Tesla's pressure to produce Model 3 cars has been well heralded - shares are up 50% in the last 12 months notably because of all the hype. To date, Tesla has had more than 500,000 pre-orders for the Model 3, with Musk saying that those cars should all be delivered before the end of 2018. A troubled Model 3 launch could heighten the risks for the company, while a steady delivery of Model 3s could generate a stream of cash that would allow Tesla to avoid going again to the capital markets to fund its operations.
Tesla is now offering two different iterations of the Model 3.
The first non-employee Teslas are expected to be shipped from October 2017.
For the base price, customers will get a Model 3 with 220 miles (322 km) of range. Unlike the huge amount of options for the Model S, the 3 receives relatively fewer goodies, a tactic no doubt meant to lower cost. The company has said the auto will not offer the performance and features found on its high-end cars. What Tesla is looking to do is offer a seamless experience of driving an electric auto.
Musk tweeted his replies to a number of questions on Twitter, starting with his response to a tweet that said he had "an incredible life". Just over 20 percent were not able to resolve their problem in one visit to a service station. On the extreme end, 17 percent of owners polled needed three or more visits to get their problems solved.
Tesla has burned through over $2 billion in cash so far this year ahead of the launch. Tesla is in the midst of adding hundreds of approved body shops run by third-party companies and eliminating under-performers from its current network. Panasonic's close involvement with Tesla makes it a major player in batteries, but Korean firms LG and Samsung have more automaker clients.
Until now, Tesla has operated as a niche producer of luxury electric vehicles, with a charismatic, showman CEO who regularly interacts with fans on his Twitter account.
Electric cars are seen by many as the cars of the future and Tesla agrees. For the style conscious, there's always the S and X, provided they're willing to pay the much higher price.
"Many Tesla owners may never return to internal combustion engine (ICE) cars and while many would consider other competitive electric vehicle (EV) offerings, most appear to be relatively loyal to Tesla, underscoring Tesla's first mover advantage", Sacconaghi said in the note.