Tesla Could Begin Building Model 3 Electric Cars This Month

The Silicon Valley automaker will be shutting down it California factory for a week to prepare for the Model 3's launch—and sources claim Tesla will start cranking out pre-production Model 3s by February 20th. 

Tesla Motor Co's Plant As Production Of The Model S Speeds Up
Noah Berger—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tesla announced Wednesday it is shutting its California factory down for a week in February to ready itself for the launch of the highly-anticipated Model 3 sedan, Automotive News reports. 

The California-based automaker said it needs the time to modify its Fremont factory so it can take on the additional workload that will come during the next step toward its goal of building 500,000 cars each year in 2018. 

Additionally, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters that the factory will actually start test building the new Model 3 on February 20. This would allow the automaker to better answer questions from its shareholders regarding its future production plans and other difficulties that might arise as the factory begins to ramp up for the Model 3.

In 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors that his company planned on kicking off production of the new car in July 2017.

The start of Model 3 pre-production could stir up a huge amount of hype

"What better way to stoke the fan base and Wall Street than to wheel out pre-production models," said an anonymous source familiar with Tesla's plans to Automotive News.

A Tesla spokesperson told Automotive News that the planned production stop is not expected to affect first-quarter production or delivery numbers, because the automaker is adding extra operation days to make up for the lost work time.