Yeah. It sounds like this would be the final-form. That means it is the final design and has production intent. There still would be many processes of setting up production methods for the model and also small changes to make it more producible (higher rate, higher yield).

And as I said before if the car hasn’t left the factory much or at all then there will surely be changes required to respond to problems discovered in real-world testing.

There’s still a long road ahead but this is a big step. July. Production of saleable cars would be all but impossible on this schedule. And definitely I advisable as such cars would likely require a lot of post-sales modifications as problems found in road testing are ironed out.


realistic —

You are confusing the Stamping Line with the Assembly Line. They are not the same.

This is no different than getting seats from a supplier, where the stamping line for the seat frame may be located in another state. That seat stamping line is NOT part of Tesla’s Production Assembly Line.


I think Musk is the one who might be confused. The question from the analyst is about Fremont tooling. Musk started answering the question about the stamping process tooling and then drifted into the seat issue.

But remember that Tesla is now in the seat business (starting with the Model X) and they have their own facility to build them.


realistic — No, it isn’t Musk that is confused.

The seat is just and example. I could have used any part that needs to be stamped on a Stamping Line. The Stamping Line is NOT part of the Assembly Line. Parts can be stamped at any time prior to being consumed by the assembly line.

You seem to repeatedly go back to Musk’s statements about needing to source more stamping machines, as if that meant Tesla currently does not have any of those stamping machines. I have read and re-read Musk’s comments, and I see nothing in his comments that imply they have zero stamping machines. It is just as likely that they simply don’t have ALL of the total number of stamping machines they need to go into Volume Production.


Yes, they can stamp out a bunch of left fenders, change the die and stamp out a bunch of right fenders, change the die again and stamp out some other part. GM does this in their IVER stage, about 15 months prior to volume production. Tesla is at roughly this stage now.

It seems Tesla plans to compress GM’s 8-9 month IVER stage into about 5 months. They’ll build PPV cars in July. Unlike GM, Tesla will sell these cars to employees instead of loaning them in exchange for feedback. It also seems they’ll build a few thousand PPVs instead of a few hundred. More cars = faster feedback, so PPV (and MVBs) will last 2-3 months instead of 6-7.

At least that’s the plan.


That sounds about right. The low volume production in July and August makes it 5+2 = 7 months before Tesla goes into full Volume production. (Tesla has stated that their schedule they gave suppliers is 1000 parts per week for July/August, ramping up starting in September.)

It looks like they are going to try and get into Volume Production in 7 months (+/- a month or two) while it took LG and GM 8-9 months to go into production. Tesla has indeed given themselves a healthy challenge.


“So what does this mean?
It means the structure of any car being represented today as a “beta” is not off-tool or even off-process; it’s a hand-built prototype. How much else is off-tool/off-process?

It’s anyone’s guess, but the Tesla track record isn’t stellar.”

Please provide a source where Tesla doesn’t already have one of each stamping machine.

Elon is talking about sourcing stamping equipment. It would not be surprising at all for Tesla to need more stamping equipment to go into full Volume Production. It would be HIGHLY unusual for a car maker to have only one piece of stamping equipment that was the single machine to stamp all the parts for every car that is in volume production.

But nowhere in Musk’s comments does he say that they don’t already have enough Production stamping machines to do Beta stamping. These stamping machines could end up as 1 of many Production stamping machines on their Stamping Line.

If you have proof that Tesla has yet to get even 1 of a set of the stamping tools that they need to build Betas, please post it. Because this quote absolutely doesn’t say that.

George Bower

Just as an item of discussion. I saw an article where parts supplier were complaining that Tesla was still making changes to the drawings/specs for their parts. These suppliers have until July to get their first batch of parts delivered to Tesla so you can understand their complaints.

So my thinking is that the “beta prototypes” that are discussed in this article are cars that are made with parts that conform to the final specs/drawings that the suppliers get.

Does that make sense?

Josh Bryant

If true (and I wouldn’t be shocked), so much for the “pencils down” from last summer.

George Bower

pencils down is a moving target. Pencils are never down even after cars are in production.


Josh, Pencil’s down on design is the point where they stop inventing new stuff. After that there will always be reworks to fix problems. Those are two completely different things.


Where’s this article?

George Bower


It’s not unusual. Car manufacturers have to make changes all the way up till they finally start rolling cars off the line to the general public and even then changes get made.

Here’s the ref:

Sources with knowledge of the Model 3 timeline had called it extremely aggressive, with challenges compounded by Tesla making last-minute changes to the car’s design. Such design tweaks can delay production, and add cost as suppliers rework tools and molds to meet new specifications.



Good source. The quote comes from the end of January. I would be shocked if Tesla were NOT still making changes as of January, 6 months before production.

They are absolutely right in the middle of the window for minor changes. This is business as usual for half a year out.

Now if the source was saying something like brand new door mechanisms from a new parts supplier were needed, that would indeed be reason for panic. Something like that certainly could happen, Elon even states outright that the unknowns are still a risk.

Your definition of what Tesla should be doing makes sense. I just don’t think they are. From my understanding of Tesla’s definition of “beta” these parts SHOULD be the actual production design and at least be off-process (that is, built using planned production processes). An example of a motor drive, for instance, would mean: (1) the drawing exists and is approved as the poroduction design (2) critical parts like ASICs, FET/IGBT dies, etc are exactly those specified in the production design (3) all the prosesses – SMT, reflow, coating, AOI, test, etc. – are perfromed exactly as specified in the drawing Process Notes, though they might not be performed on the actual production equipment. So my (rhetorical) question is: if designs are still unfixed, how likely is this to happen in the coming few months? And, if there are ongoing changes of any significance being directed by Tesla, the “Beta” becomes more and more useless to a July “production start”. Remember that for ANY auto manufacturer in the world now, there is a Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) before the parts can be approved for installation into sellable automobiles. PPAP is non-trivial (it can take weeks or months). It’s clear… Read more »
George Bower

“the “Beta” becomes more and more useless to a July “production start”.”

“Remember that for ANY auto manufacturer in the world now, there is a Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) before the parts can be approved for installation into sellable automobiles. PPAP is non-trivial (it can take weeks or months). It’s clear that many Model X parts and processes never underwent this approval gate, and if the M3 design is still drifting PPAP efforts won’t be done in time. Here’s a brief guideline to the newbie:


The July cars “production cars” will go to employees. My thinking is these cars are the equivalent of GM’s “ns” cars. In other words cars not for the general public…and my not be built with PPAP parts. So IMO Tesla will still be doing manufacturing validation after they start the line in July.

Thx for the link I’ll have to study it.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“The July cars “production cars” will go to employees.”


I wonder if there will be a sales clause/stipulation that says those lucky bastards can’t sell their car to me……lol


They are their cars. They can do whatever they want with them.

However, if the IRS and CA decides that they bought the car for resale, they would have to pay back the incentives (plus a possible penalty by the IRS).


They will not own the cars. They will be Tesla property. So yes, they cannot sell them to you.

George Bower

Nix, unlucky,
There was some discussion on another site as to whether the first production cars in July would be sellable and if I remember correctly they were. Employees have money down on reservations just like us and they don’t receive a discount on these first cars.

Also an electrek article where they estimated as high as 10,000 employee reservations.


“They will not own their cars”

Source please. They are reservation holders just like everybody else.


Your source that they will own them first.

When you’re just making your own assertions you don’t get to call out others for he same thing.

It doesn’t make sense for Tesla to sell cars to their employees at that point. It will actually COST them money to do so because it changes the accounting of the inevitable modifications the cars will need since they are still test cars. Just like beta software the first cars put out for testing will not be sold. And that’s what these cars will be.


Old news from over a year ago, that I’ve already posted multiple times. Employees have to get reservations just like everybody else, they just got early access to getting their name in:



If you haven’t read the reservation agreement, it is available on Tesla’s website.

If you have anything to contradict this, POST IT!!

George — “IMO Tesla will still be doing manufacturing validation after they start the line in July.” Absolutely. Tesla has been very upfront about that with the Model 3. They very much are going to start with small enough volumes, and limit initial sales to insiders and CA employees exactly for this reason. Which is exactly why Elon is saying that true Volume Production ramp-up won’t start until later months after July. It is in vogue to bash Tesla for doing it this way because the Big 3 never did it that way, but this is very much the Silicon Valley way of doing things. Test as much as you can, then hand the early product over to WILLING early adopters who are WANT to be a part of the process of making a great product. ————————- If I could drive in to work in the morning, and goto Elon in his sleeping bag and toss him the keys and tell him what needs fixed, I definitely would buy one in July. Go into work and spend the first half hour on the clock briefing QE’s on what I found? Heck yea. Yes, Tesla definitely does build cars differently than… Read more »

“Remember that for ANY auto manufacturer in the world now, there is a Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) before the parts can be approved for installation into sellable automobiles. PPAP is non-trivial (it can take weeks or months). It’s clear that many Model X parts and processes never underwent this approval gate, and if the M3 design is still drifting PPAP efforts won’t be done in time. Here’s a brief guideline to the newbie:”

Thank you for bringing up PPAP. Like you said, all other OEMs follow this process…and there is a “process” for a reason. All of this takes a lot more time than Tesla has built into their proposed schedule to production. I don’t see any way Tesla can make saleable cars in July if they’re only now building Betas. Actually, people are calling them Betas but Tesla never really ever built Alphas; the two cars shown at the Model 3 reveal essentially being functional concept cars or hand built prototypes at best.

Every other OEM in the world has tried to reduce the time from concept to production and though it is possible, quality WILL suffer.


Jeremy — We know that Tesla has built more than just those demo cars that were built a year ago for the initial reveal party.

For example, Tesla announced that they have already crash tested multiple cars that we didn’t even know existed until they told us they had already crash tested them.

It is just like the 2 cars that showed up miraculously out of thin air for the reveal party. There is no way they were just freshly built that day, and then used for customer demo drives.

We know Tesla builds cars we don’t know about until well after they’ve been built. That’s just a fact. It isn’t fanboy talk. The folks were wrong who claimed that since there weren’t pictures already leaked of real cars, there would only be renderings of cars that don’t exist at the reveal party.

This story confirms that Beta production is already underway, and yet still no pictures.

This repeated meme of “pics or they don’t exist” simply fails over and over again. It is a falsehood.


realistic — You are incorrect.

PPAP is like ISO-9000 Certification. Neither are mandated by law.


Of course it’s not mandated by law and if that’s unclear on my part, apologies, by all means.

But interetingly since the automotive world began doing it (Toyota Production System), no global manufacturer omits it, and other industries have adopted it almost verbatim, from aircraft engines to off-road heavy equipment. In most places that there is a complex system-of-systems PPAP or a structurally similar passport system is done. (I am working with a client who just submitted PPAP documentation for equipment they supply to a golf course fairway mower. Seriously. This beast has 10 hydraulic motors, a Tier IV diesel engine, and numerous digital controls with 100k’s of lines of code, and it’s nothing compared to a car.)

It’s curious that you almost never hear about “those darned late suppliers” from other auto manufacturers. Tesla’s approach to supplier project and process managament is not amenable to rigorous manufacturing process control and documentation, IMO, and it shows in schedule unpredictability and production hiccups.

There isn’t a Tier 2 or 3 auto supplier of any significance who doesn’t have PPAP as a central part of their quality process.

“It’s curious that you almost never hear about “those darned late suppliers” from other auto manufacturers” That is because you don’t understand how completely different traditional car makers are with their manufacturing process. First off, the vast majority of “New” cars from car makers aren’t “new” at a all. They are simply revisions of existing products. So-called “New” models often are just a different body on an existing chassis. Also, you don’t hear about delays, because they simply don’t publish their delays. That is because car makers have an ENTIRE additional step to go through to go from production to sales that Tesla does not. They have to build up stock and ship it all across the country and have cars embargo’ed on dealer backlots before they start their first sale. Traditional car makers can hide delays during this process of building up stock across the country before doing a launch, and then simply delay the launch without any comment at all. On the other hand, Tesla has decided to be much more transparent about everything they do. Sadly, people like you will end up forcing Tesla into staying silent about this stuff, the same as other car makers.

Please explain why you brought up something that you know isn’t mandated, and isn’t a hard stop that would prevent production in the first place, and then claimed it will keep the TM3 from going into production?

Lots of things aren’t mandated that have proven to be exceptionally good practice. Lean manufacturing principles aren’t required by law. (BTW I mean genuine Lean pricniples, not some blowhard exec version of “we’re really lean here”). But there’s not a single successful manufacturer on the global scale who doesn’t apply them, especially in competitive/commoditized markets. There is no legal requirement for effective project management in all its forms, from effective Work Breakdown Structures to Earned Value Measurement. You don’t have to do any of them. But there isn’t a system-of-systems designer/manufacturer who doesn’t have a rigorous project management standard for its business. No regulator will frogwalk you before the cameras if you don’t have a really effective design policy for electronics parts obsolescence. But there is not one single extant supplier of control products in a regulated industry (like autos: 10 year minimum service/spare obligations; doubly so in aero and defense) who doesn’t do it. You can go on and on, even to such areas as systems/software validation plan that applies ISO26262 (although the DoT and NHTSA have said they’ll expect it on self-driving car control systems). That is is not “legally required” does not mean that excluding it is… Read more »

Realistic — Back to your normal tactic of filibustering with a wall of non-responsive text when challenged. Not surprising.

This claim simply is unsupported, as you admitted:

“there is a Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) before the parts can be approved for installation into sellable automobiles….
…Upshot is no Model 3 production deliveries until Spring 2018”

Your posts become more and more like those of a “Concern Troll” every Tesla story. (google “Concern Troll”)

Have you found a source yet to your implied claims that Tesla doesn’t currently have all the Production stamping machines needed to build Beta cars? Or is that just more of you searching for Concern for the sake of generating Concern?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

~ALL~ manufacturers make changes prior to going live on product production.
Even AFTER production changes are made AKA “Redline”.

Do you think everything will be perfect from day one?????

If moving a mount hole .5mm in one direction improves the alignment then it changes….the parts already built can still be used.

If adding 6.35mm of electrical cable harness improves ease of installation and gives better stress relief then so be it…..the parts already built can still be used.

If a flaw is discovered, then guess what?????


No way for us outsiders to know for sure but it sounds like cars built last month would have been a mix of production and pre-production parts.

We could speculate until we were blue in the face but not really get anywhere on the topic. What we do know is there isn’t a two-speed transmission, recessing door handle, albatros…I mean falcon wing door problem lurking in the M3 design. The prime objectives for M3 are cost and manufacturability. From a corporate capability and product introduction perspective they seem to be farther along in many ways at this juncture than they were for the Roadster, S, or X.

First units out in July (yes, I said July) will be highly scrutinized and there won’t be many of them. They will be like the first units of the Roadster, S, and X in that they will be somewhere between beta and production validation. That’s how Tesla rolls. I don’t expect true volume production to the general public until late September or October. That is just a wag but I’m equally happy to be right or wrong +/- a couple of months.


+/- 1



Tesla said: “…Candidates for such prototype are among the vehicles that we are currently building…”


Model 3’s biggest feature advantage against all its EV competitors (Leaf, Bolt, i3, etc.) is already built: Tesla Superchargers.

The Models 3 will be a serious wake-up call to traditional car makers on the topic of their need (either individually, some type of consortium, or government infrastructure program) to provide a robust convenient and reliable supercharging network. Without that, the traditional car makers are selling half a car while Tesla is selling the whole car.


I have often wondered how much Tesla owners actually use the Supercharger Network. Don’t Tesla owners charge their cars at home every night? With 200-300 miles of range, how often do you really need to charge “on the road”? How often do Tesla owners take road trips where they are willing to sit around and wait for the car to charge?

My feeling is, the Supercharger Network is more marketing than practical. I could be wrong though as I don’t have a Tesla.


I’ve seen numbers between 10-15% of miles being charged on Superchargers.

But the total percent of miles isn’t the important part. How often you charge at home when you don’t need a supercharger is irrelevant. The important part is having superchargers available when you need them. Which is why Tesla announced earlier that they are planning on doubling the number of superchargers that are available in 2017.


Well, that’s kind of my point. The Supercharger Network is more marketing than anything else. Not that, that’s a bad thing. If it’s worth taking a loss to sell a profitable car, then go for it. I’m sure Tesla gets various government incentives to help offset the losses.


No, it isn’t just marketing. It is having the right resources in the right place when you need it.

It is like windshield wipers. You may only need windshield wipers 15% of the time. But if you really need windshield wipers to continue your trip, you are dead on the side of the road without windshield wipers. You wouldn’t call windshield wipers just marketing.

The same goes for Superchargers and charging infrastructure in general. If don’t need one, sure everything is fine. But when you do need one, if one isn’t there you are either completely SOL, or stuck using a much slower charger.


@Nix said: “…It is like windshield wipers. You may only need windshield wipers 15% of the time…”


That’s a very good analogy. Kudos. 🙂


“I’m sure Tesla gets various government incentives to help offset the losses.”

Source please.


Here, read up-


This is just California, I’m sure other states and municipalities offer similar. Admittedly the federal incentive just expired as of the first of January, but I’m sure Tesla claimed every single credit they could get before.


I checked your source. I could not find any charging infrastructure incentives that Tesla is currently eligible for.

Please point to what direct incentive you think Tesla is currently getting for building Superchargers.


Your sure about that? Are you sure your sure or is that a “I don’t think it makes practical free market sense so that must mean the government is paying them to do this nonsensical thing”? Reality is that they do NOT get government assistance to build Superchargers. They are greatly appreciated when they are used and turn what would otherwise be a commuter only car with an oversized, overpriced battery into an complete one car solution for most people. I would not recommend it for people regularly driving 750+ miles per day unless they don’t mind adding 1.5-2.5 hrs per trip.


There 5 supercharger sites within a 1 hour radius of my home. I can tell these are mainly local owners taking advantage of “free” charging. I suspect that if/when we see volume M3 cars out–and if new charger sites aren’t added fast enough–a lot of Tesla owners will stick more to home charging.


Good point! I forgot about the “free” charging. Why pay to charge at home when you’ve already paid to use the Superchargers? I suspect you are correct. Once people have to pay to use the chargers, they will switch to home and they will be much more idle.


All Tesla cars still come with some free charging. Free charging isn’t going away.

Only UNLIMITED free charging is going away.

And since typical drivers only charge a limited amount of miles per year and charge mostly at home, the new limits on free charging will likely only impact a small percent of owners. Just the few owners who chronically take advantage of Tesla’s gentleman’s offer of free unlimited long-distance charging and emergency local charging, by using free charging for all their local driving instead of for long-distance driving.


I look at superchargers in a similar way as I do limited AER on PHEVs.

Many people say: what good is the 30-odd miles on your Gen1 Volt? you’re saving less than a gallon per tank. Of course, they’re missing the point: you can still do most driving all-electric.

Now, many people say: you do most of your charging at home. True, but for those whose route structure matches available high-speed charging, that 10-15% of the time makes a huge difference. While I’m a skeptic about the economics of high-speed charging and I think Exxon et al still make the best supercharger out there, the couple of times I had access to ChADeMO even with a Leaf really showed how the utility of the car is transformed. For real adherents to the EV future, the lack of a true high-speed option for a 60kWh battery is an issue. Bolt will lose a material number of sales for it.


“For real adherents to the EV future, the lack of a true high-speed option for a 60kWh battery is an issue. Bolt will lose a material number of sales for it.”

This true, but I think the hope is that cars like the Bolt will start to bring in ordinary car buyers that don’t really care about an “EV Future”. They’ll just want a BEV because it’s largely a better car and not some grand big picture movement.

I’m one of those buyers. Until the bolt, there has never been a BEV that worked for me, or I could afford. I can barely afford this one. I don’t care about “saving the planet”, or sustainable futures, or an EV future, I just want an electric car because I believe it’s a better car and I’m sick of working on ICEs. I’ve been doing that since I was about 10 and I want something new to fiddle with.

I’m super excited about getting my Bolt! I waited with baited breath for the Model 3, but when I saw they went with a sedan rather than a hatchback, that was deal breaker for me. My commuter car has to haul crap.


Well, I don’t think GM cares about making EV’s a 100% gas replacement solution right now. And that is okay. GM probably see’s the bolt as a great second car or a great commuter car for someone in an urban environment. It is still very early days for EV’s and the large manufacturers understand that and are offering vehicles accordingly. Looking at sales in 2017 thus far, it’s still not at all clear that PHEV’s aren’t the better way to go for most vehicle types.


“I don’t think GM cares about making EV’s a 100% gas replacement solution right now”

I agree 100%. In fact, GM is actively lobbying Congress and the President AGAINST replacing gas cars with EV’s. They have clearly signaled that they prefer to continue selling as many gas cars as possible.


Source please.


This has been reported on multiple times right here on insideev’s, as recently as a week ago:


This has been going on for months:


If you don’t understand the issue, I’m happy to explain whatever part isn’t clear.


GM is hardly lobbying against the adoption of EVs. They just spent probably close to a billion dollars developing the Bolt and trust me, they will sell you as many as you want to buy. Why would they do that if what they really wanted to do is kill the electric car? There is a huge difference between MPG targets and electric car adoption.

Look around you, there are other people in the world besides EV fanatics and climate crusaders. In fact these other people are the vast majority. These other people are waiting for an EV that 100% replaces their current cars at prices they can afford. They are not going to buy a Tesla anything, or even a Chevy Bolt at this point.

In the mean time, ICE powered cars and trucks must be built. They must be built at prices people can afford. Our economy depends on it. Stop crying, EVs are coming and they’re coming at a pace that makes sense. EVs really aren’t ready for prime time, but they’re getting there.


I didn’t say they were lobbying to kill EV’s.

I said they were lobbying to continue building as many gas cars as possible. Which is exactly what their lobbying group is lobbying for on their behalf.

Please read the sources I posted. It is very clear that the lobbyists are lobbying for regulations to be repealed that have already INCREASED the number of EV’s built, at the expense of gas vehicles.

If you don’t understand what the impact is of repealing regulations that have INCREASED the number of EV’s sold each year, then I can’t help you.

Yes, EV’s will continue to grow. But at a slower rate, with fewer choices in the US, and less sales growth in the US than in the EU and China. (who is already beating us pretty badly if you haven’t noticed). Is that what you want?


Once 150 KW CCS charges become available and the Bolt can charge at it’s full 80 KW, then that would be sufficient for most uses including long cross-country trips … if the chargers are available.

I don’t know how Tesla’s product development proceeds. Per GM Inside, Here is GM’s: “After initial engineering work the first stage an upcoming GM vehicle goes through is the “mule” stage. During this stage they typically take a donor car and strip it of most of its components and then refit the car with components for the new car. In some cases they have to modify the body of the vehicle to fit the components of the new vehicle. Mules are always hand-built units intended for early pre-development and occur nearly a year in advance of more realistic prototypes. Mule testers are typically built at GM’s Pre-Production Operations (PPO) facility. After the mule stage, future product programs enter the Integration Vehicle Engineer Release (IVER) phase. IVER testers are also built at the PPO on a modified assembly line. Typically each station on the PPO assembly line represents 5 to 10 manufacturing stations from the vehicle’s normal assembly plant. The purpose of the IVER stage is to test all electronic components of the vehicle and ensure that it is “running” correctly. These are the cars with the mis-matched bumpers, and non-production tail lamps. Next up is the Production Process Validation (PPV)… Read more »
(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

My bet is the “Model à trois” is going to be late.

OK everyone go ahead and point the flame throwers at me…..lol

Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart

I know nothing about automobile manufacturing. I do know about software development. Today’s software products are very different than those of 10 – or even 5 – years ago. This also applies to the software development process, the company culture, and the relationships with partners and general ecosystem.

From my perspective the main advantage (and drawback) that Tesla has is that it could start from scratch and adjust the company to today’s constraints/goas. This includes EV design parameters, supply chain, role of software, reusability of components, on-the-fly software upgrades, continuous improvement of the product, no dealers…

Some things do not change (safety) but many others change. I don’t think we can compare product cycles without knowing more details.

I’m not a Tesla fan – I have placed a deposit on the Model 3 but I’d consider a Bolt or whatever is there when the time arrives for me to drop my old Prius for a BEV.


Oh, good god.

Haven’t we had enough of this silly meme that Tesla has to do everything the same as GM?


Excellent summary. I work in the industry and have a hard time keeping track of all the steps. Made a copy for future reference.

All the fan-boys really need to read and THINK about this development schedule and how it might apply to Tesla. Tesla may consider itself a Tech company, but at the end of the day they need to build cars, just like everybody else.


My guess is that they will have a fake launch like Model X, but actual volume production will be well into 2018. They won’t sell significant numbers of Model 3 this year. And in 2018 they might hit 100k or so.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven

A fake launch of the Model 3 would be the top story on the fake news. 😉

Four Electrics

More hand built prototypes? Thus reminds me of the Model X “launch.”


Tesla announced Production Assembly Line construction of pilot cars began on Feb 20th.

You know this, yet you troll anyways. Put on your dunce hat and go to the corner.

I agree, FE. For some perspective, look at the Feb 2015 10K for FY’14, page 52. Same situation as the one depcted here: build a beta, convince the rubber-stamp BoD that it’s awesome, complete the milestone to approve vesting another tranche of CEO stock options. “As of December 31, 2014, the following performance milestone was achieved and subject to our Board of Directors’ approval at the upcoming board meeting: Successful completion of the Model X Beta Prototype” In the shareholder letter they said: “In March we will start building and testing a small fleet of Release Candidate Model X vehicles that will be very close to the final production-intent design. Finally, since Model S and Model X will share the same dual motor powertrain, the introduction of All-Wheel Drive Dual Motor Model S helps reduce some of the risk that would otherwise have been associated with the launch and production ramp of Model X.” Wait, wait: I know. The Model X was wildly complicated. Yes: it had very complicated doors. That’s why the windshield glass was flawed, there were numerous coolant leaks, giant internal panel gaps filled with weld material, missing lower structural fasteners, rear HVAC problems and other, er,… Read more »

I think in retrospect Tesla probably would have ditched the falcon-wing doors, the windshield – roof glass, and probably some other stuff to make the Model X birth easier and be more reliable and affordable.

They’ve made a point numerous times about how they learned a lesson with that fiasco and designed the Model 3 with less complexity and for ease of manufacturing.


Model 3 is a new platform, a new battery, new electronics, everything is new. Model X is mechanically and electronically identical to a Model S. Therefore Model 3 needs more development time than Model X.


realistic — All those comments about the Model X is exactly why Tesla completely revised their entire Supply Chain, hired a new Production Manager from Audi who has experience launching volume production, and changed their focus for the TM3 to be ease of production instead of fancy dodads, etc.

Are you contending that none of these well documented things happened?


Yes I remember seeing in a movie? About how well the parts supplyers where willing to help tesla with the Model S. How did it go again? “Calls up a supplyer and asks about order a batch of parts. Ends up going just “”Hello””..” Yes that was most “Parts Supplyers” hanging up on Tesla looking for parts.
It won’t be the same this time…
Might have something to do with Pre-orders for the Model 3?


I wonder if they take volunteers to beta test. I’d volunteer for San Diego. Sure, there are lots of others who’d volunteer, but none would keep it so dirty with all the dog fur like I would.

Mark C

We used to joke, “If you don’t like my driving, stay off the sidewalk!”

Nice picture at the bottom of the article 🙂


A very nice picture. Pity that the auto mfg world hasn’t convinced regulators that we’re ready to dump the side mirrors. Clearly the M3 designers have taken every practical step to be slippery as hell, and those two warts just muck it up.


As an owner of a car with a camera rear view mirror,
(Switchable on and off) I can say it isn’t time to remove mirrors yet. Cameras work great in many circumstances and better than mirrors in some. But in many others they don’t work well enough and you have to fall back to real mirrors. It isn’t tie to remove mirrors yet.

George Bower

I still think Tesla can start making production cars for the general public by year end. The first batch of production parts are due in July. Some suppliers will be late so that puts the first production vehicles delivered to employees in Sept. Given three months for testing of these first employee cars that puts the first car delivered to the general public in Dec.

Another (Euro) industrial point of view

If I got it right Tesla is now exactly in the same development process with Model 3 as they where in March 2014 with Model X which shared most parts with existing Model S.

Another (Euro) industrial point of view

…read stage instead of process.


Tesla has also said that they have completely revised their entire Supply Chain process from the Model X and the Model 3. They have also said that they learned from the Model X, and have changed to focusing on ease of manufacturing and simplification for the Model 3.

All of which the sources have been posted so many times it isn’t even funny. (ibid).

I’m not sure what conclusion you think can be made from your comparison.


Gosh, if they are at this point of R&D now, you are lucky, if you are not one of the first customers. What is Teslas plan to do with the results of their tests? Change parts or processes? That would need many months of time. If M3 is sold in time, they’ll simply sell beta-cars to their first customers, like they did with MS and MX. Failure rate would be massive.


Gosh, then you are lucky that you can’t buy one of these early cars anyways, even if you tried to bribe them.

What a lucky coincidence.

Buyers who CHOOSE of their own free will to convert their reservation into a purchase order for one of the early cars will enjoy waving at you out their back window as they drive by.


Raymond Ramirez

I feel very sad and sorry for all those who are “drooling” at this news, when the 2017 Chevy Bolt Ev has more of the best features of all EVs, except styling. Yet when one is driving you don’t see the outside so why drool over it? And I also fear that when the first Model 3 are offered, many will be thoroughly frustrated over the lower range and higher price and will be trading their Model 3 for a Chevy Bolt EV.