A Different Independence Day: Tesla Model 3 Delivering This Month

Good news from Tesla about the country’s independence — from petroleum as the primary transportation fuel, per the San Francisco Chronicle:

Electric auto maker Tesla plans to deliver the first of its long-awaited $35,000 Model 3 sedans on July 28th and expects to build 20,000 of the cars per month by the end of the year, CEO Elon Musk revealed late Sunday.

The company aims to produce 100 cars in August, 1,500 in September, and 20,000 in December.

The advent of this car on the market means there will now be two EVs that can go over 200 miles on a single charge at less than $40,000 (really closer to $30,000 with incentives): the Chevy Bolt and now the Model 3.  Those prices aren’t cheap, but they aren’t expensive either, especially when considering the low maintenance and fuel costs (at least if you fuel at home in your garage).

The big question to me will be reliability: the Models S and X from Tesla have had a lot of quality control problems for drivers.  Those high-end consumers tend to be okay with the hassle.  But with the Model 3, consumers won’t be as forgiving if the car has to be in the shop a lot for small fixes.

And the second question: will Tesla actually be able to achieve its production targets?  It’s a good sign that the company is two weeks early with the start of production, but historically they’ve had challenges getting their manufacturing and supply chains together.

This model will truly be a make-or-break test for the company, if it’s to fulfill the vision of becoming a major global automaker and bring EVs to dominance.