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Why Tesla’s ambitious Model 3 may actually ship on time

Tesla Model 3

With approximately 370,000 Model 3 reservations on the books, Tesla’s manufacturing processes will need to be firing on all cylinders if it hopes to get the company’s mass market EV to customers in a relatively timely manner. As it stands now, Tesla maintains that it will begin delivering Model 3 vehicles to early buyers by the end of the year. Specifically, Tesla is aiming to ship 100,000 Model 3 units before 2017 draws to a close.

Of course, many industry observers are understandably skeptical of Tesla’s timetable, if only because the company has a history of missing deadlines with respect to ship dates. The iconic Model S shipped later than expected and the company’s newer Model X was also subject to a number of production delays. Consequently, many are taking Tesla’s ambitious production schedule with respect to the Model 3 with a grain of salt.

There may be good reason to be optimistic, though. Not only has Elon Musk said that the Model 3 is a less complex vehicle to manufacture, but Tesla’s success has made it easier for the company to secure supply chain deals.

Speaking to this point, Tesla’s former Supply Chain chief Peter Carlsson recently explained during an appearance at the KPMG Automotive Executive Forum (via Electrek) how Tesla’s ability to navigate the murky world of supply chain logistics has improved over the past few years and how this will positively impact Tesla’s Model 3 production. As to Carlsson’s specific background, he helped develop and orchestrate the supply chain for both the Model S and the Model X.


“Things will get a bit easier,” Carlsson said. “Tesla has resolved some issues through vertical integration — doing things internally. And with the launch of the Model 3, the volumes of the business will be more attractive, and I think we will see more suppliers relocate.”

Carlsson further explained that Tesla, during the initial production days of both the Model S and the Model X, did not have strong working relationships with suppliers which often made securing necessary parts in volume a challenge.

Indeed, Elon Musk has previously said that Tesla’s emergence as a brand that’s here to stay — as opposed to being a flash in the pan — has made it easier for the company to secure important supply chain deals and engender trust with third parties. What’s more, Musk a few months back said that suppliers, in the wake of Tesla Model 3 pre-orders shooting through the roof, are now angling for Tesla’s business directly as opposed to rebuffing overtures from the company.

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.