3 Things to Watch for at the Tesla Model 3 Launch Event
Tesla’s milestone event—the delivery of about 30 Model 3 electric vehicles to customers—is here. And despite all of the hype surrounding the event and the car, there is still a lot we don’t know about the Model 3.
Fortune will be at the Model 3 event, which will be held at Tesla’s factory in Fremont. Calif., and livestreamed on Tesla.com. Here’s a few details we’ll be watching for.
The Nuts and Bolts
Fortune, presumably shareholders, and of course, all of those reservations holders will be waiting to hear about that basic and critical information about how people can actually get their hands on the Model 3. Tens of thousands of people (estimates have been as high as 500,000) have placed a $1,000 refundable deposit to reserve the Model 3. But that’s just a placeholder.
What folks really want know is when they can turn that reservation into an actual order and when the online design studio that allows customers to configure their car will launch.
CEO Elon Musk has said that the Model 3 will have fewer options than the luxury Model S sedan. So we expect a simpler vehicle. But we still don’t know exactly what those options will be.
Other questions include what kinds of configurations and options the Model 3 will have, what the final cost will be for a fully loaded Model 3, and what version of the company’s semi-autonomous feature Autopilot will be in the vehicle.
The first production Model 3, which CEO Elon Musk has claimed, came off the assembly line earlier this month. More production cars have been spotted around the company’s Fremont, Calif., factory and even in slightly farther flung places like a charging station in Truckee, Calif.
The factor is going to go from a trickle of production vehicles to a flood in a short period of time, if Musk can deliver. Musk has said the factory will produce about 100 cars in August, before scaling to more than 1,500 in September.
From there, it gets wacky with Musk predicting 20,000 per month by December.
This is no small feat.
“The rate of the Model 3’s production ramp up has never been accomplished, even by high-volume automakers with far more experience,” Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader. “The Model 3’s durability testing is less extensive than any previous high-volume vehicle. And Tesla’s ratio of dealers and service centers to support half-a-million annual sales has never before been attempted.”
We’ll looking for more details on how Tesla intends to accomplish this. It’s unclear how Tesla will be able to product 20,000 cars a month in a factory where space is already tight. It’s possible that additional facilities will need to be used and maybe even more reliance on Tesla’s gigafactory near Reno, Nevada, which is already producing battery packs for the Model 3 and the vehicle’s electric motor.
It wouldn’t be a Tesla event without Musk alluding to some other surprise in the near future. This might not be related to the Model 3 either.