Tesla: No Model 3 just yet, but more details soon

Anticipation and excitement — and probably some motivation to get a return on their $1,000 deposits — has led Tesla fans to relentlessly speculate over the release date for the Model 3.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said this week the company will deliver not the car, but more details about it, on Sunday — in case Tesla fans aren’t spending enough time during the week searching for Model 3 news and rumors.

The electric vehicle maker and clean energy company expects to begin large production of the lower cost sedan in July. The base Model 3 will start at $35,000 with a charging range over 200 miles. Prototypes have been spotted in the Bay Area and beyond.


The Palo Alto company is also expected to release quarterly delivery and production numbers within the next few days. Tesla shipped a record 84,000 electric vehicles last year.

Musk, setter of high goals and sometimes unmet deadlines, expects the Fremont factory to produce at least 100,000 Model 3s this year, cracking away at a reservation list that approached 400,000 in the weeks following the sedan’s unveiling last year.

Buyers plunked down $1,000 to get in line for the new EV, a bit smaller and less luxurious than its older brother, the Model S.

Tesla stock has continued to climb this year on news of the Model 3 and other expansions into solar roofs and energy storage.

The company also announced it was exploring plans to open a plant in China. Nissan and Volkswagen have already established joint ventures in the country to serve the growing Chinese market.

But Model 3 buyers in California may want to wait a bit. State lawmakers are considering a large and aggressive program to expand rebates for electric vehicles. The $3 billion proposal by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, seeks to encourage EV sales by evening out prices between electric and gas-powered vehicles.

For example, a $40,000 electric vehicle with the features of a $25,000 gas-powered car could receive a combination of $15,000 in federal and state breaks. If approved by the state senate and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, a new rebate program would be put in place September 2018.

Photo: The Model 3, Tesla’s $35,000 electric sedan, was unveiled Thursday, March 31, 2016. (Tesla Motors via AP)


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  • Homer

    Elon the master con man!