Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the first production model of the hotly anticipated Model 3, the company’s attempt to bring an electric car to the masses, is expected on Friday. The first 30 Model 3 customers will receive their new Teslas on the 28th at a handover party, according to a second tweet from Musk. Production is then expected to grow exponentially: 100 cars in August, more than 1,500 by September, and then 20,000 per month by December.
News of SN1 (Serial Number 1) came in a tweet on Sunday night:
Musk then confirmed the production ramp-up in two followup tweets.
Tesla is expected to dramatically increase Model 3 production in 2018 with total Tesla vehicle production approaching 500,000 units annually. The Model 3 already has over 400,000 pre-orders with Tesla’s rabid fanbase clamoring for any glimpse or tidbit of news related to the upcoming vehicle.
The Model 3 was first unveiled over a year ago at a lavish event at Tesla’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. At the time, Musk said he was "fairly confident" that deliveries will begin by the end of 2017, and "you will not be able to buy a better car for $35,000, even with no options."
At a shareholder meeting last month, Musk said the first Model 3 customers would be limited in their ability to customize their orders — basically just color and wheel type. “I should say that we’ve kept the initial configurations of the Model 3 very simple,” Musk said. “A big mistake we made with the X, which is primarily my responsibility — there was way too much complexity right at the beginning. That was very foolish.”
Tesla’s sky-high valuation — it recently surpassed BMW’s market cap — depends largely on Musk’s ability to sell his vision of sustainable, battery-powered driving to a much broader population. The two current Tesla vehicles, the Model S and Model X, are both extremely expensive. Even with tax incentives, both cars easily push $100,000. The Model 3 will start at $35,000, making it the cheapest in Tesla’s range.
In order for Tesla to sell ten times as many cars as it does now, it needs a much cheaper automobile. That's the Model 3. It's the future of the company.