Designing the Model 3 to meet pricing and production goals has been a nightmare, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk revealed during a press briefing Friday night.
“The major challenge we faced with the Model 3 is not really the product,” TechCrunch reported that Musk said at the briefing. “It’s going to be pretty great, but it’s going to be quite a challenge to produce this car.”
Musk went on to describe the “six months of production hell” Tesla is facing in order to meet its production target of rolling out 500,000 Model 3 vehicles per year – a goal that Musk hopes to meet within the next year or so.
To a greater degree than Tesla’s earlier vehicles, the Model 3 has been built for “mass appeal.” This has required “10,000 unique components in the car,” Musk emphasized. If the manufacturing of any of these parts is particularly cumbersome, it will slow the entire production line down.
To avoid this, Tesla engineers had to simplify some of the car’s components. Among other changes, “[w]e’ve intentionally gone for a very simple interior with a single screen,” Musk said at the briefing.
But one feature that the Model 3 does not cut corners on is autonomous driving. Musk said that the vehicle is equipped with the same sensor devices that are used in the Model S and Model X, and that Tesla plans to continue to build on this foundation.
Ultimately, the simpler design of the Model 3 has allowed Telsa to manufacture the vehicles at about 1/5 the cost of Model S cars. The affordable pricing will tap into a demand that not even the Model 3’s reservations have truly revealed yet, Musk postulated.
“If we did anything to even not put the brake on demand, it would go bananas,” Musk said according to TechCrunch reports.