First Tesla Model 3 rolls off production line, goes to Musk
Elon Musk has shared pictures of the first lower-cost Tesla to leave the factory.
Tim StevensFormer editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
Some 400,000 of you out there are eagerly awaiting the day when you can take the wheel of your shiny new Tesla Model 3, but you're going to have to wait a little bit longer. The first full-production version of that car has just rolled off the assembly line, and it's destined for the garage of Tesla CEO Elon Musk himself.
The Model 3 is Tesla's first proper mass-produced car, with a production volume goal of 500,000 units in 2018. That's a very aggressive ramp-up from the approximately 85,000 cars the company sold in 2016. Helping that volume is a much simpler design for the Model 3 than either the Model S or Model X that came before, and helping demand is the price: around $35,000.
Earlier this month, Musk pledged that 30 cars will be delivered at a July 28 launch event. The first of those cars was set for Ira Ehrenpreis, investor and board member of Tesla who placed the first deposit. However, Ehrenpreis gave the car to Elon as a gift (apparently for the CEO's 46th birthday) and so Model 3 number one will go to Musk. (Ehrenpreis will now receive number two instead.)
Musk shared two pictures of the car sitting outside the company's Fremont factory, painted a subtle black, giving us our first look at the final production version of the car. The identities of the lucky recipients of cars number three through 30 remain to be seen, but surely we'll be seeing more of those machines as we get closer to the end of the month.
While Tesla has still not confirmed the exact price of the Model 3, it's expected to fall at around $35,000 and will offer a range somewhere in the neighborhood of 215 miles. Musk has earlier confirmed that the first available version of the car will have very few options, basically just exterior color, wheels and interior, plus the ability to enable Tesla's Autopilot functionality. Common options on the Model S and X, like all-wheel drive and bigger battery packs, will seemingly come later once the car is fully up to production.
The cars will be assembled in Tesla's Fremont factory, while batteries will come from Tesla's massive Gigafactory, still under construction in the Nevada desert. Tesla expects these two facilities to provide the necessary manufacturing capability to produce the 500,000 cars per year in 2018.