US electric vehicle maker Tesla has turned out 5,000 Model 3 sedans in the space of one week, meeting its long-promised production goal just hours after the company’s latest self-imposed deadline of midnight on Sunday.
The milestone – originally set for Christmas 2017 – was marked in a company-wide email sent by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and reportedly seen by Reuters, after the 5,000th of the Model 3 EVs passed final quality checks at the Fremont, California factory at around 5am Sunday (US time).
“We did it!,” Musk wrote in the email to employees. “We either found a way or, by will and inventiveness, created entirely new solutions that were thought impossible.
“Intense in tents [This refers to a third Model 3 production line that was reportedly being built outside of the factory, under a massive tent.] Transporting entire production lines across the world in massive cargo planes. Whatever. It worked,” he wrote.
“I think we just became a real car company.”
The new milestone – despite being put in rather harsh perspective by Ford CEO Steven Armstrong (see Tweet below) – is important for Tesla, to reassure both shareholders about its mass production capability, and customers, who have been waiting patiently for delivery of their Model 3 since this time last year.
7000 cars, circa 4 hours. ❤️Ford Team❤️ https://t.co/FZSclsFoS0
— Steven Armstrong (@StevenArmstrong) July 1, 2018
Just last week, Tesla invited all Model 3 reservation holders in the US and Canada to configure their car and put in their order, a step that costs another $US2,500. Bloomberg reports that the standard battery version of the car, starting at $US35,000, still isn’t available in the design studio, so customers can either order a higher-priced version, continue to wait, or cancel their order.
As for Australian customers, who had been promised delivery sometime in 2019, Musk’s recent frank appraisal of how RHD manufacturing was tracking suggested late 2019 was the “best-case,” and for many it could be 2020.
As we have reported, the production of the Model 3 has been far from smooth for Tesla, with Musk himself repeatedly describing it as being in various levels of “hell,” as problems with certain factory lines and car components were nutted out.
Musk – who turned 47 last week – has certainly pulled out all the stops to meet this latest Model 3 deadline, including building a new assembly line in a huge tent outside the main factory.
And the progress has not been limited to the Model 3. In the email, Musk noted that the company had also achieved its production goals of 7,000 Model S and X vehicles in that same week.
But can the pace be maintained? Musk believes so, and has already said that the company expects to produce 6,000 Model 3 sedans a week “next month,” according to Reuters.
Tesla is expected to release a formal statement on second-quarter vehicle production and delivery figures sometime early this week.