Model 3 “production hell” has supposedly ended. But what about the promised affordable version?
One of the Tesla Model 3’s strongest selling points is really quite simple: its affordability. Problem is, the long-promised $35,000 base Model 3 has yet to arrive, leaving only the more expensive Long Range RWD and AWD, and AWD Performance versions available for sale at the moment. But according to a new report from Teslarati, it appears Tesla now has a production start date for the cheapest Model 3.
That date, as of this writing, is “in the next 8 months,” so figure around April or May 2019. This information comes from a couple of industry analysts who were recently given a tour of Tesla’s Gigafactory 1, which was organized by the company’s investor relations chief, Martin Viecha.
Also, the more expensive Model 3s are just that, more expensive. The additional money provides Tesla with much-needed funds. Their profit margins are higher. Last June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicted the $35k Model 3 would begin production sometime in the first quarter of 2019. Production of its smaller battery packs will reportedly get underway by the end of this year. Musk’s earlier time estimate is close but not quite, as quarter one ends on March 31. Still, an April or May start date is very much welcomed.
It was Musk who provided the pair with the $35k Model 3 production start update. Compared to the already on sale Model 3 trims, this base version will come equipped with a shorter-range battery and less-hot performance capabilities. That’ll work just fine for many potential buyers who simply want to get behind the wheel of something new and quite different than the typical internal combustion-engined vehicle. But why didn’t Tesla launch the base Model 3 from the get-go if it has the potential to sell in very high numbers?
Quite simply, Tesla did not have the mass production capabilities in place yet, as was proven with the higher end versions.