Tesla will produce Model 3 in $35k base trim beginning Q1 2019

During Tesla’s recently-held 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting, Elon Musk provided an estimate as to when the $35,000 base trim Model 3 would begin production. According to Musk, Tesla would start manufacturing the standard range, RWD variant of the compact electric car in Q1 2019.

The update to the base trim Model 3 came as a response to a question asking if Musk could publicly guarantee that the $35,000 variant of the electric car would indeed be produced. Addressing the company’s shareholders, Musk stated that the Model 3’s most affordable option would “definitely” be offered.

“Yes. We will definitely offer a $35,000 version of the Model 3. And probably at the end of this year is when we will be able to make a smaller version of the battery pack, and get into volume production of $35,000 version in Q1 next year. We would definitely honor that obligation, and we would do so right now if it were possible.”

The base trim Model 3 is Tesla’s most affordable vehicle to date. Priced at just $35,000, the compact electric car boasts 220 miles of range on a single charge. The performance of the standard range RWD Model 3 is no joke either, with the vehicle capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, almost a full second faster than its closest rival, the Chevy Bolt EV (6.5 seconds).

The $35,000 base trim Model 3 is one of the most highly-anticipated versions of the compact electric car. Tesla has so far been prioritizing higher-end versions of the vehicle. The company began rolling out the Model 3 in its fully-loaded long-range RWD version first at the end of 2017, and in May opened orders for the electric car’s dual-motor AWD and Performance variants.

In a tweet last month, Musk also provided some insights on why the standard range RWD base trim Model 3 is being pushed back in favor of the vehicle’s more expensive trims. According to Musk, Tesla would need to first “achieve target rate” and then smooth out cash flow to “achieve target cost.” Musk further noted that if Tesla immediately opted to manufacture the $35,000 base trim Model 3, the company would “lose money and die.” 

During the 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting, Musk confirmed that the Model 3 line is now at a steady production rate of 3,500 vehicles per week. Musk also noted that Tesla’s goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 weekly would likely be achieved by the end of June 2018, especially considering new upgrades to the production line.

“Despite a lot of difficulties, all parts of the Model 3 production system have demonstrated a 500 car per day capability or a 3,500-per-week capability. We just did a big set of upgrades. We’re spooling up the production lines again. And it’s quite likely that we will achieve a 5,000 car a week (rate) by the end of this month,” Musk said.

With Tesla approaching its ever-elusive 5,000-a-week milestone in the manufacturing of the Model 3, orders for the compact electric car’s standard-range RWD base trim would probably be rolled out within the next few months.

Tesla will produce Model 3 in $35k base trim beginning Q1 2019
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