When Tesla first unveiled their (more) affordable Model 3 electric car, many industry watchers—including our famously car-skeptic Lloyd—declared it a rather remarkable achievement:
But with so many people making reservations long before they could ever buy the car, the question has never really been about whether people will buy it—at least in the early years. Instead, the question has been whether Elon Musk can deliver on his famously ambitious (unrealistic?) promises of mass production.
Having missed earlier production ramp up deadlines, Musk gave CBS a tour of the factory back in April, and promised to be hitting 5,000 Model 3s a week by Q3 of this year. To put some context to how remarkable it would be for Tesla to hit that figure, it was considered news just over three years ago when Tesla made 11,160 cars total in the whole of Q1, and when you add up all electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles sold in the US by any manufacturer in the whole of March (a record month of sales), you only get 26,373. So I think it's fair to say that if Musk does hit and then exceed his 5,000 a week goal for the Model 3, it would go a long way toward single-handedly changing the electric vehicle landscape—and that's even before we count the influence it will have on competitors and their product lines.
So how did Elon do?
7000 cars, 7 days— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 1, 2018
♥️ Tesla Team ♥️
That's right, 7,000 cars. Before we get too excited though, it's important to note that the tweet is referencing all cars. And 2,000 of these were Model X and Model S. It's also important to remember that one week of all-out production does not a sustainable manufacturing operation make. As CNBC notes in their report, Tesla is known for "burst builds" in which it temporarily pushes production to the maximum in order to calculate future capacity—it's certainly not inconceivable that having met its self-imposed deadline, Tesla will now fall back to a slightly more sustainable rate.
Then again, maybe not. Apparently Musk is now targeting 6,000 Model 3s by the end of June.