Tesla Model 3: Revealed Next Year, Production Starts 2017, Company Confirms


tesla model s prototype 008

tesla model s prototype 008

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Tesla Motors hasn't been able to meet any initial production deadlines so far, which raises continuing questions about the timeliness of its planned 200-mile Model 3 electric car.

But in disputing what turned out to be an erroneous report of a delay, Tesla yesterday confirmed that the car is on track for its planned 2017 launch.

The car will be unveiled sometime next year, before the start of production the following year, the company says.

DON'T MISS: Will Tesla Model 3 Electric Car Hit 2017 Production Date?

Confirmation that the Model 3 is "on schedule" was given by Tesla public-relations personnel to Benzinga and several other media outlets over the past couple of days.

This was in response to a report published by Inside EVs Friday, that claimed Tesla was delaying the start of Model 3 production until 2018.

The report cited a single slide from a presentation given by Tesla chief technical officer JB Straubel at a June 15 EIA Conference in Washington, D.C.

2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

The slide includes prominent text that reads "$35k 200-mi range EV planned for 2018."

That refers to the Model 3's previously-quoted target range of 200 miles, and its base price of $35,000 before any Federal, state, or local incentives.

Tesla says reading the slide as an indication of a production delay was a misinterpretation.

ALSO SEE: Tesla Model 3 Lineup To Include SUV, Sedan; 1 Million Electric Cars By 2020

"We plan to show [the] Model 3 in 2016 and begin production in 2017," a Tesla spokesperson told Benzinga.

The slide cited by Inside EVs refers to the start of "full production," the spokesperson said.

At the same conference last year, Tesla technology chief Straubel said the Model 3 would be offered as both a sedan and a crossover.

2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

He also said the two Model 3 variants would bring total production up to 500,000 vehicles per year by 2020--echoing long-term sales predictions first issued by CEO Elon Musk.

Yet when it comes to the Model 3, Tesla isn't out of the woods quite yet.

The company still needs to launch its Model X crossover, originally announced for an on-sale date of December 2013.

Tesla has said several times this year that the Model X will appear before the end of the year.

Tesla's schedule for the Model 3 is likely contingent on the Model X launching successfully and selling at expected volumes.

It will also require timely completion of the company's lithium-ion cell "Gigafactory" in Nevada.

Tesla gigafactory as photographed by drone, May 17, 2015 [screen capture from YouTube video]

Tesla gigafactory as photographed by drone, May 17, 2015 [screen capture from YouTube video]

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Tesla is relying on the economy of scale provided by this massive factory to make the Model 3's $35,000 price point feasible.

Panasonic--Tesla's battery supplier and a shareholder--is expected to send "hundreds" of workers to the Gigafactory site this fall to prepare for the start of cell production.

 
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