6.20.2017 6:16 PM

Innovation

Report: Tesla Will 'Stockpile' Model 3s Before a Huge Release

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A new rumor floating around Tesla forums online says that by mid-July warehouses in California will start quietly stockpiling “several thousand” Tesla Model 3s, quietly holding the hotly-anticipated cars before sending them out to customers in a huge flood of deliveries at the end of the month. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has staked the future of his company on the success of the Model 3, and it appears that he’s not taking any chances, putting a plan in motion that would make sure the reasonably-priced electric car gets out to the public without a hitch.

On Sunday, TrevP, one of the founders of the popular Tesla Model 3 Owners Club forums, started a thread titled “July Surprise,” which he claims had inside info from a “reliable” source at Tesla. The source told TrevP a few details about the customization options in the Model 3, and then said that the production line is “just about ready” to start pushing out cars at a huge volume soon.

While it’s possible that the report is nothing but Tesla fanfic, the general timeline and strategy line up with what’s been recently reported. (We contacted Tesla and will update this story when we hear back.)

A Tesla Model S in the showroomGetty Images / Spencer Platt

A Huge Stockpile of Cars

The big news, TrevP writes, is that the company plans to “start production ASAP so that several THOUSAND Model 3s are produced and stockpiled for deliveries at the end of July.” When Musk first confirmed the July production date for the car, it seemed ambitious, and the company is notorious for missing deadlines. But lately, Musk has insisted that the Model 3 was on schedule, and if this report is true, it looks like that’s still accurate. It’s still a rumor, but one that definitely makes sense.

Preconfigured Cars

TrevP’s post explains how Tesla is going to do it. The company has already skipped a few steps in production to meet deadlines, but the biggest part of pushing that many cars out and creating a “stockpile” to release at the end of the month is building pre-made cars. Like many modern vehicles, Teslas are highly customizable, letting prospective buyers trick them out with all the bells and whistles. But the Model 3 was kept deliberately simple — it’ll have some luxury features but nothing compared to the high-tech Model S.

Early reports suggest it will only have about 100 configurations, and TrevP reports that the first produced cars will be even more standard than that: five colors, two to three wheel styles, and an only black interior, for at least the first three months of production. This will let Tesla move hundreds of pre-made cars so that consumers shopping online are essentially just picking from cars that are already made, like ordering a double cheeseburger at McDonald’s that’s already sitting on the hot shelf. (No substitutions!)

The reveal of the Tesla Model S "D" series. Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian

The Big Reveal

TrevP closes out his post with this little tidbit: “We may still get the token 5-6 on stage hand overs at the delivery event ceremony but Tesla is looking to really show the naysayers up this time.” So a few lucky owners might get a new Model 3 during Musk’s big stage show, but the point overall is to make investors happy and offset previous stumbles, like the disastrous Model X rollout. We’ll know for sure in July.

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