• Tesla Model 3
  • Tesla Model 3

News: First Tesla Model 3 Deliveries

Real Customer Deliveries Start in Late October

Say what you will, Elon Musk and his team at Tesla know how to manage excitement and entertainment. Friday night, July 29, at 9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, Musk and a variety of Tesla folks spent 36 minutes hyping Tesla and, finally, showing off 30 new Tesla Model 3s being charged for their waiting new owners (all Tesla employees). During the show more details of the Model 3’s two trim levels were revealed along with future iterations. You can rewatch the whole thing here

In spite of the promise of an affordable, $35,000 compact electric car, the initial Model 3s produced will all be the high-end model (dubbed the Long Range because of its larger battery). It has a starting price of $44,000 (options such as any color other than black—just like with the Model S and Model X—or a power driver’s seat or leather) and could reach almost $60,000 with all the option boxes checked.

Model 3 Specs

During what Tesla called the Handover Party the two flavors of the new Model S gained some details. The base $35,000 car is called the Standard. It will have:

  • 220-mile range
  • 0-60 in 5.6 seconds
  • 130 mph top speed
  • Single motor on rear wheels
  • Charging capability of adding 30 miles of range an hour on 32-amp 240-volt chargers
  • 130 miles of range at Tesla Superchargers in 30 minutes (charge for use)
  • 15-inch touchscreen
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Hybrid steel/aluminum body
  • Tesla Model 3

    Colors cost extra at Tesla

    Double wishbone, virtual steer axis front suspension with coil over twin-tube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar

  • Independent multi-link rear suspension with twin-tube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar
  • Variable ratio, speed sensitive electronic power steering
  • Electromechanically boosted four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution
  • Eight airbags
  • Wi-Fi/LTE
  • Standard 18-inch wheels
  • All this in a package that is 185 inches long, 73 inches wide and 57 inches high.
  • Wheelbase is 113 inches
  • 15 cubic feet of trunk space

The $44,000 Long Range model adds this:

  • 330-mile range
  • 0-60 in 5.1 seconds
  • Top speed of 140 mph
  • Charging capability of adding 37 miles of range an hour on 40-amp 240-volt chargers
  • 170 miles of range at Tesla Supercharger in 30 minutes (charge for use)

Option costs beyond the $9,000 for the upgraded battery pack are:

Tesla Model 3

The early production Model 3s will be high-end versions

  • Paint: $1,000 for any color other than black
  • Wheels: $1,500 for 19-inch wheels
  • Interior upgrades: $5,000 (premium materials, power seats in front, premium audio+more)
  • Enhanced Autopilot: $5,000 (adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, automatically change lanes, transition from one freeway to another, exit the freeway and self-park at your destination)
  • Full Self-Driving Capability: $3,000 (an add-on to Enhanced Autopilot due

More Details Coming Later

We expect more details, such as the battery pack size, will be released prior to the late October start of deliveries to customers outside Tesla. Musk said 50 initial models had been built with 20 going to engineers for validation. I guess that would mean the 20 delivered to supposed paying Tesla employees are not fully validated.

The timeline for the Model S, as laid out by Musk, is:

  • Late October 2017, customer deliveries
  • November 2017, start of Standard production
  • Spring 2018, all-wheel drive production to begin
  • Second half 2018, left-hand drive international deliveries to begin
  • 2019, production of right-hand drive models to begin
Tesla Model 3

Engineering validation appears to be taking place alongside early deliveries

At the “party” Musk said the company had more than a half million reservations in hand. He indicated that any new reservations could expect to have their Model 3 built and delivered in late 2018. He then added that the aggressive production ramp-up planned for this car (Musk has targeted a 5,000-unit/week goal for the end of the year) will lead to “at least six months, maybe longer” of “production hell.” He pledged to ramp up production “as fast as we can,” but noted that it is a complex machine with 10,000 unique parts sourced from all over the world (one-third from outside the U.S.). The other linchpin of the ramp-up is the parallel ramp-up of production at the company’s Gigafactory outside Reno, Nevada, that is to produce the batteries and electric drivetrains for the car. Anticipating the cars getting on the road, Musk also pledged that the company would be tripling the number of outlets in its Supercharger network by the end of 2018.

Musk also added a brief sales pitch for the current Tesla models—S and X—saying the could be custom ordered and delivered in one-to-two months (the company’s website said some could be delivered in seven days). Purchases of Models S and X “make the Model 3 possible,” he noted.

In the electric car world, the Model 3 era has begun, even though it won’t begin in earnest for several months. Clean Fleet Report will continue to report on the model’s progress (or lack thereof) as things progress. In the meantime, the Chevrolet Bolt EV (with models starting at $37,495 and a 238-mile range) will be available nationwide starting next month (August 2017). More models from other automakers are around the corner. The EV world may never be the same.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy:

News: Tesla Model 3 Production Starts

Buyer’s Guide: Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt or 2016 EV?

News: BMW To Announce 3-Series Full Electric

Personal: My Chevrolet Bolt EV—A Six-Month Update

News: Chevrolet Bolt Will Be Available Nationwide in August

News: Chevrolet Bolt EV—Your Price May Vary

Share This Post

About Author: Michael Coates

is editor and publisher at Clean Fleet Report and an internationally recognized expert in the field of automotive environmental issues. He has been an automotive editor and writer for more than three decades. His media experience includes Petersen Publishing (now part of The Enthusiast Network), Green Car Journal, trade magazines, newspaper and television news reporting. He currently serves on the Board of the Western Automotive Journalists.

4 thoughts on “News: First Tesla Model 3 Deliveries

  1. Ed
    July 30, 2017 at 9:44 am

    So while this is still a great step forward and hats off to Musk, we’re still not quite there in terms of having a mainstream EV. Equipped the way most people will buy the Model 3, with the 330 mile range, it is $50,000 to $55,000 which means it is still a light luxury car; not quite the consumer priced mainstream car that the industry needs. I think it will beat the pants off the BMW and MB EV and PHEV offerings as they did in the $100,000 luxury car segment, but it is still not for the average consumer where the big market is. The $35,000 price leaves off all the gadgets a consumer would expect from a modern EV and they have very high option prices:

    $5000 infotainment/comfort package
    $5000 adv driver safety package

    So even if you don’t spend the extra $9000 for 330 miles range you will still be spending $45,000. This basically matches a loaded Premium Bolt and with incentives dips below $40,000 so it should compete well for Premium Bolt buyers though it does have smaller trunk space (15.0 vs 16.9 cu ft). We haven’t seen full interior volume specs yet. The Bolt squeaks into the midsize category with 111.3 cu ft vs. 110 cu ft lower limit. With the smaller trunk it will be a challenge for the Model 3. The Model 3 does have better rear shoulder room, but less rear leg room.

    Assuming the extra 115 miles range is about 25-30 kWh of additional battery, the $9000 is a pretty good option price coming in at under $360/kWh net to the consumer.

    I wonder what Tesla’s bottom line would look like if most people bought the base $35,000 model with no options? I think they are banking on ‘luxury’ buyers that can afford $50,000+ minus incentives to stay financially healthy.

    I would estimate a good number of purchase reservations will be converted into lease deals as folks get cold feet and Tesla finds they have to incentivize them to stay committed with an attractive 3-year lease. Tesla is banking on the volume and the ZEV credits. They can’t afford for these deposits to evaporate.

    • July 30, 2017 at 11:04 am

      #Ed,
      Excellent analysis, which we agree with heartily. Tesla is selling the Tesla brand, which is a premium brand. It’s not clear there’s really room for an entry-level model. They dropped the 60kWh Model S for lack of interest, which was entry-level for the big car.

      Another competitive issue. While the Bolt may or may not really be a competitor to the Model S, when it comes to price competitiveness, it definitely is. Lease deals on the Bolt make even the loaded models quite affordable. Musk is also just dipping his toe into the mass market (albeit at the high and more profitable end, so he will be going through a learning curve which can be costly to the bottom line.

      And, I’d say hold off on saying Tesla will best some of the big guys when they roll out their models. Up to this point, they really haven’t tried to compete head-to-head. We’re in for some fun years if you’re an EV enthusiast. –ed.

Let us know what you think.