Saturday, 29 April 2017

Model 3 – how Tesla will control costs – update

467 robots are being installed at the Tesla Fremont factory prior to the start of Model 3 production.
Credit: Electrek/Google+

Tesla’s Model S is a luxury sporting sedan – the Model 3 is a, “mass market”, car. To appeal to a mass market, the price has to come down – “$35,000 before incentives”,1,2 has been promised repeatedly, for the US market.

Make it smaller, make it out of steel

● Most obviously, reduce cost by decreasing size by 20% compared to the Model S.3

● Extensive use of steel, rather than the more expensive aluminium widely used in the Model S.4,12 – update 18Feb2018

Notice the relatively small amount of aluminium (shown in silver) – update 18Feb2018
Credit: Tesla/Electrek

Reduce battery pack cost

An electric motor is simpler & cheaper than a comparable internal combustion engine – electric cars are more expensive largley because of battery cost. A $35,000 Model 3 will require a substantial reduction in battery pack cost. This will be achieved by:

● Battery costs have been coming down world-wide for some time – including 80% in six years.5

● Price will be driven down further by increased volume – i.e. Gigafactory.6

● Reduce cell count – Tesla has historically used commodity 18650 size lithium ion cells. Individual cells in the Model 3, will be 47% larger in volume, with a similar effect on storage capacity, for negligible increase in cell cost.7

● Each cell stores more energy, so fewer are needed for a given pack capacity.7

● Assembling fewer cells to make a pack is faster & cheaper.7

● Smaller battery pack – two options, the larger of which will be, at most, the same size as the smallest currently available in the Model S – “The shorter wheelbase only allows for a 75 kWh pack in Model 3 at current cell/module energy densities.” – Elon Musk, Twitter8,9

Automate the production line

● 467 robots are being installed at the Tesla Fremont factory prior to the start of Model 3 production.10

● Level of automation will increase over time, with no people on the production line itself, “in a few more years”.10

● Increased automation is planned to ultimately yield a 20 times increase in production line speed, further reducing production cost.10

Simplify the production line initially

● Initially, the production line will be simplified by producing only rear wheel drive cars. First 4WD, “probably in 6 to 9 months.”9

Streamline the delivery process

● “We need to deliver three or four times as many cars. But we don’t want to have three or four times as many delivery centers.” – Elon Musk11

● “Less paperwork, less bureaucracy.”11

● Shorten the hand-over to customers: “... get people ready ahead of time with really well-produced instruction videos.”11


1 Jalopnik: “​Elon Musk Says Tesla Model 3 Will Cost $35,000 Before Incentives”,

2Tesla: Model 3 Will Be $35,000 Pre-Incentives, Taking Orders In March”,

3 Autoblog: “Elon Musk: Tesla Model E will be 20 percent smaller than Model S”,

4 Wikipedia: “Tesla Model 3”,

5 Electrek: “Electric vehicle battery cost dropped 80% in 6 years down to $227/kWh – Tesla claims to be below $190/kWh”,

6 Tesla: “Tesla Gigafactory”,

7 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Tesla cell size comes from the first principles of physics & economics”,

8 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Tesla Model 3 event (video)”,

9 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Tesla Model 3 – 4WD option, performance, battery size (video)”,

10 Electrek: “Tesla receives massive shipment of robots for Model 3 production line – first pictures”,

11 Electrek: “Tesla Model 3: Elon Musk details the 5 minute delivery process, paperwork & instruction videos to be sent ahead of time”,

12 Electrek: “Tesla Model 3: here’s the alloy mix of the Model 3 body”, – update 18Feb2018

/ less paperwork less bureaucracy Tesla Motors Elon Musk LiIon lithium ion lithium iron phosphate LiFeO4 charge recharge battery Model S Model 3 range capacity kilo Watt hour Supercharger 4WD 4 wheel drive 2 wheel drive rear wheel drive RWD LiIon battery pack cell battery electric vehicle EV battery lithium ion LiIon charge battery electric vehicle BEV Elon Musk released very first images very first Tesla Model 3 release candidate Tesla started production release candidate Model 3 vehicles cars made almost entirely production machines test production process vehicles themselves video of the Model 3 no visible changes we can see the cameras for the Autopilot sensor suite see the camera in the Tesla badge front fender pillar on the side slight adjustments front fascia headlights video is very low-res Model 3 another color than silver red matte black spot other changes release candidate definitely significant difference front end Model 3 release candidate live streaming Tesla Model 3 unveil event on beginning at 8.30pm PDT March 31st reservations Model 3 worldwide two ways to make a reservation queue visit your local Tesla make a reservation online live unveil Tesla model 3 electric car mass market car electric vehicle EV steel aluminium twenty percent smaller 20% smaller automation automate robot production line 75 kWh kiloWatt hour /