Yesterday as GM was making waves with its 200-mile, $37,500 Chevy Bolt compact crossover, a Tesla spokesperson said its similarly-spec’d Model 3 will also go on sale in 2017.
According to Reuters, Tesla said plans are on for Model 3 to be first shown in March, and sales are to begin next year.
“Tesla said on Wednesday it plans to unveil the design for the Model 3 in March and start selling the car in 2017,” wrote Reuters while offering a fresh Tesla quote to back its assertion.
“‘Model 3 is on schedule,’ Tesla spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn wrote in an email Wednesday,” said Reuters.
No doubt many more questions have to be answered including if Tesla means it will be only taking orders and defining that as “selling,” or actually delivering product in 2017 as implied. Also unstated is whether this might be early or later in 2017.
To date, Tesla has been very reluctant to provide more info for its anticipated car “for the masses.”
Further, in hearing of what sound like aggressive targets, critics have widely said Tesla has never been on time with a promised car, and these critics have expressed disbelief Model 3 could be revealed in 2016 and on sale the next year.
To set the record straight however, Model 3 could already be said to be behind schedule. In December 2013 Tesla’s designer Franz von Holzhausen, while panning the BMW i3 as an “Ikea level design” said its entry level car would likely be shown in Detroit in 2015.
March 2016 – when the “midsized” car may ultimately be revealed – is a year-and-a-quarter after that, so without contradicting critics, Model 3 is late, and Tesla is actually keeping intact its track record of late product launches!
On another front however is also the perceptive contrast between how GM and Tesla have done things in the public eye.
To date, the Model 3 has never been seen even in official design sketches, let alone as a concept on a stage. GM on the other hand showed Bolt last year, and this year the production car is to go on sale.
But actually, what Tesla reportedly proposes is not much different from how GM has done things. In January 2015 in Detroit GM basically produced a car out of thin air one year, and is launching it the next.
So, can Tesla do similarly, as Reuters reports Tesla says it will?
Unknown also are the degree of resources Tesla is dedicating to the Model 3 which must be well along its development path if it is to be for sale some time during 2017.
GM put out a press release June 2015 saying it had 55 Bolt development mules, and 1,000 engineers tasked to fast-tracking Bolt to production ready status.
Tesla on the other hand merely saw its CEO tweet the Model 3 will probably be shown in March for the first time.
A further perceptive contrast also needing amending is – assuming Tesla does what it has said – Model 3 is being presented as a volume car. GM has not spelled out if Bolt would see more than 30,000 produced its first year.
But whether this poke at GM periodically offered by Tesla supporters will remain valid is not likely.
On Monday Jan. 11 GM will reveal more about the Bolt but spokesman Kevin Kelly said today there would be no constraint to filling Bolt orders if demand increased.
Bolt has also been presented as a mass market car, and with supply agreements between it and LG Chem, GM is gearing up for more.
In the meantime, mark your calendar for March when Tesla says Model 3 will be shown prior to 2017 sales.