Tesla promises to reveal more about its Model 3 on March 31, and then start taking reservations
OREANDA-NEWS. February 12, 2016. The paint is barely dry on the first batch of Tesla Model X crossover SUVs, and the automaker's attention is already shifting to the Model 3, its long-awaited entry-level model.
On a shareholder call Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed the company will reveal more details about its pivotal new model on March 31, at which point dealers will begin accepting \\$1,000 reservations. It's worth noting that the placeholder fee is markedly less expensive than the \\$5,000 required to get in line for the \\$80,000 Model X. Online reservations for the Model 3 will fire up on April 1, with Tesla insisting it will start deliveries in 2017.
The Model 3 can't come soon enough. While sales of Tesla's 4-year-old Model S were up last year, Model X production has been slow to ramp up, and in either case, the company is hemorrhaging money.
Tesla lost \\$889 million last year -- a record -- partially due to new model development costs and partially due to construction costs associated with its Nevada-based battery Gigafactory. Tesla has lost money for each of the last eight years. As of late, shareholders have been punishing the company's stock price, which closed at \\$150.43 Thursday, up nearly 5 percent but well off its 52-week high of \\$286.65 in July.
It isn't immediately clear if Tesla will reveal the Model 3 in full next month, and details remain murky. The car is expected to be roughly the size of a BMW 3 Series (read: compact), and take on cars like Nissan's Leaf and GM's forthcoming Chevrolet Bolt, which is also expected to have in excess of 200 miles of range.
If Tesla's Model X delivery schedule is anything to go by, it's not clear how quickly reservation-holders will be able to park a Model 3 in their driveway. The Silicon Valley automaker promised to start Model X production in 2015, which it did -- barely. Although deliveries began in September, just 206 examples found homes in 2016, and production remains at a trickle.
It's also not clear how expensive the Model 3 will be when it arrives. Musk confirmed on Twitter that production won't start with a pricier Signature Series a la Model S and X, and officials have repeatedly insisted that the car will start at as little as \\$35,000. Federal and state tax credits promise to slash as much as \\$13,500 from that bottom line, which would make the Model 3 the company's first truly affordable automobile.