I could swear we’ve been here before. Tesla has been drip-feeding us details of the Tesla Model 3 in a series of “launch” events that only ever show the car from two angles. But in a Twitter reply to a random internet user, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has promised that we’ll finally see the totally finished, complete, no-placeholders-here car in July.
Although we know what the Model 3 looks like, we’re still missing some rather important details about the car. We don’t know for sure what the interior looks like, we don’t know pricing, we don’t know range, and we don’t even know if the exterior has actually been finalized. Basically, we currently know that Tesla is building some kind of car that will be cheaper than the Model S, not quite as good, and there will be batteries in it.
Still, that’s good enough for hundreds of thousands of people to have already put down a deposit. Maybe if this all falls through, Musk can build a career consulting for Kickstarter projects, given his skills in getting people to hand over money at will.
All joking aside, there is a lot riding on the Model 3 for Tesla. The company’s stock price is sky-high, not on the basis of the cars it currently sells, but based on hype for the Model 3. No car maker is ever going to be bigger than GM and Ford if all it sells is $100,000 supercars for rich people who don’t need to do long road trips. The Model 3 is the car that takes Tesla mainstream, but to do that, it needs to hit a price and performance point that basically everyone outside the company says is impossible.
Musk has delivered on some improbable-looking things before, but the Model 3 is going to be his biggest test to date. Now we know when the exam is scheduled for.
In a further series of tweets, Musk laid out his vision for some of Tesla’s less-expected vehicles. The electric semi truck is set for a first unveil in September, which going on the Model 3’s timescale, means it might start shipping to owners in a few years. Musk also mentions the Tesla pick-up, which is a few years away, and the next-gen Roadster, which will be convertible.