Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently provided a brief update on the production of the Model 3 Performance. According to Musk, Tesla has already made around 100 units of the vehicle, which would, in turn, be used as test drive cars in showrooms.
Musk’s update came as a response to an inquiry from Ride the Lightning podcast host Ryan McCaffrey, who holds a reservation for the Model 3 Performance. Responding to the Tesla enthusiast, Musk noted that VINs for reservation holders of the Model 3 Performance should roll out soon.
Should be very soon. We’ve already made around 100 Model 3 Performance cars for test drives in stores.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 10, 2018
Musk’s update on the Model 3 Performance comes at a time when Tesla seems to be stopping the “anti-selling” of the compact electric car. Amidst the overwhelming number of reservations it received for the Model 3, Tesla embarked on what could be called an “anti-selling” period for the Model 3, with Elon Musk highlighting the car’s extended wait time and comparing the Model S favorably against the vehicle. Just recently, however, reports have emerged that Tesla had started offering test drives for the Model 3. Anecdotes from the Tesla community also indicate that Tesla has opened the Model 3 online configurator to everyone who has a reservation for the electric car.
When Musk announced the Model 3 Performance earlier this year, he noted that the vehicle would likely enter production sometime in July, after Tesla achieves a steady rate of 5,000 Model 3 per week. Midway through June, however, Musk revealed that the first Model 3 Performance had rolled off the company’s new assembly line, which was set up inside a massive sprung structure on the grounds of the Fremont factory.
Elon Musk previously announced on Twitter that Tesla would be using the Model 3 Performance when it begins offering test drives. These test drives started earlier this month, with Tesla offering the program in its Dublin-Amador Plaza, Corte Madera, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto showrooms. Reports from the Tesla community also stated that test drives have been extended to the San Jose, Burlingame, San Francisco, and Palo Alto store in the Stanford Shopping Center this past weekend.
The Model 3 Performance is a key vehicle for Tesla this third quarter. With the company actively pursuing profitability, Tesla’s decision to offer the Model 3 Performance as its test drive units is a strategic move. The vehicle, after all, gives Tesla healthy profit margins, considering that it starts at a price of $64,000 before add-ons. With all options including Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving added, the cost of the Model 3 Performance could reach $80,000, a substantial premium over the car’s $35,000 base price. In this sense, every Model 3 reservation holder that orders a Model 3 Performance after a test drive in the vehicle would help Tesla get just a bit closer to profitability.
If any, the production of the Model 3 appears to be hitting its stride. Apart from a large batch of VINs filed recently, Bloomberg‘s Model 3 production tracker, which was only off by 2% in its prediction for Tesla’s Q2 numbers, is now predicting that company can sustain its 5,000/week production rate over the next three weeks.