US car maker Tesla has delivered its first 30 Model 3 EVs on Saturday, all ordered by company employees. Chief executive Elon Musk told journalists at the event that the cut-price electric car had over half a million advance registrations.
Musk said building the car would be “quite a challenge”, adding that Tesla is “going to go through at least six months of manufacturing hell.”
The Tesla founder earlier pledged to manufacture 500,000 Model 3 vehicles next year, a sixfold increase in production, meaning that buyers who ordered a car in the US now would likely not see it until the end of 2018.
Deliveries fell short of targets for the first half of this year, which Tesla attributed to production problems for the luxury Model S and Model X vehicles. Musk says the simpler design of the Model 3 will greatly reduce these potential assembly-line problems.
While the company’s share price has jumped 54 per cent since January, placing its market value above both Ford and GM, Tesla is yet to turn a profit. The launch of the Model 3 has cost over $2.7 billion so far, with Tesla twice returning to the capital market to seek funding.
The Model 3 will sell in New Zealand for $66,541, making it one of the cheapest new EVs on the market, with the first deliveries due to arrive in 2019. The car will have a driving range of 355km, with an upgraded 500km-ranged performance option to hit the market next year.