Originally announced in 2006 as part of Tesla’s “Master Plan,” and promised delivery in March of 2016, the Model 3 was touted as the car that would bring electric cars to the masses and ‘crush’ competitors. The main factor was the price point: At $35,000, the car would not only be affordable but would also save drivers money on gas. Based on the announcement alone, Tesla’s stock soared.
In 2018, though, the car had yet to hit the promised price point or production levels. In May of that year, Musk tweeted that he projected a further six monthsuntil the company could reduce the price point to the promised $35,000.
Tesla looked to fulfill their promise finally in February of this year, but within a month people noticed that the company wasn’t delivering the car. A month later, the company rolled back the standard model, offering more expensive Standard Range Plus versions instead, which started at roughly $40,000. Some estimates say it’s closer to $45,000 for the car.
One of the ways Tesla planned to produce more cars in a shorter time frame is to develop fully automated production. The goal is to exceed the limits of human speed. At one point early in 2018, the company was trumpeting that the Model 3 production line was 95% automated. The shift was ambitious, but met with optimism and fanfare that it might just be the future of production.
Shortly after, though, Musk admitted that there was a need for a balance between man and machine to maximize production, and he tweeted that excessive automation was a mistake that might have caused Tesla to miss targets.
Tesla has even put out an email, as reported by Bloomberg, which discussed new job openings that indicate an expanding workforce for Tesla’s factories. Musk will need to find a better balance, though, considering that his factories until now have had a reputation for attempting to achieve a brutal output — six employees seriously injured at the factories spoke to the Guardian last year about the conditions.