What the Tesla Earnings Call Means for the Model 3


The Tesla Model 3’s production date is right around the corner, and the pressure is on for Elon Musk’s electric car company to kick into high gear. The company will hold its quarterly earnings call on Wednesday, which should provide some insight into the company’s plans for the new, affordable vehicle.

The conference call and question and answer session with Tesla’s management, which almost invariably includes Musk himself, will go down at 5:30 p.m. You can listen in on the Tesla investor website — the calls are usually pretty interesting, as some of the finance wonks closely following Tesla’s stock usually manage to tease bits of information out of Musk that he later clarifies on Twitter. But with the Model 3 right around the corner, here are the most important things to listen for if you want to know how close you are to driving a truly affordable autonomous electric car.

Is it still on schedule?

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you can expect there to be an update or at least a few probing questions from investors about the Model 3’s schedule. Musk has insisted that everything is on time for the July 1 production date, and the company so confident (or rushed) that it’s elected to skip the soft-tooling phase of production and get right into it.

How much did it cost to start production?

The earnings call will also give us a good idea of how much it cost Tesla to revamp the Fremont factory for producing the Model 3. The “earnings” portion of the call will let investors see how much Tesla’s revenue — expected to be over $2.5 billion by Wall Street — was offset by the company’s big investment into the Model 3.

Will Tesla be able to deliver the goods?

Tesla’s delivery rate has been phenomenal in 2017 so far, which is great news for the Model 3. Musk made big promises in his last earnings call in February, saying that the company could deliver as many as 4,000 cars a week by the end of September (under perfect conditions). This earnings call will either lead Musk to double down on that or hedge his bets with a slightly different projection.

What’s up with the solar roof?

This is a long shot, but there’s a chance the latest earnings call could give us solid information on the Tesla Model 3’s sweet glass roof. On Tuesday, an eagle-eyed citizen near the company’s HQ spotted a pre-release version with an all-glass roof. The specialized Tesla glass roof has been a major selling point for the Model 3 since it debuted, but Musk hasn’t quite confirmed that a fully solar roof will be an option somewhere down the line. With the all-glass pre-release sighting on Tuesday, there’s an outside chance that Musk will field a question about the solar roof, possibly connected to the discussion of Tesla’s other big solar efforts, Tesla Energy.

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