I enjoy reading the speculative threads here as much as everyone else. And while I think that @VicF is crazy:
I may be crazy, but somehow I think the first Model ≡s will be produced early in Q3 2017.
I cannot fault the optimism nor enthusiasm. In fact if the prediction were to come true I would be very happy just like all the other Grinners here and around the world. We've had quite an emotional roller coaster on the Tesla ride, and I don't see it stopping. Lots of little bits of information have kept us promising to reserve multiple Model ≡s and planning to camp out. I live near the belly of the beast in the South Bay, so I'll see some of you in line early on Mar/31st. If I am very lucky and earn a +1 from some lucky owner, I'll wave at you from The Reveal too. I'm the big guy in the front blocking the view ;^)
Speaking of promises and predictions, what do you think will happen during the Model ≡ Reveal Event? Will Elon under promise and then over deliver?
I believe that Elon and Tesla have learned some important lessons from past product/feature introductions:
Almost no matter how cool a new feature/product is, people will complain about it—the 'D' and Autopilot.
When Tesla reveals a feature people expect to see it in the final version—Model X folding 2nd row.
Keeping interest in Tesla does not rely on advertising especially when Elon makes positive pronouncements—PowerWall.
People care about the appearance (and practices) of fairness—lottery for M≡ invitees.
People are willing to cancel reservations if they do not get what they want; People are willing to wait years in the darkness to get a Tesla
Details of how things will work like pricing, options, leasing, etc. are not necessary for people to spend $5K/$40K to reserve a chance to place an order w/o a first-come-first-served promise
Sometimes more communication is worth the trouble—letting owners know they did not win the invite lottery.
Some other ideas that Elon and Tesla know about or promise:
Short interest in TSLA is at an all-time high.
Tesla's goal is not to make toys for the rich, but to accelerate the transition to renewable transportation.
Over 95% of owners recommend Tesla or would buy their car again.
Although Tesla has "solved" range anxiety, most non-owners and some owners are still anxious at least part of the time.
It will take an enormous capital investment to design and build the Model ≡ and the infrastructure necessary to support it (Superchargers and Gigafactory).
I hope they have learned:
People care if the events seem organized and start on time—limiting invitations to M≡ Reveal.
Providing an online live stream is far better than letting others try to
It is better to under promise, then to over deliver.
Some facts, predictions and rumors we have heard, but we cannot be sure about the devil in their details. In fact some statements from Elon, JB, and others at Tesla contradict other statements.
The Model ≡ will be 20% smaller than the Model S
The Model ≡ will be unlike any other car
The Model ≡ will be similar to the Model S (and the Model Y will be similar to the Model X)
We are not sure how different the Model ≡ will be
The Model ≡ will get better than 200 miles of "real world" range
We are not sure how much we will reveal about the Model ≡
The Model ≡ will cost around $35K before any incentives
The Model ≡ will compete w/ the BMW 3-Series, the gold standard in its market segment
We will only reveal one car on Mar/31st
The Gigafactory is vital to the Model ≡; you cannot have one w/o the other
The Model ≡ will have next-generation technology
The complexity of the Model X was too high—it's the hardest car in the world to build; Tesla will focus on making the Model ≡ easy to build
The Model ≡ will use 20700 instead of 18650 cells
Cost savings for the Model ≡ battery packs come from the Gigafactory—shipping, import tariffs, taxes, economies of scale, supply chain management, and natural evolution from building them under one roof.
"Maximum Plaid" speed is reserved for the next Roadster—Space Balls Ludicrous Speed (thanks @Chunky Jr.)
Reservations will be taken at 10AM Pacific for Model ≡; employees will reserve their Model ≡s before anyone else; previous owners will get reservation priority; online reservations start when the event starts at 8:30 PM Pacific
Elon said during the Q4 earnings call the most heavily optioned cars will be built first
The press will be able to test drive "what we have been working on so far" the day of the reveal event
I don't expect Elon to reveal everything about the Model ≡. There are still several things out of Tesla's control that will affect it (like side-view mirror requirements). In some ways I hope Elon keeps it more vague than he has been before. For example, promising a next-generation release of Autopilot (especially hardware) may impact sales of existing models. I am not one to bemoan Tesla's practice of iterative progress w/o relying on model years, but I understand how residual value is impacted by the practice.
The Model S was originally touted as a $50K car. Economics/costs got in the way, and that price was increased to $60K. Also, sales of low-range versions languished until the MS-70D w/ Autopilot was released as the new base. The Model ≡ has been billed as a $35K car to the point where this base price seems unavoidable. Tesla builds electric vehicles that are much better than their ICE vehicle competition or at least that is one of their main goals. We Grinners agree, but others need to be convinced.
What information (promises) should Elon reveal to help w/ a successful launch of the Model ≡ in about two years?
Base price of $35K before incentives
EPA 5-Cycle projected range of 220 miles; that "extra" 10% helps w/ real-world difficulties like weather
Supercharger access explained w/ plans for expansion detailed; I like the free access for life approach, but JB has predicted that 1M cars is where things change from "free" to something else
Launch/production schedule w/ details about planned ramp in production; what would trigger a need for more capacity; how long are we going to wait;
Battery pack options w/ approximate projected EPA/freeway-speed range (nice numbers, rounded down for example, 264 becomes ~260)
I'd like Elon to say something like, "The Model ≡ will have similar options to today's Model S, like pano roof, dual-motor and performance versions."
I would love to hear about the high-level goals he gave the engineers about the spirit of the car and what Elon sees as the main differences between the Model ≡ and the Model S.
You will notice I did not list 0-60 times or top speed. But, I do expect Elon to mention some approximate numbers since this is where the press can fill in the blanks of their Madlibs articles. I'm not a slave to basic performance numbers. The MS-40 I drove was almost as much fun as the MS-P85DI I took to Santa Barbara and the MS-P85DL I test drove at Santa Anita Racetrack (where I could floor it in the enormous parking lot w/o concern for traffic or tickets). EV instant torque is great. Tesla's driving dynamics are a joy. I fully expect the Model ≡ to come in a P##DL variant w/ ridiculous, grin-inducing performance. I bet the base model will be pretty great too.
P.S. Apologies for not linking to references to my proclamations. Normally I would include HTML links w/in them, but Mollom is terrible about thinking links w/in a post are automatically Spam.
P.P.S. Yes, these long posts take a fair bit of time. I re-read them a few times and make a few edits, but rarely delete much. Long-time forum members will not be surprised by the length of my original posts. I do hope they are enlightening and entertaining, while being a little long. That's what I get for not having an editor.
P.P.P.S. My comments post-reveal on April 1st (so you don't need to go searching):
They started almost right on time (I think it was 8:34 PM), and it seems from Event videos posted and comments by attendees that Tesla did a great job. The live stream worked well for most of us.
They kept to a high level of detail
Not quite the 220 miles I hoped for (215 EPA), but Elon said they hope to surpass it
Will only reveal one car — check
Gigafactory is vital to the Model ≡ — check
Test drives for everyone — even better
Supercharger access explained w/ plans for expansion detailed — almost, access to Superchargers is still being explored by Tesla; Part 2 of M≡ reveal as production approaches will likely have this detail.
Launch/production schedule w/ details about planned ramp in production — almost, but even if they had discussed ramp up, the overwhelming response would have changed those plans (glad they kept it simple)
Battery pack options w/ approximate projected EPA/freeway-speed range — nope, they under promised this one; see Part 2 M≡ reveal
Similar options to today's Model S, like pano roof, dual-motor and performance versions — nope, they under promised this one; see Part 2 M≡ reveal; test drivers did give some of these details though