Tesla is producing 500 Model 3 vehicles a day, or an average 3,500 cars a week, Elon Musk said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday. That puts Tesla on track to hit the crucial 5,000-per-week goal by the end of the June, he added.
In early April, Tesla announced that it had officially missed its goal of making 2,500 Model 3 vehicles a week by the end of the first financial quarter of this year. It started the second quarter making just 2,000 Model 3s per week. Tesla has blamed bottlenecks in the production of the Model 3’s batteries at the company’s Gigafactory for the delays.
During the shareholder meeting, Musk acknowledged the toll its taken on him and Tesla’s factory workers. “This is the most excruciating, hellish several months that I’ve ever had,” Musk said, his voice breaking. “And a lot of other people at Tesla. But I think we’re getting there.”
Musk also said that full production of the entry-level $35,000 Model 3 would begin in the first quarter of 2019. This is the cheaper version of that car that most of the estimated 450,000 reservation holders are likely waiting for — and according to Musk, they’ll be waiting a little longer.
Musk said the smaller, approximately 50 kWH battery pack will be ready by the end of this year. He also noted that production of the lower trim car will likely begin in early 2019, three years after the car was first announced, and two years after the first deliveries went out.
Tesla decided early on in production that the first version of the Model 3 it would make was the one with the long range battery pack (an extra $9,000) and the premium upgrades package ($5,000), which together bump the starting price to $49,000. All-wheel drive is also a $5,000 option, so that means these new models will start at $54,000 for the foreseeable future — and that’s without Autopilot.
Musk tweeted recently that Tesla was holding back on making the cheapest version of what is supposed to be the company’s “mass-market” electric car in order to generate more revenue. As we learned earlier this year, when the company reported its earnings for the first quarter of the year, it’s currently losing money on every Model 3 that it ships, despite ultimately targeting a 25 percent margin on the car.