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Elon Musk: The Model 3 will roll off the assembly line by Friday

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【Summary】Tesla’s first Model 3, the long-awaited electric car that’s priced for the mass market, is expected to roll off the factory floor in Fremont, California on Friday, the company’s chief executive announced early Monday in a series of Twitter posts.

Original Eric Walz    Jul 03, 2017 12:03 PM PT
Elon Musk: The Model 3 will roll off the assembly line by Friday

Tesla's first Model 3, the long-awaited electric car that's priced for the mass market, is expected to roll off the factory floor in Fremont, California on Friday, the company's chief executive announced early Monday in a series of Twitter posts.

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The $35,000 Model 3 passed the necessary regulatory requirements two weeks ahead of schedule, and the first thirty owners will receive their cars at the end of this month, Elon Musk said, paving the way for an ambitious production timeline for the car.

Arriving on Schedule

Musk had said earlier this year that the Model 3 would arrive by July. The company appears to be making good on its stated trajectory, although Tesla has been beset by unexpected production delays and has overshot schedules in the past.

The first Model 3 customers will have the chance to get behind the wheel during a handover party on July 28th, Musk said.

High Demand

Demand is so high for the vehicle, Musk has said, that customers who reserve one now won't see their cars until late next year. Tesla hasn't released order numbers since May 2016, when it said that 373,000 Model 3 reservations had been placed.

"This will be a long wait," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the company's annual shareholder conference in early June. "I'm guessing if you put a deposit down now, it's probably end of next year before you get it."

To make a reservation for a Model 3 car, Tesla customers only have to put down a fully refundable deposit of $1,000. So it's unclear how many of the reservation holders would turn into Model 3 buyers.

Production Challenges

While some experts say that Tesla has learned from the production issues it faced with its SUV, the Model X, others have questioned the company's ability to sustain demand and to squeeze profits from its cutting-edge autos. "To produce niche cars like the Model X and the Model S is one thing, but to roll out a mass-market mainstream car is way more challenging from a production standpoint," said Jessica Caldwell, the director of industry analysis with the auto-research website Edmunds.com.

To get that volume of cars made and delivered on time, Tesla may have to change the way it makes its cars considerably. Tesla has only delivered a little over 100,000 cars in total over its lifetime. After the initial rollout, Tesla is slated to produce more than 1,500 of the Model 3's in September, and by the year's end, Musk expects the company to produce 20,000 units every month.

Tesla declined to comment further at this time.

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