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Elon Musk says the Model 3 represents Tesla’s last ‘bet the company’ initiative

Published Jul 15th, 2018 4:22PM EDT
Elon Musk
Image: Ena/AP/REX/Shutterstock

In a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg, Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained that the Model 3 represents the last “bet-the-company” initiative we can expect to see from the automaker. Recall, everything Tesla has done up to this point has been to hasten the release of the Model 3, the mass market EV Elon Musk initially promised us more than a decade ago when he penned his now-famous “Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan” back in August of 2006.

Nearly 12 years ago, Musk outlined Tesla’s roadmap as follows:

Build sports car
Use that money to build an affordable car
Use that money to build an even more affordable car
While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options.

Impressively, Tesla managed to follow Musk’s early roadmap to a tee, though there have been some well-publicized product delays along the way. Regardless, with the Model S and Model X now bonafide success stories, and with Model 3 production seemingly on the up and up, Musk explains that huge bets that put the entire company at risk may no longer be necessary.

There have been three situations where it was necessary to bet the company. Like it was unavoidable to bet the company. The creation of the Roadster. Obviously, we’re a brand-new company, it’s our only product. From the Model S, we went from like 600 cars a year to 20,000 cars a year and a much more sophisticated car. Obviously, that was a bet-the-company situation.

Model X was painful but not a bet-the-company situation. Model 3, we’re going from, you know—like the S or the X program is 1,000 cars a week. Model 3, even to basically be healthy for the Model 3 system, it’s 5,000 cars a week. So it’s a half order of magnitude increase relative to the S or the X. That is necessarily a bet-the-company decision. You cannot have that much of a step change for a manufacturing company without this being a bet-the-company decision.

Musk, per usual, isn’t one to mince words and the entire interview is well worth checking out. One point of interest worth mentioning is that the initiative Musk is currently most excited about is the Tesla Model Y, a crossover version of the Model 3 that might see production begin as soon as 2019. Incidentally, Musk says that the Model Y design is almost complete and that a prototype might make an appearance by March of next year.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.