The Tesla Model 3 is now right around the corner. If CEO Elon Musk and the Tesla team manage to hit their goals, the first vehicles will be rolling off the production line in less than a month, and at the annual shareholder’s meeting, Musk gave expectant customers some key information for the upcoming rollout.
On Wednesday, Musk briefed the major shareholders and full board of directors for Tesla at the annual shareholder meeting. Shareholder meetings usually give Musk the opportunity to talk about the company’s progress, give updates on new projects, and answer questions from investors and the public alike. Musk didn’t disappoint: he gave some exciting hints about the Tesla Semi and finally revealed when he thinks the Tesla Model Y will “hit the roads.”, but the upcoming Model 3 release loomed over the whole event. Here are four of the most important takeaways from Musk’s speech.
The Model 3 Is on Time
Musk slipped in a little reassurance that the Model 3 would be on time during a section of his speech about production rates of the eventual Model Y.
“So yes, we are definitely on track to deliver the first production Model 3 next month,” he said.
Musk has said that the company is shooting to start production on July 1, which would make a delivery possible late in the month.
Tesla Learned Its Lesson From the Model X
In late 2015 and early 2016, the Tesla Model X went through a huge shortage, when deliveries were delayed by weeks, even months, because the car was so slow off the production line. Part of this was due to the clunky design, which was overloaded with technology and finicky details, like the gull-wing doors, exacerbated by the struggle of building an SUV on a sedan platform. Musk said the company has absolutely learned its lesson and won’t do the same with the Model Y SUV, but this relates to the Model 3, too — it’s going to be really simple.
“I think we really made a mistake in trying to derive the design for the Model X from the Model S platform,” Musk said. “It would have been better to just design an SUV the way an SUV should be designed, design a sedan the way a sedan should be designed — otherwise, you’re just trying to shoehorn something in that doesn’t make sense.”
He said the Tesla configuration tool, which lets buyers customize their vehicle’s options, will initially be limited to pretty much “what color do you want and what size wheels do you want” on the car — really basic stuff to ensure they can get off the line quickly.
Tesla Wants to Start a Used Car Business
“I should mention we are going to really give more prominence to used Teslas on our website,” Musk said. “But we are not going to call it pre-owned. That is like, a bogus name. That’s really BS. It’s used, okay. Everyone knows that. Who are we fooling here? So the used Tesla section of the website is going to get a lot more attention.”
Tesla vehicles have only really been in widespread production for about four years, so it’s understandable that there isn’t a huge market for used vehicles. But with the mass market Model 3 coming out, there are going to be a lot more Teslas out there. It also fits with Tesla’s strategy of anti-selling the Model 3 in order to get people to spend more money on a Model S.
There’s Going to Be a Long, Long Wait
At the moment, some analysts anticipate that there are over half a million reservations for the Model 3. The typical estimate is that the wait will be over a year at least. Musk echoed that estimate during the shareholders’ meeting.
“I am guessing, if you put a deposit down on Model 3 now, it’s probably – well, it’s going to be over 1 year,” he said. “End of next year before you get it, something like that. On the other hand, we – there are more and more deposits every week. So if you wanted, then definitely put down the deposit. The line isn’t getting shorter.”
But then again, that’s where the used Model S ploy comes in. So while it may not be possible to drive out of a dealership in a new Model 3 for many years yet, you can get a Tesla on short notice if you have the cash and the desire.