Why is Elon Musk doing whatever he can to get buyers to stay away from the Model 3?
If there wasn't enough motivation for early Tesla Model 3 preorder holders to sell their reservations off to a hungry market, especially after Elon Musk keeps doing what he can to convince us that the Model 3 sucks compared to the Model S, Reuters has gotten word from a recent Tesla shareholder meeting that the Model 3 will suck even more than we initially thought. In a bid to keep buyers who can afford the Model S from buying the cheaper Model 3, Musk has been cutting the options list shorter and shorter.
Tesla’s fear is that fans of the brand will think the Model 3 is better than the Model S because it’s newer, which would be a financial disaster for the young automaker who’s so far been dependent on the Model S to survive. And then there’s the fact that Tesla already has a metaphorical Mount Everest to conquer by ramping up production facilities to fill preorders piled six figures high. All of that means Tesla will need to shift as much demand to the Model S as possible while simultaneously making the Model 3 as fast and easy to produce. Like Henry Ford did by famously offering the Model T in only black, Musk previously promised less than 100 Model 3 configurations compared to the 1,500 possible flavors of the Model S, all in the name of streamlining production.
However, the bottleneck will be much more severe at the car’s inception. "You just need to decide what color you want and what size wheels, at least for the initial production," said Musk during the shareholder’s meeting. Sheesh, talk about slim pickings. To us, it seems like there will be no list of optional interior trims, additional toys, or special appearance packages either, which doesn't even begin to cover the notable lack of battery and drivetrain options. More choices will come as Tesla’s Fremont, California factory catches up to demand, but for now the Model 3 is expected to come in only two-wheel drive orientation, a single battery option, and a standardized set of features.
All-wheel drive and higher capacity battery packs offering additional range and higher levels of performance are expected to follow, and it would be shortsighted not to envision additional interior trim choices as well. Given how sour a taste the Model X’s complexity seems to have left in Musk’s mouth, the entrepreneur is firm in his resolve to make the Model 3 simple. But has he gone too far in the other direction? We only have a month left to wait until preorder holders can customize their Model 3 sedans, so we'll find out then. By the looks of things, configuring a Model 3 will be almost s quick as a Ludicrous Mode launch.