Tesla Motors says it will ramp up production of its best-selling Model 3 electric car much more quickly than planned, with a target of producing 500,000 automobiles starting in 2018 rather than 2020.
The plan, announced as part of Tesla’s first-quarter financial update, comes in the wake of phenomenal advance sales for the Model 3, Tesla’s lowest-priced model to date. More than 325,000 reservations were placed during the first week of sales last month. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that pace was two to four times stronger than even he expected.
Model 3 production is due to begin in late 2017. During a conference call to discuss the quarterly earnings, Musk said that suppliers are being asked to deliver their parts by mid-2017 in order to meet Tesla’s timetable. “As a rough guess, I would say that we aim to produce 100 to 200,000 Model 3’s in the second half of next year,” he said. “That’s my expectation right now.”
He said he was so focused on the production issue that he’s taken to sleeping in Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif.
“My desk is at the end of the production line,” Musk said. “I have a sleeping bag in a conference room adjacent to the production line which I use quite frequently. The whole team is super-focused on achieving rates and quality at the target cost.”