Tesla is a company that defies logic, convention, and well, just about everything else. Elon Musk and Tesla are disruptors to how things are done, and in some cases, that’s a good thing—i.e. getting rid of what most consider the worst part of buying a car, the dealership experience. In other ways however, Tesla has a habit of launching products that aren’t ready as with the Model X, or showing things before they’re finalized, as with the recently shown Model 3.
The Model 3 is Musk’s car for the people and by the hype metric, it’s been a smash success so far. Even though the car won’t be in the hands of consumers for at least 18 months, Tesla has already accepted over 400,000 pre-orders of the upcoming electric car. This level of enthusiasm hasn’t seen by any automotive manufacturer since Ford released the original Mustang or the Model T. Yet, Tesla just said that the Model 3, the car it launched with a grandiose party with much fanfare a few weeks ago, isn’t the final design that will make it into the public’s hands. Although, that shouldn’t worry you.
According to Reuters, a Tesla report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission states that, “We are currently evaluating, qualifying and selecting our suppliers [for the Model 3].” Because of that, the design the world was shown will likely be altered when those suppliers are finalized. Production in Tesla’s Fremont plant is being boosted to prepare for the Model 3, and Musk went on to state that the engineers were on schedule and would likely only take another 6-9 weeks for a finished product to be approved.
Of course, this is a common occurrence in automotive manufacturing. Months after a “final design” is shown to the public, car companies still have camouflage wrapped prototypes testing all manner of small design changes. It’s routine, so long as the overall shape of the car remains intact, and there’s no hint from Tesla that the Model 3 is receiving major overhauls.
Analysts and journalists however, are split on what the future of the company entails. Analysts see the operating losses, the failure to meet deadlines, and the quality issues that Tesla routinely incurs as a sign that its failure is a long-term inevitability. Plenty of journalists on the other hand, particularly from the technology sector, see Tesla’s disruption of the auto industry, and the lines around the block for a car no person has even seen, as an indicator that Tesla will indeed continue as consumers stray from traditional buying experiences and traditional powertrain options. It would also perhaps be foolish to bet against the cult of personality around Tesla’s CEO and founder, Elon Musk. The man has a habit of proving his detractors wrong.