Tesla to start producing Model 3
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has announced that production of the entry-level Model 3 EV would start this week. “Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule,” he said on Twitter. “Expecting to complete SN1 [serial number 1] on Friday.” Musk also said there would be a handover party for the first 30 Model 3 customers on July 28. Production is expected to grow exponentially, from 100 cars in August to 1500 cars in September. “Looks like we can reach 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in December,” he added. Over 300,000 Model 3 EVs have already been pre-ordered, with prices starting at $48,000. Tesla has opened the order books in New Zealand, with local delivery set for mid-2018. According to the Ministry of Transport, 168 Tesla EVs have been sold in New Zealand after the company officially launched earlier this year. While Musk is talking up the arrival of the Model 3 later this year, production for the first six months of 2017 is on the lower end of Tesla’s forecasts. The car maker has delivered 47,100 EVs and SUVs so far this year, just scraping past first-half estimates of 47,000 to 50,000 units. Tesla said a “severe shortfall” of new battery packs had hamstrung production until June, and deliveries of the Model S sedan and Model X SUV would be significantly higher in the second half of the year. Shares fell 2.5 per cent to (US)$352.62 following the delivery figures. The company is now the most valuable car maker in the US, with a market value of $80 billion, but still trails behind Volkswagen, which has a market cap of $93.5 billion, and Toyota Motor Corp, which has a cap of $235 billion.