The first production run of Tesla’s most affordable model will be ready this Friday after clearing all regulatory requirements, with the company holding a handover party for the first 30 customers on July 28. The Silicon Valley automaker plans to ramp up production to 100 Model 3 cars in August, 1,500 in September and 20,000 in December, according to CEO Elon Musk.
The Model 3 was first unveiled over a year ago at an event at Tesla’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California and received over 250,000 preorders in the first few days. The highly anticipated four-door compact sedan is the company’s first attempt at a mass market electric car with a starting price of $35,000 — not “cheap” but by far the cheapest in Tesla’s range.
The average selling price with a mix of options is estimated to be closer to $42,000. That said, Tesla is keeping it very simple when it comes to configuration options, at least initially. “I should say that we’ve kept the initial configurations of the Model 3 very simple,” Musk said at a shareholder meeting last month. “A big mistake we made with the X, which is primarily my responsibility — there was way too much complexity right at the beginning. That was very foolish.” For now, Model 3 customers can essentially chose the color of the car and the size of the wheels.
Tesla aims to produce some 500,000 cars per year by 2018 and one million per year by 2020. As the most affordable model in the lineup, the Model 3 is expected to make up the largest portion of those new vehicles, and thus it’s arguably the company's most important car yet.