Tesla exposed more about its brand-new Model 3 than it ever has before just in time for the first deliveries to clients. We know the details of pricing and available options, as well as a bit about how Tesla plans to scale to an annual running rate of 500, 000 vehicles produced per year, hopefully by the end of 2018.
The major challenge we faced with the Model 3 is not really the product, Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted in a pre-event briefing to press, qualifying that they nonetheless invested a lot of hour getting design right. Were going to go through six months of production hell. its going to be pretty great but its going to be quite a challenge to produce this car.
Musk stressed the production challenges repeatedly in his initial remarks regarding the car, in fact , noting that the manufacturing process for something as complex as this vehicle is bound to occur on an S-curve, and that there are 10,000 unique components in the car, with production hasten ultimately bound to move only as fast as the slowest one.
To help stimulate the production ramp easier, Tesla made some specific decisions about private vehicles, including the interior of the car, which is something the automaker hasnt discussed much prior to today.
Weve intentionally gone for a very straightforward interior with a single screen, Musk explained, showing off a cabin that was intentionally designed to maximize available interior volume while still continuing the outside of the vehicle as small-scale as possible.
There is no header behind the second-row seats, for example, something lead decorator Franz von Holzhausen explained is designed to open up the available space for passengers.
Theres nothing behind your chief, so it simply feels like a nice, big, open rear seat, he told. Interior volume is important to us its a part of function.
This is partly because the Model 3 was designed with the long view of independence in mind. Musk explained that its production includes the same sensor hardware as the Model S and Model X, despite other features and intend components being pared back substantially to help increase manufacturing efficiencies. Increased automation is one factor thats helping, but theres a lot more to improving the process going on.
Musk said that Tesla can make around 250,000 Model 3 vehicles in the same space as it takes to attain 50,000 Model S cars currently, with a fivefold increased number of manufacturing capability reach out to process simplification. This includes sticking with a single-motor rear drive design initially, as well as utilizing much more steel. About 50 percentage of the vehicle is steel, while the other half is aluminum. The Model S, by comparison, is nearly all aluminum, which is harder to use in production.
Still, Musk constantly returned to the challenges represented by manufacturing and ramping the production process.
The biggest challenge we face is S-curve manufacturing, he mentioned. That S-curve portion is us going through hell basically.
That hell, he said, was the worst on the Tesla Roadster, despite utilizing a Lotus chassis for the vehicle. It was marginally better on the Model S, he told, but still hell, and on the Model X, it was approximately difficult and challenging as it was on the Model S, which it shouldnt have been given that it managed to re-use a lot of the components from the X.
Ultimately, that S-curve is something Tesla is confident it can achieve, Musk said, but its very difficult to predict what shape itll take, dedicated factors, including force majeure dangers from a furnish chain that includes up to 30 percentage of components coming from outside North America.
Still, Musk did seem comparatively confident in that end-of-2 018 date for hitting 500,000 vehicles per year, which would go a long way to addressing pent-up demand. And regarding demand, Musk used to say while the number of reservations is a false indicator when it comes to measuring true demand( since Tesla does everything we can to unsell the car ), its currently sitting at over half thousands and thousands of advance reservations in place.
If we did anything to even not set the brake on requirement, it would go bananas, Musk mentioned. But we dont have to do that yet.