It’s here: Elon Musk tweets photos of first Tesla Model 3, hot off production line

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 July, 2017, 12:29pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 July, 2017, 9:52pm

Electric carmaker Tesla has produced its first Model 3 sedan, a highly anticipated car because it carries a relatively low sticker price.

CEO Elon Musk late Saturday tweeted the first pictures of the car, which will cost US$35,000 and can travel 345km on a single electric charge. A US$7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles would lower the cost to US$27,500 in the US.

The images bear a strong resemblance to the car Musk first revealed in 2016. Although Musk said the first car would have gone to Ira Ehrenpreis, a venture capitalist who founded DBL Partners, Ehrenpreis “gave those rights to me as a 46th birthday present,” Musk said on Twitter.

The highly anticipated vehicle is expected to be delivered to the first 30 people on Tesla’s massive waiting list later this month.

With more than 370,000 pending reservations for a Model 3, Tesla has its work cut out. Analysts believe the car could help jump-start the spread of pure-electric vehicles in the US, but only if the company is successful at keeping its factory running at top speed.

The company has been plagued by production issues in the past that have led to concerns about Tesla’s ability to keep up with demand.

Musk has predicted that by December, Tesla will be finishing Model 3s at a rate of 20,000 per month. But he earlier had said Tesla would make 10,000 Model 3s per week by December.

The new model comes after a bad week for Tesla’s stock price.

Shares fell roughly 14 per cent after Musk tweeted that deliveries of the company’s other two models – the Model S sedan and Model X SUV – were at the low-end of the company’s projections in the first half of this year.

Musk has said the Palo Alto, California-based company will hold a party to hand over the first 30 Model 3s to customers on July 28.

Tesla expects to produce 100 cars in August and more than 1,500 in September, Musk tweeted earlier.

While second-quarter deliveries rose 53 per cent from a year ago, they still were about 12 per cent below first-quarter deliveries. Tesla said in a statement that second-quarter production was hampered by a severe shortfall of battery packs. Production averaged 40 per cent less than demand until early June, the company said.

Additional reporting by Washington Post