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Future models - Tesla - Model 3

Right-hand-drive Tesla Model 3 ‘soon’

Another look: Tesla has provided another glimpse of its planned Model Y compact SUV that it plans to put into production in the first half of 2020.

Tesla Model 3 production ramps up, paving way for RHD deliveries in 2019

Tesla logo7 Jun 2018

TESLA has confirmed it is planning to introduce right-hand drive production of its Model 3 mid-sized sedan “soon” as it works towards the first deliveries in Australia in 2019.
 
The company has also revealed it will show its next new model – the Model Y small SUV – in March next year, and is planning a compact car for introduction within five years.
 
It announced it is planning to start production of three new models – the Model Y, new-generation Roadster and Semi truck – in the first half of 2020.
 
Speaking at a Tesla shareholder meeting in California this week, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk said the company was set to finally achieve its production target of 5000 Model 3s a week, possibly by the end of this month.
 
The company has been struggling to hit production targets on its highly automated assembly line since production started last year, but a series of changes have helped to speed up deliveries, it says.
 
Tesla claims the Model 3 was the best-selling mid-sized premium sedan in the United States last month, topping the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Lexus IS.
 
No sales figures were produced, but a graph tweeted by Tesla shows the Model 3 holding about 30 per cent of the segment – or, at least its definition of the segment – in May, ahead of the C-Class on about 26 per cent.
 
According to Mercedes-Benz USA, the C-Class achieved 5419 sales for the month, which would place the Model 3 at about 6000 units in May.
 
So far, Tesla is producing only top-end Model 3 variants that generate the most profit as it struggles to cut its losses, but it has indicated that with increased production, it should start turning a profit on every car and be in a position to produce a planned cheaper variant with a smaller battery pack to fill a large order bank by the end of the year.
 
Mr Tesla told the shareholders that right-hand drive production would start soon, but he did not define “soon”.
 
According to a Tesla timeline on its website, international deliveries of the Model 3 are scheduled to begin in 2019. Right-hand-drive vehicles are also set to start in 2019.
 
Waiting times for a RHD Model 3 in the United Kingdom is being quoted as 15 months. Assuming Australian deliveries start around the same times, deliveries can be expected in the second half of next year.
 
At the meeting, Mr Musk fended off a bid by a shareholder to strip him of his job as chairman, leaving him as CEO only.
 
Shareholders also voted down a move by an activist group to dump three directors from the board and replace them with directors with automotive experience. 
 
In other revelations at the meeting, Mr Musk revealed Tesla is working on an upgraded version of its controversial Autopilot system, adding the ability to change lanes and handle freeway ramps.
 
It has also developed a third-generation Tesla SuperCharger for reveal within months. Mr Musk said the unit would provide a dramatic improvement in charging times.
 
Although Tesla’s huge new Gigafactory in Nevada is still not finished, the company has stated that it will expand the plant over the next five years as new models such as the Roadster come on stream. Other factories are planned for Europe and China, with an announcement said to be imminent on the Chinese factory to be built in Shanghai.
 
The previously revealed Roadster concept was displayed along with the Semi prototype outside the shareholder meeting.
 
The Roadster is set to be topped by a SpaceX option package – a nod to Mr Musk’s other interest in space rockets – that can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in about two seconds.
 
However, that might be conservative, as Mr Musk indicated at the meeting that the Roadster and Semi would be better in production form than the concepts already unveiled.
 
Fewer details of the Model Y have been provided, but Mr Musk showed another glimpse of the car’s design at the shareholder conference, 12 months after he revealed plans for the vehicle at the same meeting in 2017.
 
The silhouette shows a blunt nose and high ride height, but not much else.
 
The Model Y is expected to be built on a new platform with construction techniques that cut costs. 
 
Mr Musk has previously stated that he expects the Model Y to outsell the company’s current best seller, the Model 3.

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