Was the Model 3 reveal just a facade?

Was the Model 3 reveal just a facade?

Unless I'm missing something, more than a month in, still not a single owner review of the car. Haven't read one thing indicating that regular customers have been invited to configure their cars?

Was the original release to 30 employees just a facade so Tesla could present the appearance of meeting a deadline for a change, but the car is really not truly ready for production? Seems like if it was, someone would have posted that they've been invited to configure and order their car??

Please correct me if I'm wrong (Oh and I know there's a few of you that will jump at the chance to!! LOL).

Just trying to figure out if this thing is really ready to roll or if we're still several months out before even being able to order? My estimated delivery originally said Oct. 2017. Either that means I'm really, really high on the list and they only need 30 days. But with as many orders as there are, my guess is, if they haven't taken your order yet, October, 2017 isn't happening.

markr7 | August 30, 2017

It wasn't a facade... Why do I say that?... Because Tesla is a public company. They have to answer to people much more important than Model 3 buyers; People that work for the SEC, Major shareholders, PUC, etc...
If they say they have started production, & in reality, have not... That points towards security fraud.
You may not get your car in October, but that can be attributed to a lot of things.

Carl Thompson | August 30, 2017

I would lean toward the reveal _not_ qualifying as being a real release of the car. More like an internal milestone than an actual release. But they seem to be making adequate progress to get us our cars on time so while I'm a bit impatient I'm not worried.


kzodz | August 30, 2017

They have been up front about it for a LONG time especially for Tesla Standards. Current cars aren't mass produced by robots, they are mostly hand made. They said 30 cars for July, maybe 150 in August and the 'dream' (fantasy?) is 20,000 a month in December.

shannon.lgrizzly | August 30, 2017

I would add that we won't see a single non-employee registration until ALL the employees on the list have gotten their cars. The configurator for us mortals will open before that is done but no one is getting a car until all these employees have been delivered to.

Also of note, I believe it was opened to SpaceX employees as well as Tesla. Correct me if I'm wrong.

shannon.lgrizzly | August 30, 2017

*edit: There is way more than 30 employees on that list

KP in NPT | August 30, 2017

They are still delivering cars but only to employees. There have been photos taken/articles written about cars being seen coming out of the factory.

The initial ramp is small (relatively) - They aren't supposed to start getting to larger numbers until october. I would expect non-employees to start configuring in the next couple/few weeks if the October delivery estimate for non-employees holds true.

shannon.lgrizzly | August 30, 2017

@KP in NPT: I go park by the Tesla track at lunch a couple of times per week and watch all the pretty Model 3's doing their spin around the track. Pretty exciting.

Carl Thompson | August 30, 2017

"I would add that we won't see a single non-employee registration until ALL the employees on the list have gotten their cars."

I doubt that's true for the simple reason that most employees probably won't want to pay for the long range + premium version. So they'll sell to those employees that _do_ want it then in October sell more of the expensive version to non-employees customers that want it, then only when they start producing the base version will they go back and sell to the rest of the employees.


Tesla2018 | August 30, 2017

Its lie having a huse built. Allow an extra 6 months from what you are told. I ordered a Lotus Elise and was toldthey would start delivering in April. Then they found ouf that some parts had to be redesigned to meet regulations so a token car was delivered around July and then people got them starting around September or October.
If employees find a major design flaw or defect in a part then it will tie up production until a new part canbe redesigned or a new supplier can be found. The estimated delivery thing has increased by a month for me since it started. My neighbor who. has a Model S and.ordered. a long range battery car on 4/1 said he is due about a month ahead of me but doent plan on getting it until. at least January even though his estimate is for November/December.
Id rather wait than have them rush and screw up and have to have a major recall because a robot messed up a weld or didnt torque a tie rod correctly which results in an accident. On the Lotus the first few batches were Ok but once they increased production they screwed up on the crimps on the oil cooler lines resulting in crashes due to oil getting over the tires andalso engine damage. Had to wait over a month after dropping off the car for the recall since they found out the lfitting on the lines had rusted on to the oil coolers and they did have enough spare ones in stock.

hoffmannjames | August 30, 2017

Was the original release to 30 employees just a facade so Tesla could present the appearance of meeting a deadline for a change, but the car is really not truly ready for production? Seems like if it was, someone would have posted that they've been invited to configure and order their car??

No, it was not a facade. Tesla always said that they would release the first cars to employees to "debug" the car and then a few months later, they would release cars to non-employees as they ramp up production. This is exactly what they are doing.

Also, I think a lot of people misunderstood what the event was. Because the event was broadcast to the public, people assumed that it was the reveal part 2. But the event was always going to be an internal milestone celebration rather than a reveal event. That's why Musk did not talk a lot about the car's features but really just gave a pep talk to the employees before letting them get their cars. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the fact that Model 3 production had started. It was never intended to be a reveal to the public.

mntlvr23 | August 30, 2017

@P90DX - "My estimated delivery originally said Oct. 2017. "
Really? Or did it say Oct 2017 - Dec 2017.
There lies the false advertising .....

Chargedmr2 | August 30, 2017

OP, have you considered that the current employee owners are almost certainly bound by a NDA? The last thing Tesla will do is allow employees to publicize early production problems.

Relax. For once, Tesla is achieving their deadlines (so far).

2015P90DI | August 30, 2017

I just remember with the Model X, they did the reveal / delivery to the first owners, then almost immediately, the car was able to be ordered / configured on line. So I guess I was expecting the same scenario with the Model 3.

One one hand, glad they're taking the time to make the car right. But would be nice if they would provide a narrower estimate window on when actual production will begin. Have a lease ending on another car, trying to figure out if the Model 3 will come in time or if I need to make arrangements to either extend the lease, but if so, for how long. If it's for a month or two, no big deal, but if it's 6, 8, 10, 12 months, then it doesn't make sense. Also have to think about the other car running out of warranty after the 3 year mark when the lease is up and pay the registration for a full year, etc...

Just saying, it would be nice if they'd let us know our place in line and a little more specifics so people can plan accordingly.

2015P90DI | August 30, 2017

@ KP in NPT | August 30, 2017


According to that article, sounds like we may know more tomorrow by the sales figures they release on "Friday". The article only confirms 9 cars ready. Hopefully the sales figures released tomorrow reveal that they met their target of 150 vehicles delivered this month.

KP in NPT | August 30, 2017

Only 100 were expected for Aug. 1500 for Sep.

Carl Thompson | August 30, 2017

"Tesla always said that they would release the first cars to employees to "debug" the car and then a few months later, they would release cars to non-employees as they ramp up production."

Tesla did not "always" say that. Sure that's what appears to be happening now but it's not accurate to say that Tesla has said that from the beginning.


Captain_Zap | August 30, 2017

Things seem to be progressing in much the same way as it did after the Model S first deliveries ceremony. It is just employees getting invitations instead of Signature reservationists this time.

phil | August 30, 2017

Just a facade? Too early to know, I'd say.

The Model X initial delivery event was clearly a facade. Six hand-built cars delivered to insiders, and then nothing for months. It was the better part of a year before any semblance of volume production took place. The term "production hell" was coined, apparently meaning "Holy crap, we better figure out how we're gonna produce this thing!"

For Model 3, delivering 30 hand-built cars to insiders obviously means nothing, unless the production ramp is really underway and going A LOT faster than Model X did. Elon is exhibiting great confidence, so either things are going well, or he's learned to lie with conviction.

I suppose we won't really know for a few months. If we start to see thousands of cars produced weekly and delivered with high quality, then it was not just a facade. If Elon keeps tap dancing about S-curves and unreliable suppliers and how you actually need all of the parts to build a car, then we'll know it was a sham.

I really can't even guess. I'd give it about 50-50. But I hope it's for real.

johnse | August 31, 2017

I don't think the 30 model 3's were hand built. The line is in place. I am sure that every part that a robot is supposed to do was done by that robot. They were just being very careful to inspect everything to confirm things are correct, or to make corrections where needed.

My understanding in the auto industry is that "hand built" refers to using non-production, low volume tooling to make cars.

Rthughes77 | August 31, 2017

I have been part of many automotive launches, major automotive manufacturers Take about 4-6 weeks to reach full production after the 1st saleable vehicle produced.

ramihanna616 | August 31, 2017

My brother is an engineer for GM and has a hand in getting new products out to market. He told me that at GM those 30 cars given out employees would be considered 'pre-production' . Until you see regular joe reviews I dont consider the car 'out.' That being said, I do believe that the model 3 was designed to be much easier to produce than previous models, and that Tesla has learned a lot. Im optimistic that they can meet their delivery schedule.

Sandy’s 3 | August 31, 2017

Tesla is a publicly traded company. It's not a facade. If it was it would be security fraud. When they published 30 in July, 100 in August and 1500 in September those would be minimum numbers. They learned the hard way with the major FU with the MX.

Rthughes77 | August 31, 2017

@ramihanna616 agreed, but they are calling them saleable vehicles.

It usually works like this:

Hand built mules, during this process you start to identify what your assembly process, tooling requirements,manpower needs,and quality

Non-Saleable 1 start of verification of assembly process, tooling dial in

Non-saleable 2 validate process, tooling, cycle time, quality

Saleable 1 captured fleet....employee vehicles

Saleable 2 sale to general public

jan.stubbs | August 31, 2017

Just watching my stock it would be nice if they could meet deadlines and get the cars delivered to owners. We own a model S and we are still at the back of the line contrary to what was stated. This really sucks this process of delivery or non delivery.

JuJo0 | August 31, 2017


If they are going to employees and they can be registered at the DMV as personal owned vehicles, they are not pre-production cars. The car is out; the ramp up is just preliminary right now.

phil | August 31, 2017

There are tens of thousands of videos like this one on the internet. Such videos demonstrate - and celebrate - that real volume production is underway. When do you think we'll see something like this from the Model 3 assembly line?

hoffmannjames | August 31, 2017

@phil When Model 3 production reaches thousands of cars per week, I am sure we will get a video like the one you posted.

phil | August 31, 2017

Hoffmanjames - I expect you are right. That production level is scheduled for sometime in Q4. If an impressive video arrives by Christmas, and we are hearing about high-quality cars delivered to external customers, I will be feeling much more confident about my delivery next year.

slasher0016 | August 31, 2017

Tesla is said to have around 10,000 employee reservations. They have over 30,000 employees. So lets assume of those 10k, 5k are managers, investors, executives. You can be assured that almost all of them will get the LR premium version. Lets say 80% get the long range version. Then lets assume just 20% of the remaining 5k get the long range version (they are long-tenured employee, or are skilled trades and make more money, etc.)

That's about 5k LR premium models to make BEFORE any previous owner / non-employee gets their car. With their guidance that means, best case scenario - October. I don't think it's a farce or facade, they're just building employee cars... and will be through all of September and probably parts of October. I think we'll see the previous owners (non-employees) start configuring in the final days of September. Perhaps around September 18th for late October delivery.

swingshiftworker | August 31, 2017

I sure that all comments from the employee-buyers are subject to a non-disclosure/privacy agreement so that Tesla can work out any bugs w/o public disclosure before the car is actually sold to the public.

Consider it a private beta test.

The car will NOT be released to the public at large until Tesla thinks it has a relatively bullet proof car that customers will not be complaining about or need to bring back to the shop for repairs, which would be expensive for the company in both dollars and in negative publicity.

Rthughes77 | September 1, 2017

Would love to know how many they built in August, if the first 30 were made off the production line and not static (hand built) the production line should be at a minimum building 10 VPH (vehicles per hour) at the end of August, if not there is trouble in paradise

dsvick | September 1, 2017

Why do you think that if they don't go from about 1 a day to 10 an hour it's a problem? The guidance from Tesla was only 100 to be built in August, that's a lot less than 10 an hour.

Rthughes77 | September 1, 2017

@dsvick......I've worked in automotive manufacturing for over 30 years and been part of many launches, I just can't understand why it is taking so long to reach full production if the first 30 saleable vehicles built off production tooling going through their entire assembly process, I would think they would have run hundreds of M3 vehicles through their production system before the first 30 saleable vehicles were built, but my thoughts are that they are using the first couple 100 of vehicles coming off as beta vehicles sold to employees.

In my experience once you have produced your first saleable vehicle you slowly ramp up production and reach full production in 4-6 weeks

Tesla stated the M3 was designed for ease of production with the latest production technology, so my conclusion is that the first vehicles produced and sold are Beta vehicles sold to employees, other manufacturers would just give them to employees for testing and validation, then destroyed or given to schools for technical training, but never titled

KP in NPT | September 1, 2017

There were a lot of release candidates/SOP cars that were used and are still being used for validation. There is at least one driving around on the east coast right now. One has VIN 313, if that means anything.

Tesla is not following the traditional steps for the Model 3 launch, and they caught some flack for that. They skipped the beta phase. so I'm not sure you can compare it to your automotive manufacturing experience.

bmz | September 1, 2017

It is in customer's interest for Tesla to ramp up slowly until it is ready for full-scale production--like it appears to be doing. I do not want to see the 200,000th car produced, until Tesla is producing 30,000 M3s/mo.

dyefrog | September 1, 2017

According to Insideevs, they delivered (registered I assume) 75 more Model 3's in August.

noleaf4me | September 1, 2017

@dyefrog - yea - I was just going to post that. Insidedvs has been real accurate with Tesla numbers.

chris.pribe | September 1, 2017

@Rthughes77 - Perhaps the case of Tesla ramping the Model 3 doesn’t exactly parallel that of a traditional OEM ramping a traditional car on a traditional line?

For example, OTA may have allowed Tesla to meaningfully decouple the software and hardware timelines. For all we know, they may have boatloads of vehicles being built now. It seems reasonable they’d use their captive fleet for final vetting before they gold master the software and, then, push those vehicles out.

Not saying this is necessarily the case, merely pointing out that here, as in many other cases, looking at Tesla through the same lenses used at traditional OEM’s may confound the viewer.

Rthughes77 | September 1, 2017

Can anyone answer this question?

How many M3 were built before the first 30 were released for sale?

chris.pribe | September 1, 2017


deemo | September 1, 2017

There were reported 50 production models built before the 30 were delivered. | September 1, 2017

One reason for asking for early configurations would be knowing how many of what part to order. That was important for the MX and its variations by M3 not so much-maybe how many buckets of what color paint? How many 18 inch wheels and how many 19" wheels? Not a big deal.

A little delay in the ramp will result in better build quality and the potential availability of improved Rel. 2.x software that they are grappling with. | September 1, 2017

AP 2.x would be more accurate.

Madatgascar | September 2, 2017

@georgehawley nailed it. Employees are probably beta testing not just AP2.x but FSD. The software is probably awesome but it's quite a stretch to make the leap to "better than a human driver" - they will need to log a lot of miles and debug a lot of corner conditions to get there. This is obviously the best opportunity to do it with employee drivers logging all their interventions. They won't want Model 3 to be released to the general public without a plausibly acceptable FSD capability, perhaps needing additional sensors. I don't think it's an assembly line issue at all.

noleaf4me | September 2, 2017

Just before and since the reveal, the total number of new posts on all the Model 3 threads had jumped substantially. Very recently, posts have fallen by almost half.......Could it be some of the excitement is gone? Maybe some concern that Tesla will not fulfill production goals? Maybe they are really in major production hell??? Thoughts anyone?

KP in NPT | September 2, 2017

We are all just waiting...not much new news and less to speculate about. ;)

I'd expect an uptick once configuration invitations go out.

noleaf4me | September 2, 2017

@KP - I'm pretty sure you are correct -- I'm just a little concerned that Tesla's timelines may be slipping....

KP in NPT | September 2, 2017

Not yet! they said 100 for August, and they're up to VIN 200. This month is when things should start moving a little faster. :)

Atoms | September 2, 2017

The cars are being sold under NDAs. This is because issues are anticipated on the first cars and they want to solve the manufacturing issues without news. This is totally ingenious to enable the fastest ramp up and drive to zero defects.
The manufacturing is on their real line with automation. A lot of robot programs require fine tuning.
Once they hit zero defects, they will ramp further and sell to the public without NDA.