Elon Musk: Tesla Model 3 Production Started, Car #1 Goes To … Himself

6 months ago by Jay Cole 80

Here it is – Tesla Model 3 #0001 (in black of course), and it goes to….

As promised earlier this week, production of Tesla Model 3 #1 is now complete, marking the start of a new era in semi-affordable electric cars.

As June came to an end, Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised there’d be Model 3 news, then this past Sunday announced that the first Model 3 was expected to be completed on Friday, July 7th.

And while we stayed up late on Friday to hear that confirmation, it never came.  Did it happen or not? That was question.

Today we got our answer, and the first Tesla Model 3 has been built!

Another look at Tesla Model 3 001 – with what appears to be 19″ wheels

You can see some of those shots released so far above (out in front of Tesla’s Fremont factory).

Late Saturday night, Musk was asked who would get the first 3?  To which the CEO stated that it is whoever puts down the first deposit.  Which in this case, was not Musk.

….however, Model 3 #0001 was apparently gifted back to the CEO for his 46th birthday.  So Musk now has 3 of the first 4 models built by Tesla.

Now that “job 1” is out of the way, Musk says Tesla is planning a “handover party for (the) first 30 customer Model 3’s on the 28th”.  From there, future deliveries in “Aug(ust) should be 100 cars and Sept above 1500”, before reaching a production run of 20,000 in December.

As for the first Tesla Model S which isn’t in the CEO’s collection, that went to Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson, who famously whipped out his wallet at an early Tesla board meeting and filled out a cheque for the first Model S sight unseen, to which Musk stated “Well, I guess you get the first car.”

First Model S Delivery — “TSLA S1” went to Steve Jurvetson

Of course we will have more pics of the first Model 3 off the line once they are available via Tesla!

Update:  Some pictures taken (Imgur/Reddit via Nan Lin on Facebook) of the Model 3 heading out for the Tesla promo shot above (in color)

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80 responses to "Elon Musk: Tesla Model 3 Production Started, Car #1 Goes To … Himself"

  1. Murrysville EV says:

    How weird. A whole day later, no pictures, no fanfare, no details, no straight answers.

    Hey Tesla, this doesn’t add to the mystique;it’s just annoying and unprofessional.

    1. RPadTV says:

      Musk already said that there will be a launch party on the 28th. I’m not sure why you would expect fanfare and details from a tweet over a launch event.

      1. ENOUGH says:

        Sweet Jesus! The first Model 3 is produced and so many people below have nothing better to do than piss and moan about something. Good Lord people, it is a time to rejoice and be excited about what is coming with the Model 3 and all EV’s. Everybody has a right to complain but you many of you guys are abusing the privilege!!!!

        1. Brave Lil' Toaster says:

          But this is the *internet!*

      2. Murrysville EV says:

        I expect fanfare because there was plenty of it at the 3/31/2016 reveal, and endless tweets about SN #001 this week.

        I expect fanfare because this is the vehicle Tesla has been waiting to build for 14 years.

        I expect fanfare because every other car mfr has cameras there when the first new model rolls off the line. You can be we’ll see the first C8 mid-engine Corvette roll off the line, yet all we get are unscripted fan shots of the first Model 3 rolling a few feet in the parking lot.

    2. Jake Brake says:

      I was thinking the same thing. It doesnt really matter but if your going to make a big deal about it then you should follow up when its done.

    3. AtlantaCourier says:

      I disagree. I don’t recall Elon committing to pictures, fanfare, details, and straight answers the moment the car rolled off the line.

      Here’s what he did say:

      “Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday”

      That’s all.

      Where did you get this idea there would be an event something on the order of a World’s Fair as you described it?

      Nor did he say anything like what you seem to think he said which is:

      “SN1 will definitely, most assuredly and without a doubt, be 100% complete by 11:59:59 on Friday, July 7th, in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand One Hundred and Seventeen, so help me God!”

      Maybe the car was finished on Friday. Maybe it was finished on Saturday. We don’t know and I don’t care.

      In fact, I expect (and hope) that the car is not complete even now.

      Seriously, this car should not even be close to being finished because only now is it entering the most important part of production about which Elon has spoken many times before.

      The next stage of production for SN1 is, in fact, the close scrutiny of Elon Musk as his daily driver.

      The same will be true of the next several thousand cars to roll off the line. There’s no mystery here. Elon has said those cars too will go to employees and to people who are friendly with the company so as to effect a tight feedback loop and work out the bugs.

      Elon has referred this particular strategy for quality control many times. He did it with the Roadster, and with the Model S and X.

      So no, the car is not complete, even though Elon loosely estimated it would be done on Friday.

      If that confuses you, then perhaps we have identified the “Tesla mystique” which you are looking for. (But if you knew that, then it wouldn’t be mystique anymore would it?)

      And with that in mind, I would venture to guess that the so-called “Tesla Mystique” (whatever that means) is indeed very much alive and well.

      1. RPadTV says:

        AtlantaCourier, stop being so reasonable :p

      2. Jake Brake says:

        You got trolled hard.

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “SN1 will definitely, most assuredly and without a doubt, be 100% complete by 11:59:59 on Friday, July 7th, in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand One Hundred and Seventeen, so help me God!”

        “…and if it’s not, then I promise to convert Tesla Motors to making gasmobiles!” 😉

  2. G2 says:

    “Always with the negative vibes, Moriarty….”

    1. Tahoe Bear says:

      I always joke about this with my wife!

      “Why can’t you dig how beautiful it is out here?
      Why can’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?”

    2. Kosh says:

      Kelly’s Heros!

    3. Scott Franco says:

      He was talking to captain Stubing of the “love boat”.

      1. Independent Observer says:

        No, it was Murray Slaughter who was the head writer of WJM-TV in Minneapolis. Mary Tyler-Moore Richards was a producer at WJM during the same time. Oh, I am sure somebody might think it was “Happy” Haines a sailor on Captain McHales PT Boat in WWII.

  3. leafowner says:

    This car will be in a museum someday – where it belongs!

    1. Asak says:

      Hopefully not in the same way as the EV1.

    2. Delta says:

      Yes – the Smithsonian should have it someday. If it truly turns out the be the real start of the EV revolution.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        We already know what the real start of the EV revolution is. Some people just forget.

  4. William says:

    20 more days, and 30 Tesla Model 3s will have some new in house beta testers. This is the beginning of quite an achievement for Tesla.

  5. Shane says:

    Beautiful sight to behold. Thought I was going to turn blue holding my breath. Hey, I just moved up one in the queue!

    It does not seem to have a glass roof.

    1. Vexar says:

      Shane, that was just awesome! Way to put it well!

    2. Stephen Pace says:

      Yes, the video taken at the Fremont SuperChargers shows it is indeed a glass roof.

  6. What a load of BS! “First to pay full price” ? Doesn’t even make sense.

    So the production car quality is so good, Mr. Musk keeps it himself? Great. Will this thing roll off or stay on the flatbed?
    He already has many cars. What’s the point of another garage queen? Saving the planet with 10 cars in the garage?

    1. speculawyer says:

      Oh chill out, cranky.

      That car is probably filled with bugs. You are much better off waiting until they’ve cranked out a few thousand.

      This is a dog & pony show. Probably not going to be significant cars sold to real outsiders for a couple months.

      1. Roy_H says:

        “This car is full of bugs” I’ll bet this is the main reason Elon wants it. He will not drive his Model X, but this one as much as possible, just to find bugs himself.

        1. Jacked Beanstalk says:

          Just so. An automotive CEO needs to drive his own product and those of competitors on a regular basis. Too many American CEOs (in all sectors) don’t understand this.

      2. Scott Franco says:

        Is it filled with bugs, or dogs and ponys? Which is it?

        1. Asak says:

          Could be dogs with fleas?

        2. The Bugs are on the Dogs, which are Chasing the Ponys around! Gotta keep the eyes moving, in the circus!

          This is but 1 of the most anticipated vehicles on the planet!

          There will be more!

          How many days from Friday before they exceed the numbers of Tesla Roadsters Produced and Delivered?

          As well, how many Weeks away before Model 3 production and Deliveries Exceed the Model X?

          Finally, how many Months before Tesla Model 3 Deliveries Exceed Model S Deliveries?

          Also, is this not the closest time frame for Elon getting ANY Production Line Products through the first cycle, versus planned goals for other past vehicles (Including Rockets, which, I think he started on first)!

          While 30 Deliveries to a group on July 28th is nice, and more than the first 6 Bolt EV’s that GM did, just 150 in All of August delivered to Staff and Employees, seems low, and slow, at just 1 vehicle per hour, on a single 8 hour shift, since there are at least 160 such working hours in a month! Plus, a lot less than the last 3 days of December, 2016, Bolt EV Sales & Deliveries!

          However, if they can then get from an average (August) rate of 1 per hour, to about 10 per hour (1,500 deliveries expected), I would say they are well on their way to the big growth they want to make, since at 1 shift, that would be a ‘Tack Time’ of 6 Minutes per station, and about 80 cars per work day, or at least 400 per Week, and Elon wants to get to 5,000 per Week (not per Month), by year end!

          So that means double shifts, and still moving the time per station, even on 6 days a week, to about 0.86 Minutes, or 52 Seconds Tack Time per station average!

          It IS going to be an interesting ride!

    2. Get Real says:

      Dr. FudSpreader is back.

      I can only assume that he and all the other shills, shorters, haters, cynics and critics are getting very nervous as Tesla is getting closer and closer to selling hundreds of thousands of compelling PEVs!

      1. arne-nl says:

        Ah, c’mon you know….just look at the NASDAQ, as soon as the TSLA stock price is declining, he/she only has the guts to show up here.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Yeah. “Dr. FUDseeker” was thankfully absent from the comment sections of InsideEVs when Tesla’s stock was climbing to previously unreached heights; presumable Dr. FUD exited his losing position.

          Now that Tesla’s stock is headed back down, he has apparently bought back in, and is once again making troll posts here.

    3. floydboy says:

      Wow! Really?! It appears you’re not seeking VALUE after all, huh?

      1. Here is a famous question for YOU, then: “What profiteth a Man if he gains the Whole World, but Loses his Life?”

        I just Had to throw that out there, since so many others think Elon has his own Cult!

    4. ffbj says:

      It’s a parade and everyone is enjoying it, suddenly it begins to rain.
      I look around for Dr. VS.
      He’s doing a rain dance.

  7. Kevin C. says:

    So… what happens to the model 3 mules that have been spotted in the wild? Disected and recycled?Fought over for parts deliveries and beer runs by select employees?
    An altered mind wants to know.

    1. Devin Serpa says:

      In-house, non-regulatory crash test sacrafices.

      High mileage testers.

      Autopilot testing.

    2. MuleDriver says:

      “Development mules are often used very heavily during testing[5] and scrapped. Occasionally they are acquired by members of the automaker’s engineering team or executives overseeing the design process”


    3. unlucky says:

      They can’t be sold. The company can keep and use them indefinitely. It can loan them out to anyone it wants too.

      Most are disposed of relatively quickly.

    4. Shane says:

      They turn into test mules for dual motor, level 5 autonomous, Model 3 version 2.0, etc.

      1. I would not doubt that the frames, chassis, and Bodies of each car they make, is easily converted to a Dual Motor Model 3, and is planned that way!

        So even some of the Production cars may be pulled aside for more testing of such developments! Maybe 1 in a 100, or so, as they ramp up volume, maybe less.

        Also, some Model 3 Production Will be sent out to Stores or Service Centers, or Both, for Test Drives by Reservation Holders, and training of Service Reps, too. Most Techs will need some new training, I expect, so some one is knowledgeable about the vehicle, for servicing! Another reason for slow initial deliveries, I suppose!

  8. Miggy says:

    Great to see, looking good in black.

  9. Driverguy01 says:

    I don’t know how to post a pic in my comment but i see no floating screen on the fist production car.

    1. Driverguy01 says:

      1. Driverguy01 says:

        Yeah, nevermind my comment, other pics clearly show a screen, oh well!

  10. Martin Winlow says:

    Just how *do* you post a pic?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey MW,

      Just drop the URL link, the system will pick it up when it does a “pass” (might take anywhere upwards of ~2 hours to get converted though)

  11. arne-nl says:

    Where is Ford Model T #1?

    1. ffbj says:

      Not sure, but I bet it was black.
      Parade of Model T’s.

  12. Josh Bryant says:

    Looks like Musk stole Jay’s car!

    1. M Hovis says:

      Lol, I thought the same thing Josh when I saw it was black.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Musk is no dummy, he knows that black cars are not only more handsome, but have better performance that other “non-black” cars.


        1. Josh Bryant says:

          (and they hide panel gaps and ultrasonic sensors better, lol)

  13. TomBrown says:

    That shot of the Car from a low angle in front of the Tesla sign – It looks like the car is puckering it’s lips to give sweet electric kisses to the whole world!

    1. James says:

      The fish got a mouth

  14. floydboy says:

    Very nice, uhh huh!

  15. GeorgeS says:

    Any news on the tesla semi truck?

  16. Kike says:

    The pick up truck will be my second Tesla after I get my 3 in 16 months.

  17. Tesla8 says:

    I bet that Elon’s car doesn’t have the glass roof because he bought the base + 19 inch rims for $36,500.

    1. Nix says:

      That goes against all the rumors we’ve heard so far. This configuration (besides the wheel and paint choice) is supposed to be exactly what everybody will get until they roll out more options.

  18. SparkEV says:

    That is one fine looking automobile. Can’t wait to try it out after they shake out the bugs. 2019? 2020?

    1. unlucky says:

      Other companies spend a year shaking out the bugs (mostly) of a car. No reason to think Tesla can’t do so in the same timeframe. So 2018 I would think.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Guy who bought X early this year has many issues, some minor, some major like seat not folding back up. It will take Tesla more time than other carmakers, especially with the new production line.

        Besides, Tesla is always late. I will be pleasantly surprised if they deliver more than few dozen by end of this year.

        1. Ha! If by ‘end of this year’ you mean End of July!

          Since he Promised ‘Late 2017’ at the March 31st, 2016 Reveal, and just last week promised a ‘Delivery Party’ on July 28th, 2017, for the First 30, you don’t think they can make 2-3 a day between now and then?

    2. Nix says:

      Since the 1950’s, the Common Wisdom among conservative/risk adverse ICE car buyers has long been to purchase the second model year of any new model of car.

      Those who are risk adverse or highly conservative with their buying choices should either follow that same old ICE car advice, or mitigate the risk by leasing.

      Since there are 400K reservation holders, and it will take over a year to get through that backlog, I’m sure everybody else with a reservation will be happy to move up in position if some folks with an early reservation want to wait.

      For anybody who doesn’t have a reservation already, this is meaningless. Since it will be a year anyways. So do you have a very early first day reservation, and this is actually a real concern you have? Or are you worrying purely for the sake of searching for something, anything to worry about?

  19. Mister G says:

    Ok looking good!

  20. Taser54 says:

    Do the panel gaps still appear large to y’all?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      In general, panel gaps look bigger on white cars and smaller on black cars, simply due to contrast (or lack thereof) between the white paint and the dark shadows in the gap.

      If anyone doubts this, then just use Google images and look at some candid photos of real cars, not the renders used in ads for cars.

      Honestly, I think most complaints about panel gaps — and I don’t mean just on Tesla’s cars — come from people who think the carefully constructed renders used in car ads these days are what cars look like in real life, and don’t pay close attention to what they see on the street.

      1. John Glennie says:

        I wonder if “panel gaps”, aren’t just shadows, which would make gaps appear to be larger.

    2. unlucky says:

      No. It’s hard to tell from just these pictures but I don’t see any panel gap problems.

  21. Jacked Beanstalk says:

    Beautiful car! I hope Tesla can get quality control to adequate levels.

    1. William says:

      Yes, EVEN If it takes Elon, in a sleeping bag, camped out over nite 24/7, at the back end of the Model 3 Nummi production line. Given Musks previous determination, the “adequate levels” of “quality control” will most probably be realized, no matter what the Model 3 production circumstances.

      Now, can the Tesla production line operators, keep up the Tesla quality fit and finish, while the Model 3 volume ramps significantly up, by hopefully year end? Q C will absolutely need to meet or exceed existing employee and previous Tesla customer expectations, to keep up with the media appearances, along with its objective and opinionated entrenched ICE naysayer reporters.

  22. goodbyegascar says:

    Instant classic.

  23. ffbj says:

  24. Priusmaniac says:

    By the way “Happy Birthday”!

  25. Texas FFE says:

    Well, I’m happy with my 2017 Blue Candy FFE that I paid $17,900 for. Nose up to you Model 3!

  26. M3 - Reserved -- Niro TBD says:

    So he was gifted back the reservation and paid for it.

    So Tesla does authorize transfers of reservations to unrelated third parties! 🙂

    We have two and not needing one and want to transfer/gift to our office mate (without compensation back) doesn’t Musk set a precedent for this?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:


      My immediate thought, on reading the article, was to post “Aha! So Tesla does allow you to transfer reservations after all!” but I decided that snarky reply might confuse casual readers.

      Actually, I think the fine print says something like “No transfer of this reservation is allowed without the express permission of Tesla Motors”, or words to that effect.

      It seems Tesla Motors did approve the transfer to Elon… oddly enough. 😀

  27. Tyl Young says:

    Need a …..quadrupling…. of Superchargers but fast!!! New locations. Twenty stalls at least in CA. Interstates complete about every 60 miles apart. Solar canopies supplying the energy to said superchargers. Tesla Energy! Show us.. for it to be so. Love the Model 3!