With a reported 373,000 reservations for the Model 3 on the books, Tesla will have to engage in a full-on production sprint in order to meet its updated production deadlines. And given that Tesla has a history of delivering cars much later than promised, not everyone is optimistic that Elon Musk and co. can make good on an unquestionably aggressive production timeline.
Just a few weeks ago, Tesla said that immense demand for the Model 3 compelled them to accelerate their manufacturing plans. Whereas Tesla initially planned to reach a manufacturing capacity of 500,000 cars by 2020, the company now hopes to reach that milestone by 2018. And to help fund such an ambitious production schedule, Tesla just this week announced its intention to raise $1.4 billion in capital via a stock sale.
While this sounds encouraging on the surface, is it possible that Tesla is biting off more than it can chew? Well, according to a recent report from Reuters, some of Tesla’s suppliers, along with some industry experts, seem to think so.
Industry experts said Tesla’s new goals were extraordinary and raised doubts it could meet them. The handful of North American auto plants capable of building 500,000 vehicles a year are all run by automakers with decades of experience, they said.
One complication is that Tesla has not finalized the Model 3 design and specifications, said automaking consultants and supply executives who asked not to be identified because Tesla prohibits them from disclosing contract details
Indeed, Musk over the past few weeks has affirmed via Twitter that the company is still working out the final design for the Model 3. Specifically, Musk said that they’re still working on the design of the trunk and the front grill area.
As to previous delays that hampered the rollout of the Model S and the Model X, Musk tried to assuage the concerns of skeptics by noting that the Model 3 should be looked at through a completely different lens because the Model 3 is a decidedly simpler car to manufacture.
Needless to say, it will be fascinating to see how progress on the Model 3 unfolds over the next 12-18 months. As it stands now, Tesla is still planning to deliver 100,000 Model 3’s by the end of 2017.