After setting a production deadline for the new, affordable Model 3 of July 1, 2017, during the company's earnings call today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted that supply issues would make that date impossible. Likening the production date to a term paper deadline, Musk said it was important to set the date, but the company was highly unlikely to develop the supply chain for Model 3 parts in time.
Tesla showed off the prototype Model 3 during an event on April 1, noting the car's $35,000 base price and range of over 215 miles. After showing the car, Tesla began taking preorders at $1,000 each. In one week, Tesla logged 325,000 preorders.
Musk said that the Model 3 was designed to be much less complicated to manufacture than the Model S and Model X. However, the process of developing the parts necessary from suppliers and integrating them into the line would set actual production back. If any of its suppliers failed to meet expectations, Musk said that Tesla would begin fabricating the parts itself at its Fremont factory.
Estimating initial production at 100,00 to 200,000 for the Model 3 in 2017, Musk said that Tesla would be producing 500,000 cars a year in 2018.
Noting that producing cars in California and shipping them all over the world was inefficient, Musk suggested Tesla might set up factories in Europe and China, but only after maximizing production out of its Fremont plant.