- Screenshot from YouTube
But that doesn’t mean the company is resting on its laurels.
Quite the contrary.
If it’s going to make its own production and delivery goals for 2015, it needs to build about 17,000 vehicles by the end of the year. It has never assembled and sold that many cars in a quarter before.
And in early 2016, the company is slated to reveal a prototype of its Model 3 mass-market car. The Model 3 is really more a “platform” than a specific vehicle. Tesla is likely to build a mid-size sedan and a compact SUV off the same basic vehicle architecture.
Electrek reported that Tesla’s chief technology officer, JB Straubel, said this week that Tesla was now shifting the majority of its efforts to Model 3 development.
“[M]ost of the people inside Tesla are no longer working on the S or X, but they are hard at work designing and inventing all the technologies going into the Model 3,” he said in a speech at the University of Nevada at Reno, to present an internship that Tesla is sponsoring at its Gigafactory, Electrek reported.
Tesla has about 15,000 employees now, so it was unclear whether Straubel meant that the entire company is pivoting to work on the Model 3, projected to cost $35,000, or whether Tesla’s development people have been refocused.
We reached out to Tesla for some clarification and will update if we hear back.
In any case, it makes sense for Tesla to push hard to get the Model 3 launched on schedule in 2017. This is the game-changer for electric cars. Most Model S sedans and the majority of the early Model X SUVs are going to sell for $100,000 or more. There’s no real market share there, certainly not in the US, where luxury automakers like BMW and Audi have a few profitable points of share versus GM’s 17% to 18%.
Without the Model 3, Tesla is a niche. With it, Tesla could achieve the scale its needs to begin altering the transportation landscape.