One of the biggest and most important questions currently surrounding Tesla is whether or not the company will be able to manufacture its highly anticipated Model 3 at scale and begin deliveries on time. While Tesla vehemently maintains that Model 3 deliveries will begin in earnest in late 2017, there are more than a few reasons to be skeptical.
For starters, Tesla has a long history of making delivery promises it simply can’t keep, with the delayed launch of the Model X being a prime example. Second, demand for the Model 3 is unlike Tesla has every seen before, with the number of reservations likely falling somewhere in the 400,000 range. Third, manufacturing the Model 3, while technically less complex a job compared to the Model X, requires that the company’s gargantuan Gigafactory in Nevada will be able to churn out battery packs as quickly as possible.
Speaking to Tesla’s bold manufacturing ambitions, the company for the longest time said it wanted to reach a manufacturing capacity of 500,000 vehicles by 2020. A few months ago, however, Tesla said that it was pushing that timeline ahead and now hopes to reach that milestone by 2018.