Tesla Plans to Produce 20,000 Model 3 a Month by December
Tesla’s readies first mass-produced EV for large numbers, will consumers buy into the hype?
There's no doubt that electrified car purchases are on the rise. Consumers and manufacturers alike are gearing up to the idea of EVs eventually surpassing the sale of traditional gasoline-powered cars. Even though there is a lot of hype surrounding the Model 3, skeptics believe that Tesla and other manufacturers have some hoops to jump through before consumers can feel confident enough to purchase an EV as their every day car.
A lot of people, even journalists, still feel that electric cars are a fad. But the Model 3 shows that EVs are not only becoming more popular, judging by the number of pre-orders received for the car, but are also becoming more affordable. At a $35,000 price point, this opens the Model 3 up to many consumers who did not feel comfortable purchasing a Model S at nearly twice the cost. Tesla last released a public tally of 373,000 Model 3 preorders in their SEC filing during May 2016 - which alone would be a revenue of $13 billion. With batteries becoming even more affordable, manufacturers are opening the door to welcome electricity into their plants.
It's fairly safe to say electrified cars are not fading out in the near future.
If you own an EV and live outside of California, Washington DC, and New York - you might not regularly run into charging stations. Vehicle manufacturers have acknowledge this and have begun to collectively work together to plan for the future, deploying new charging stations for EVs. One might be scared that their trip has to revolve around planning where the next charger is located; luckily this feature is baked into Tesla's navigation system. This allows for long trips to be dynamically planned based on charging infrastructure data made available to the Tesla network. Although this is a very valid concern to have, especially for people who live in apartment buildings or have on-street parking and cannot charge their Tesla at home, it is being addressed.
There seems to be a constant battle between people that consider themselves "true auto enthusiasts" and those that buy EVs. Don't get me wrong, I love my old, slow "enthusiast cars" that I've owned over the years (S14 Nissan 240sx, 2G Eagle Talon TSi AWD, MK2 Volkswagen Golf, and even a few e36 BMW 3-series). But comparatively, I can say that when driving any of those, I feel much more connected to the road. The Tesla does offer a sense of "disconnection" between the driver and the road; the auto-pilot, electric assisted steering, and just general "techy" feel of the car feels, well, threatening... at first.
But shifting focus to the people that do have fun in their Teslas is important as well. It can drift around the D1GP track, it's tackled the Pikes Peak Hill climb, and can be quite the threat in a straight line. Cars don't have to be appliances if you don't want them to be. Is it the ideal platform to tune and make completely personalized? Maybe not. But claiming that the car is junk because it's powered by batteries is just plain silly.
If there is one problem that seems to loom around Tesla's brand, it's quality control. The automaker has been notable sub-par in this department, deliving cars with poor pant quality, unreliable steering components, and even a cracked A-pillar. Tesla has been working diligently to make new shops Tesla-accessible by lowering their entry cost into the partnership, however this doesn't resolve the underlying issue of quality from the factory. In order for the Model 3 to succeed and not see a backlog at authorized shops, quality control must be nearly flawless when making mass deliveries in the realm of 20,000 units per month.
With the release of the production Model 3 just beginning, Tesla has a heavy burden on their shoulders to make the Model 3 as easy-to-buy as possible for the consumer. I am hopeful that the adoption of this particular EV is successful, as it is one of the most anticipated EV in quite some time with nearly 400,000 pre-orders. Only time will tell if potential customers are willing to take the dive into relatively new tech and ignore the small risks.