Elon Musk: Tesla Model 3 To Be Unveiled in March, Production in 2 Years’ Time

With its Model X full-size plug-in SUV just a few weeks away from hitting the streets, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken to his favorite social media platform to tease a little more information about Tesla’s next-big automotive project, the 2018 Tesla Model 3.

Billed as Tesla’s first truly-affordable long-range car, the Tesla Model 3 will retail for around $35,000, offer at least 200 miles of range per charge, and be sized to cross-shop against cars like the BMW 3-Series sedan.

We don't know yet what the Model 3 will look like -- but we won't have much longer to wait.

We don’t know yet what the Model 3 will look like — but we won’t have much longer to wait.

While it was first promised several years ago, Tesla has yet to reveal any official designs for the Model 3, nor has it shown a prototype or concept vehicle in public to preview the model.

But in a tweet made yesterday via his personal Twitter account, Musk confirmed that Tesla will unveil the Model 3 in March next year alongside the launch of a Tesla Model 3 preorder program.

As referenced by Musk in his tweet, the Tesla Model 3’s $35,000 predicted sticker price relies on Tesla’s massive lithium-ion manufacturing and reprocessing Gigafactory in Reno, NV being operational and producing high-volumes of lithium-ion battery cells.

The Gigafactory is due to start producing lithium-ion cells in the next year or so.

The Gigafactory is due to start producing lithium-ion cells in the next year or so.

Without the Gigafactory, Tesla simply wouldn’t be able to produce or purchase the high-capacity lithium-ion battery cells needed for the Model 3 at a price point low enough to keep to the promised sticker price.

Luckily for Tesla and its fans, construction at the Gigafactory site in Reno is said to be progressing ahead of schedule, with Tesla’s manufacturing partner Panasonic due to begin the process of fitting the Gigafactory with high-tech cleanroom machinery used in lithium-ion cell manufacture in the next few months.

As our friends over at GreenCarReports are careful to note however, Tesla has yet to meet a single production deadline for any of its vehicles.

Its first limited-production model, the two-seat Tesla Roadster, was late to market, as was its first mass-produced car, the Tesla Model S electric sedan.

The Model X — due to hit the streets in the next month or so — is now more than a year behind the original production schedule promised by Tesla at its unveiling.

While that could mean that the Model 3 may be later to market than indicated, we’d like to point out that Tesla could be delaying on the reveal of an alpha prototype in an attempt to behave a little more like other automakers, most of whom have a twelve to eighteen-month cadence between the reveal of a new model and it appearing on dealer lots.

Tesla's latest car, the Tesla Model X, is late to market just as every other Tesla has been. Tesla's Model 3 will have to hit its production deadline on time.

Tesla’s latest car, the Tesla Model X, is late to market just as every other Tesla has been. Tesla’s Model 3 will have to hit its production deadline on time.

With Audi,  Volkswagen, General Motors and Nissan all due to bring out their own long-range mid-size vehicles on a similar time-frame, one of the largest vehicle market segments will certainly be transformed by the advent of the affordable long-distance electric car.

Tesla just needs to make sure that it hits its targets on time to ensure it doesn’t miss out on what could potentially be a massive market lead if everything goes its own way.

 

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  • David Galvan

    So that puts the Model 3 starting production in late 2017. Last I heard, the Chevy Bolt was supposed to begin production in late 2016. Sounds like a relatively safe bet that Chevy will beat Tesla to market an affordable 200 mile range EV.
    http://www.autonews.com/article/20150629/OEM05/306299985/chevy-pulls-ahead-timetable-for-bolt-ev

    • jeffsongster

      So all Chevy needs is to pay the supercharger net fees… or build their own DC QC net.

  • jeffsongster

    I really hope they can hit the dates on this one… having the gigafactory be a critical path item puts this at substantial risk.