At a Friday evening event, Elon musk unveiled the final, productionto the world, handing out 30 of them to a set of lucky, first recipients. But ahead of that event, Musk sat with us and others, giving his thoughts on the car and what this release means for the company. As per usual, his language was colorful and often unfiltered. Here are a few of our favorite quotes.
Though the Model 3 is entering production now, it'll still be some time before manufacturing is properly in full-swing. Musk hopes that Tesla will be producing 5,000 of the cars weekly by the end of 2017, ramping up to 10,000 weekly by the end of 2018. That's roughly 500,000 cars per year, a huge increase over Tesla's 2016 production of less than 80,000 vehicles.
The Tesla Model 3 will be available with eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a front-mounted radar emitter, all of which enable the current Autopilot functionality for assisted driving. Tesla states that this will eventually enable the car to be fully autonomous, though it's unlikely the car will be able to ever drive itself in all conditions with that sensor configuration.
This was said in relation to an image showing a side-pole impact test of the Model 3 against agoing through the same test. Though the Tesla undoubtedly fares better, it is worth pointing out that this is Volvo's older platform, not the one underpinning the . Musk's point was to show that not all five-star cars perform equally.
The idea of a powertrain that could go a million miles without breaking down or requiring any service sounds... fantastic to say the least, but that's what Musk and Tesla are working towards.
Musk says that the company was going out of its way to "put the brakes on demand." He claims that if the company had actually marketed the car they could have over a million preorders. But, with over a half-million preorders, and given any new order today will not be delivered until the end of 2018, you can see why Tesla wasn't keen on having any more.
It's clear that the Model 3 is a much more simple car than the Model S, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The reduction of physical controls, such as for the power mirrors, actually makes for a cleaner-looking interior.