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Tesla Model 3: electric car production paused last month

Published: 12 March 2018

► Dual-motor model coming soon
► Tesla having more delivery issues
► Cheapest Tesla on sale

The Tesla Model 3 has been bogged down by production delays ever since it was first announced, and now there’s another. According to a new report by Bloomberg, production of the electric car was temporarily halted from February 20 to February 24. A statement released by Tesla said the four-day rest was designed to ‘improve automation and systemically address bottlenecks.’

Although yet another setback looks bad on the surface, this latest delay might mark the turning of a corner for the Tesla Model 3. For the last few months we’ve heard about a lack of autonomy on the Tesla Model 3 production line – as well as several bottlenecks – so it’s possible this four-day halt may actually pay off in the long run.

Tesla Model 3: everything you need to know

  • The new Tesla Model 3 will cost from $35,000 in the US. Although that translates to £27,000 at today's exchange rates, Tesla is expected to do a like-for-like price of around £35,000-40,000 when Model 3 UK prices are set.
  • The entry-level saloon is claimed to have a range of at least 220 miles and customers can upgrade to a bigger battery for a 310-mile range.
  •  0-60mph is quoted as 5.6sec or 5.1sec for the punchier battery model.
  • Tesla Model 3: dual-motor version on the way?

    New leaks suggest a new, dual-motor version of the electric car will be out later this year. Imagery buried in Tesla’s own Model 3 configurator appeared to show a dual-motor version of the new EV, and now the company has registered VINs for a fleet of dual-motored cars.

    Imagery of the new Tesla Model 3 was found by a user called Eaer on the  /r/teslamotors Reddit. By essentially looking at the backend code on the Tesla website, they were able to find an image not actually displayed on the live version of the page. 

    The second ‘leak’ comes from information obtained by the Model VINS twitter account. According to a code-reader released by Tesla itself, the company recently registered 19 dual-motor Model 3’s just days ago – inidicating there could be a release soon.

    While US sales are ramping up now, right-hand drive UK production isn't due to begin until early 2019. That's quite a long delay for Europe's early adopters. The car is the fourth in Tesla’s range and said to be the next step in ‘accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy.’

    Customers queued in droves to place deposits to secure an order slot for a Model 3 when it was first announced. Before the car had been revealed, in 24 hours alone, a total of 115,000 pre-orders were placed. The deposit amount varied depending on your country; for example, it was $1000 in the US, but £1000 in the UK.

    A total of half a million pre-orders have been placed, according to Tesla - arguably making it one of the most successful product launches of all time.

    2017 Tesla Model 3

    Tesla Model 3: specs

    Tesla says that the new, smaller Model 3 will boast a range of more than 220 miles, despite its less costly price and correspondingly lower battery capacity than big brother the Model S. All-wheel drive versions will also be offered, which should prove ideal for those living in more inclement conditions or for drivers determined to make the fastest getaway from the lights. ‘It’s going to be an incredibly safe car,’ said Musk. ‘The Model 3 fits five adults comfortably. The first and second row have plenty of legroom and the rear roof is one continuous pane of glass, which gives you lots of headroom and a feeling of openness.’ Musk also claims that the new Tesla, which has front luggage compartment and a conventional boot, will offer ‘more cargo capacity than any gasoline car of the same external dimensions.’ Tesla Model 3 dimensions stand at Length 4694mm Width 1849mm Bootspace 423 litres Kerbweight 1610kg Drag coefficient 0.23 Details of the Tesla Model 3 warranty have also emerged. Like the Model S and Model X, the new electric car will have a flexible time or mileage warranty, giving support until four years pass, or a certain mileage is exceeded. According to Electrek, that distance is 100,000 miles for the standard-range battery Model 3, and 120,000 miles for the long-range battery version.

    Tesla Model 3: performance

    The Tesla Model 3 is the most affordable of Elon Musk’s electric cars to date, and that means it makes some compromises in terms of features, specs and general luxury. However, it looks like Tesla hasn’t cut corners when it comes to speed. Last week, DragTimes ran some tests on a new long-range variant of the Model 3, and found it to be faster than Tesla advertises.

    According to DragTimes’ video, which you can watch below, the Tesla Model 3 hit 60mph in just 4.667 seconds. That’s impressive on its own, but also rather surprising as Tesla itself advertises a time of 5.1 seconds. DragTimes beat the 5.1 figure more than once, too, so the Model 3 is clearly faster than stated.

    Why slower?

    The speed discrepancy could be interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it shows that Tesla would rather under promise and over deliver, but it might also reveal Tesla’s marketing and sales strategy. Going conservative on the Model 3’s 0-60mph time would help reinforce the appeal of the Tesla’s more-premium Model S. The slowest Model S can hit 60mph in just 4.2 seconds, and the slower the significantly cheaper Model 3 is from that time, the better – for Tesla, anyway.

    Tesla Model 3: interior

    Currently, like the larger Model S, the Model 3’s interior features a large touchscreen display in the middle of the car. Unlike its bigger brother, however, the Model 3 doesn’t feature an instrument cluster in front of the driver. Instead, the required readouts are seemingly condensed onto the 15-inch central screen. For example, you can see the speed readout in the very top left of the display.

    The new Model 3 will also come with Tesla’s self-driving Autopilot hardware, as well as a whole host of safety systems – but the exact specifications of the various derivatives in the new 3 line-up will be confirmed later.

    According to new tweets from Elon Musk, Tesla is still optimising the Model 3’s infotainment experience, and a forthcoming update will include more voice=control features, too.

    A Twitter user questioned just how much voice control tech the new Tesla Model 3 has, and Musk responded by saying Tesla engineers are currently focused on improving core functionality for the Model 3. Musk added that the new update will let users pretty much do anything via voice command, and will also come with several other features.

    Tesla Model 3: more delivery issues 

    Tesla has delayed production targets for the Model 3 for the second time, and it does against the 'major progress' we’d heard about in the last few months.

    Tesla said it’d initially make up to 5000 Model 3s a week by the first quarter of 2018, but now that figure has been halved to just 2500 units. Instead, Elon Musk says it’ll reach the magic 5000 number at the end of the second quarter, instead. As you’d expect, the news wasn’t received particularly well on the stock market, forcing Tesla’s stock down by 2%.

    It’s not the best situation, and is actually the second time Tesla has had to delay its targets. The company originally wanted to produced 5000 units per week in December last year, but now after two seperate delays, that will happen June 2018 at the earliest.

    Tesla Model 3: how many have been made so far?

    Now we have a good idea of how many cars Tesla was able to produce last year. According to Electrek, Tesla registered over 3000 VINs for the Model 3 last year, and that gives us a rough figure of 2000 Model 3s produced in 2017. (Tesla often skips VIN numbers when registering its cars.)

    Looking at VINs isn’t the most accurate form of analysis, but with production controversy surrounding the Model 3 since it was first announced, it’s the best guide we’ve got so far.

    Interestingly, a twitter account dedicated to tracking Model 3 VINs also reported that several of those numbers were moved to 2018, possibly hinting at a unexpected shortfall into production.

    Tesla Model 3: pricing and availability

    Company CEO Elon Musk said: ‘You will not be able to buy a better car for $35,000, even without any options.’ Given current the current US EV grant of $7500, the Model 3 could cost $27,500 (£19,191).

    UK customers can currently place a deposit of £1000 to reserve an order slot for a Tesla Model 3. Pricing for the UK market has yet to be announced but we’d expect the entry-level Model 3 to cost around £35,000 when it goes on sale, before taking into account any government grants.

    Take the current maximum EV grant of £4500 off and you’d potentially be looking at a total of around £30,500 for a UK Model 3. That’s similar to the list price of a BMW 3-series in 320i SE specification. 

    2017 Tesla Model 3

    ‘It is not possible to ship to all regions simultaneously because regulators in each part of the world have slightly different production requirements. Staggering deliveries in this way also allows us to provide the best possible customer experience.’

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