Elon Musk shared pic of first Tesla Model 3 off the production line on Twitter
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reveals that a hot variant of his new electric BMW 3 Series rival is due in mid-2018
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed that a Model 3 Performance variant will be launched in the middle of next year, as long as the brand can cater for the high level of demand it has experienced for the new electric BMW 3 Series rival so far.
In a tweet, Musk said the «focus now is on getting out of Model 3 production hell». But he explained that adding more versions now would push the brand «deeper in hell» – suggesting it would delay the Performance’s launch until output was comfortably meeting demand.
He refrained from revealing more about the Model 3 Performance’s potential, but the hot version is expected to stick to Tesla’s usual range-topping formula of using a dual-motor, four-wheel drive powertrain. The Model 3 is more than 400kg lighter than the Model S, so it could become the brand’s quickest car.
Musk handed over the first customer Model 3 to its owner at an event last Friday, where he also pledged to meet the massive customer order demand for the car with an ambitious production schedule.
Musk confirmed that production for the Model 3 is already ramping up at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada, US. It expects to build 100 cars in August, before growing output to 1500 cars in September. The plant will reach maximum production from December, when it’ll be able to produce 20,000 cars per month. However, production of right-hand-drive models won’t begin until 2019. If Tesla hits its planned production of 500,000 cars a year from the factory, analysts predict that it will outsell BMW, Mercedes and Lexus in the US.
Tesla recently injected $1 billion (around £800 million) of investment into the company, something Musk has previously said would help it to meet the high demand for the Model 3. To date, Tesla has had more than 500,000 pre-orders for the Model 3, with Musk saying that those cars should all be delivered before the end of 2018.
«If you order a car today, it should be with you at the end of 2018,» he said, referring to production of left-hand-drive Model 3s.
Tesla has raised capital to help production and ease the financial risk associated with the production run. This has led to a rise in its share price and has been further boosted by reports of its future model plans, including the Model Y compact SUV, according to New York financiers.
However, some analysts still question Tesla’s ability to ramp up from producing around 80,000 cars in the past year to 250,000 in the next 12 months.
Musk also confirmed that two versions of the Model 3 will be offered from launch: standard and Long Range models. The standard car costs from $35,000 (£26,650) and has a claimed range of 220 miles, hits 0-60mph in 5.6sec and has a top speed of 130mph. The Long Range model costs from $44,000 (£33,500), delivering an official 310 miles of range, 0-60mph in 5.1sec and a 140mph top speed.
No details of UK pricing or delivery dates in 2019 have been revealed, but the entry-level price is expected to be just over £30,000 after the £4500 government grant for zero-emissions vehicles is applied. That will pitch it against the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE and Mercedes C-Class in terms of pricing and size.
Model 3 owners will not get free access to the Tesla Supercharger high-speed charging system, with the company planning to charge for electricity as demand grows and it requires more investment to build up the network of chargers.
It has, however, reaffirmed its pledge to deliver 500,000 vehicles in 2018 and one million in 2020, when the Gigafactory is expected to reach full capacity – a sharp rise from the 80,000 cars delivered in 2016.
– Tesla’s Gigafactory in numbers