Earlier this week Tesla Inc said that approximately 2 500 Model 3 sedans per week would probably be produced by the end of the first quarter. Musk has long said that production of new Tesla cars occurs like an "S-curve", where initial manufacturing is low and slow; when an inflection point is reached, the production speeds up dramatically.
Tesla had said the Model 3 was designed for quicker production than the more complicated Model X.
Tesla ended September with about US$3.5b cash in hand and projected another $1b in capital expenditures during the last three months of the year.
"We believe a fundraise will be necessary for Tesla in 2018", wrote Brian Johnson, an analyst at Barclays Plc, in a report to clients Thursday. After selecting the Model S Sedan with a 100 kWh battery, Tesla's trip planner tells me the 12-hour trip will be broken up by a 20 minute charge in Bourges, a 25 minute pit stop in Clermont-Ferrand, a 40 minute charge in Albaret-Sainte-Marie and then one last 40-minute top-up in Narbonne before hopping over the border to Barcelona. That's on top of the 220 Model 3s the company delivered in the third quarter, for a total of just 1,770 since the first deliveries in late July. This includes moving some of Tesla's workforce from Model S and X production to focus on the Model 3. The carmaker has been blowing through more than US$1 billion ($1.4b) a quarter as it's had trouble scaling up output despite spending heavily on robots, assembly lines and tooling for the sedan that is Musk's cheapest yet, starting at US$35,000.
"In the last seven working days of the quarter, we made 793 Model 3s, and in the last few days, we hit a production rate on each of our manufacturing lines that extrapolates to over 1,000 Model 3s per week", the company said in a statement.
The estimates for Model 3 deliveries by different brokerages varied widely. Critics point out that the company's unprecedented rush to ramp up production puts it at risk of delays and costly recalls if quality issues arise.
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It'll take Tesla another three months to double that number.
"Tesla has really lofty goals for automation", Tasha Keeney, an analyst at ARK Investment Management, which holds Tesla shares, said in a phone interview.
Customers who pre-ordered a Model 3 will have to keep on waiting.
That pace of production is still below that of many carmakers.
Tesla said Wednesday it's making "major progress" addressing problems "with our production rate increasing significantly towards the end of the quarter".