Taking to Twitter in the wee hours of Monday morning, restless Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the much-anticipated Model 3 electric car makes its debut this month, with a ceremony marking an initial production run of just 30 cars planned for July 28. Separately, Tesla reported sluggish second-quarter Model S and Model X production and deliveries owing to battery inventory issues.
“Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule. Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday,” he tweeted. “Handover party for first 30 customer Model 3’s on the 28th!” (Presumably, his SN1 reference is serial number 1, or the first sellable unit.)
While Tesla is meeting a goal set by Musk to begin delivering cars to customers in July, the production timetable laid out isn’t fast by conventional auto industry standards. The company’s Fremont, California, plant will make just 30 in July, 100 in August and more than 1,500 in September, Musk said. High-volume production won’t kick in until late in the year, it appears.
“Looks like we can reach 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in Dec,” he said.
The small sedan is a major step for the youngest and most valuable U.S. carmaker by market capitalization, which for nearly a decade has specialized in premium electric vehicles selling for an average of $100,000. In fact, selling an affordable, high-volume electric car has been Musk’s goal since August 2006, when he published Tesla’s “Secret Master Plan.”