According to CEO Elon Musk, Tesla Motor’s Model 3 will begin production this week.
“Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule,” he said, adding that the first car would be finished by Friday.
“Handover party for first 30 customer Model 3’s on the 28th! Production grows exponentially, so August should be 100 cars and September above 1,500. Looks like we can reach 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in December,” he wrote.
The Model 3 is meant to serve as Tesla’s first mass-market model. It is a mid-sized family car with a price tag of 35,000 dollars, less than half the price of Tesla’s Model S. The Model 3 became available for pre-order in April, with a refundable 1,000 dollar deposit. The company received more than a quarter million pre-orders in the deal’s first weekend alone. There are now an estimate 400,000 reservations for the Model 3.
The new model is the company’s third offering, featuring a range of 215 miles per charge, zero to sixty in less than 6 seconds, seating for five, and autopilot hardware. Musk is hoping for a smoother rollout than that of the company’s second car, the Model X, which was first delivered to customers a year and a half later than was planned.
“We’ve kept the initial configurations of the Model 3 very simple,” Musk said to shareholders in June. “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.”
The Model 3 is customizable only by wheel type and color.
However, the mass-marketed Model 3 may present other potential problems for the company, as the first that it will produce in high volume. In 2015, Tesla produced only 84,000 cars in total. Traditional automakers like General Motors built more than 10 million.
Musk also tweeted that it “looks like we can reach 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in Dec.”
Tesla’s support and maintenance obligations will also skyrocket once these Model 3s are on the road. The company has already committed to a 30 percent increase in stores and service centers, as well as to building a new fleet of mobile service trucks.