Tesla's rollout of the Model 3 has been anything but smooth sailing, and thousands of customers are still waiting for one very important Model 3 variant: the base model.
It's the car Tesla CEO Elon Musk has consistently promised would come with a $35,000 price tag and 220 miles of range. Now, Musk has tweeted that those reserving the least expensive Model 3 could see their cars as soon as September. The CEO replied to a Twitter user asking when the base version is scheduled to arrive. Musk explained the factory has to produce 5,000 units of Model 3 per week before the base model enters production.
Musk believes Model 3 production will crack 5,000 units per week this June, and the executive said the plant will need three-to-six months before introducing the base Model 3 into the mix. If we follow Musk's proposed timeline, it leads us to an early date in September or a longer wait time into December or next January. That assumes, of course, that Tesla meets that June timeline for 5,000 units per week, something that has eluded the company.
Thus far, Tesla has only produced Model 3 Long Range variants. That car starts at $44,000 before options, and it comes with a larger battery pack to squeeze out an estimated 310 miles of range.
Additionally, Musk announced orders for all-wheel-drive and performance-variant Model 3 sedans are now open.
According to a prior Tweet from Musk, production of the dual-motor AWD and performance-variant Model 3 cars will begin in July. The added production appears at odds with the CEO's comments to smooth out production before adding additional variants like the affordable base Model 3. Those placing orders for either of these versions won't see their cars for at least 12 to 18 months, per Musk.
In the meantime, Tesla received a blow from Consumer Reports. The publication did not issue a coveted "recommendation" for the electric car. The Model 3 performed poorly in brake tests, which led to a series of new Tweets from Musk. The CEO declared a firmware update will likely sort out the braking distance issue, which could roll out over-the-air.
However, he also backpedaled to tweet, "Even if a physical upgrade is needed to existing fleet, we will make sure all Model 3’s having amazing braking ability at no expense to customers."