Tesla Delivers First 30 Model 3 Units During Live Invite Only Event

Years in the planning and many months behind schedule, Tesla Motors finally delivered its first 30 Model 3 sedans to paying customers tonight at a ceremony tonight held at its Freemont, California assembly plant.

The event was attended by hundreds which included members of the Tesla design team as well as specially invited guests.  The highlight of the night was Tesla CEO Elon Musk driving a Model 3 on stage to begin his trademarked, slightly awkward presentation about his latest vehicle launch.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk exits from a Model 3 on stage.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk exits from a Model 3 on stage.

 

Large crowd attends Tesla Model 3 First Deliveries Event

Large crowd attends Tesla Model 3 First Deliveries Event

The Model 3 is a smaller variant of the Model S sedan, and is designed to be the model that vaults Tesla from a niche automaker for the wealthy and the eco-wealthy, to a mainstream, mass production brand with Battery Electric Vehicles as it’s only product.

When a similar ceremony was held to reveal pre-production versions of the Model 3 back in March, 2016 and it’s revelation that it would offer drivers a range of at least 200 miles (320 KM) and be priced around $35,000 interest was immediate and significant.  Eventually approximately 500,000 people from around the world placed a $1,000 deposit to secure their spot in line for a vehicle that would likely not arrive for upwards of 2 years.

Confirming speculation about the interior design of the Model 3, Musk showed images that revealed a minimalist look with no instrumentation located directly in front of the driver.  Instead, the Model 3 will have a single large screen centre console that will have speed readings in the upper left corner (for right hand side vehicles) and all other user controls.  Musk explained that as he feels vehicles are moving towards full automation, the need for significant instrumentation no longer exists.  The Model 3, like the Model S and the Model X are all wired and designed for full autonomous driving as the technology and capacity for such driving evolves.

The Model 3 interior shown

The Model 3 interior shown

 

The Model 3 will come in two available variants

The Model 3 will come in two available variants

Musk also revealed that the Model 3 will come in 2 variants.  The Standard version will offer a range of 220 miles (354 KM), achieve 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, will have a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h) and will cost $35,000 USD.  The Long Range version will offer a 310 mile range (498 KM), achieve 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, have a top speed of 140 mph (225 km/h) and be priced at $44,000 USD.

Tesla has been working feverishly on designing a car as well as the infrastructure to eventually produce as many as 500,000 units in a year.  Their Gigafactory in Nevada, which is billed as the largest building footprint in the world is continuing to grow and it’s full capacity launch will be critical for the delivery goals of Tesla to be met with the Model 3.

During tonight’s event Musk said that the Model 3 consists of about 10,000 unique items and they are produced in many parts of the world.  Providing a parts supply chain this daunting is where there exists a host of possible risks that could stall or delay the full production ramp up.  Musk was blunt and honest about the task at hand when he offered “frankly, we’re going to be in production hell over the next 6 – 9 months.”

Some of the first 30 Model 3 units delivered

Some of the first 30 Model 3 units delivered

 

A Tesla Model 3 ready for delivery

A Tesla Model 3 ready for delivery

By the end of 2017 Tesla hopes to be scaling up production of the Model 3 to about 5,000 units per month.  Musk advised that anyone who were to put down a deposit for a Model 3 today would likely not see theirs delivered until the end of 2018.

While the challenges faced by Telsa remain significant for the Model 3 to hit the lofty projections they have made for it, there remained a strong sense of jubilation among those in attendance as well as seen by the stream of comments appearing beside the livestream broadcast watched by thousands around the world, myself included.

30 deliveries down – just under 500,000 to go.

Eric Novak

About Eric Novak

Eric Novak is a father of 4 who also thinks that environmental stewardship is a requisite of parenting. He's not a professional Dad nor is he an environmental scientist, but he's someone who gives a damn and is trying to make the right decisions as he lives his life as a father, environmentalist and business owner. Eric and his wife Karen have 4 children and reside in Ajax, Ontario.