One of the biggest and most important questions currently surrounding Tesla is whether or not the company will be able to manufacture its highly anticipated Model 3 at scale and begin deliveries on time. While Tesla vehemently maintains that Model 3 deliveries will begin in earnest in late 2017, there are more than a few reasons to be skeptical.
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For starters, Tesla has a long history of making delivery promises it simply can’t keep, with the delayed launch of the Model X being a prime example. Second, demand for the Model 3 is unlike Tesla has every seen before, with the number of reservations likely falling somewhere in the 400,000 range. Third, manufacturing the Model 3, while technically less complex a job compared to the Model X, requires that the company’s gargantuan Gigafactory in Nevada will be able to churn out battery packs as quickly as possible.
Speaking to Tesla’s bold manufacturing ambitions, the company for the longest time said it wanted to reach a manufacturing capacity of 500,000 vehicles by 2020. A few months ago, however, Tesla said that it was pushing that timeline ahead and now hopes to reach that milestone by 2018.
Having said all that, it perhaps shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that not everyone shares Elon Musk’s optimism regarding Tesla’s ability to get the Model 3 into the hands of consumers in just about a year’s time.
In a new research note from Adam Jonas (obtained via Electrek), the Morgan Stanley analyst writes that the initial batch of Model 3 deliveries may be delayed for as many as 12 months.
“We continue to forecast a Model 3 launch at the very end of 2018 (more than 1 year later than company target),” Jonas said, “with 60k units in 2019 and 130k units in 2020.”
Tesla meanwhile is on record stating that it plans to deliver as many as 100,000 Model 3 vehicles to customers before 2018.
If Jonas’ predictions are anywhere close to being accurate, it would mark a huge set-back for Tesla’s underlying goal of creating a mass EV for the masses. And with upwards of 400,000 Model 3 reservations in the books, some individuals who made a Model 3 reservation in 2016 wouldn’t actually receive the car until 2021.