So you have around 500,000 cars on pre-order and you’re sold out through most of 2018, and you’re still designing the car? That’s apparently the case with the Tesla Model 3, according to Reuters. In a call with investment analysts, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said the Model 3 design wasn’t complete; another six to nine weeks are needed for the final engineering.
Reporting to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla said about the Model 3, “We are currently evaluating, qualifying and selecting our suppliers.” Tesla is also going full speed ahead with plans to expand its Fremont, California, manufacturing plant in which the company plans to build 500,000 vehicles in 2018.
The Tesla Model 3, with a starting price of $35,000, is set to be the highest production model by far for the electric car company. The highly rated Tesla Model S, the first car produced and the brand’s flagship, starts at more than twice the price of the Model 3. The company’s SUV Model X, which has had a rocky launch with a recall and initial quality issues, starts at $83,000.
The Model 3 can be ordered with a $1,000 refundable deposit. The brand’s reputation and the interest in all-electric cars are such that an “entry level” Tesla priced close to the $34,428 average price for light vehicles in the U.S. in December 2015 has been a huge hit.
Barclays analyst Brian Johnson called Tesla’s production plans “aggressive.” In a statement, he said that “finalizing the design work, and lining up the suppliers and launching in one and a half years seems not possible.”
Earlier Tesla launch dates have slipped, but that hasn’t stopped the company from proceeding at full speed with its plans. And the vote of confidence represented by the hundreds of thousands of people who want a Tesla Model 3 at least enough to make a refundable deposit on one has to be a motivator.