Speaking to the third annual Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California on June 2, Elon Musk announced that the final design of the Model 3 would be ready in about 6 weeks time. “Almost all of the Model 3 design is done, and we’re aiming for pencils down basically in six weeks, complete pencils down. And we’re tabling — you know, if there are ideas for future cool things, we’ll have it in version 2, version 3,” he said.
That last part echoes his remarks at the Tesla Motors annual meeting the day before. He told shareholders, “I particularly need to fault myself for … putting too much technology all at once into a product. We have these great ideas. The smart move would have been to table those for version 2 or version 3.”
Like most humans, Elon Musk makes mistakes. Unlike most humans, he learns from them. Tesla Motors prides itself on not having annual model changes. Instead, it focuses on a policy of constant improvements. That sometimes puts customers in a quandary about when is the best time to buy a Tesla.
Musk is signaling that the Model 3 will be a work in progress rather than a finished masterpiece. With 373,000 reservations in hand — many of them received before the car was first revealed — the company is not overly worried that people will defer their purchases to await subsequent versions of the car.
Musk told the audience at the Code Convention that Tesla will hold a “big” event for the Model 3 toward the end of this year. Perhaps that is when we will see the final production ready car. Musk has already said that there will be a Part 2 to the launch of the Model 3 and it will be even more spectacular than the Part 1 celebration that took place on March 31.
Musk also offered some thoughts about potential competition from Google and Apple, according to Recode. “Google’s done a great job at showing the potential of autonomous transport, but they’re not a car company. So they’d potentially license to other companies,” he said. “I wouldn’t say they’re a competitor,” he added.
He was asked if Apple is a competitor, Musk replied, “Yeah, that’ll be more direct.” But he thinks Apple will be too late to the party to be a factor. “I’d think there will be volume production no sooner than 2020. Is that too late?” he mused. Then he added, “I think it’s great they’re doing this, and I hope it works out.”