First Production Of Tesla Model 3 Electric Car Unveils This Coming Friday

Tesla plans to ramp up production dramatically in 2018, with a target of 500,000 cars per year.

Musk has a history of setting aggressive goals and timelines for Tesla and coming up short, including his calls for how soon the Model X SUV and less-expensive Model 3 sedan would follow the company's top-selling Model S. His latest target - producing the Model 3 at a rate of 20,000 cars per month in December - reinforces the challenge ahead. As per the company, first certified Model 3 will be completed this week and 30 of them will be handed over to company employees at the end of July at its Fremont factory.

That's just a part of his tweet, though.

But others see Tesla as a technology and energy company rooted in its self-driving and battery production technology, which could mean that Tesla is now only a fraction of the size it could grow it. Shares are on track for their worst weekly percentage decline since early 2016 - they fell almost 6 percent Thursday alone. He said he believes those catalysts include gross margin expansion, gigafactory construction updates, accelerating growth of Tesla Energy sustainable fuel business and potential introduction of the Model Y semi truck.

The sales miss coincides with mounting competition from traditional auto makers such as Volvo, which announced on Wednesday that it would only build electric or hybrid vehicles after 2019.

Other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. And that included building a model that's specifically meant to appeal to the masses.

The Model 3 is scheduled to go on sale on July 7.

Indeed, the Model S P100D could smoke Italian and German supercars right off the line, reaching 60 miles per hour in just 2.34 seconds at the moment of release. So far, there are already at least 400,000 people who have expressed intent to be a Model 3 owner, having paid a deposit of $1,000 as reservation. But any delay in the Model 3 production schedule could quickly change the attitude of financial markets. That's something to look forward to.

As Tesla continues to expand the number of buyers with the Model 3, there's the very real possibility these consumers will trade up over time to the Model S, a similar pattern to what happens with Apple and the iPhone. There'll be add-on features for sure. But the make-or-break drama will continue until Tesla proves that it can turn out Model 3s at high volume and accumulate more cash than it costs to build them. Of course, the Model 3 will also feature Tesla's landmark Autopilot feature as a standard.

  • Wendy Palmer