Tesla is planning to halt vehicle production for one week in FebruaryÂ to prepare for Model 3 pre-production, which the companyÂ says will begin February 20.
According to Reuters, the short-term shutdown of its Fremont, California assembly plant will give TeslaÂ time to add capacity to itsÂ paint shopÂ as it plans for full-scale production of theÂ Model 3.
“This will allow Tesla to begin Model 3 production later this year as planned and enable us to start the ramp towards 500,000 vehicles annually in 2018,” said a Tesla spokesperson.
This sounds like Tesla is on track, or at least close, to meeting its Model 3Â production goal.
According to Tesla, suppliers not meeting their own deadlines is the only variable that might delay production of the massively pre-ordered EV.
As we already know, the Model 3 will not be available with theÂ 100 kilowatt-hour batteryÂ found in the Model S, and it’s likely Tesla will use the cheaper 60 kWh battery already offered in that model.
AtÂ $35,000 before any tax incentives, the Model 3 would be the least expensive vehicle to roll out of Fremont. That would also make it cheaper than the Chevrolet Bolt, its main competition, which carries a $37,495 price tag before tax credits. WhileÂ some have said that the Model 3 will not be profitable at that price, the Bolt doesn’t break even, either.
It’s unknown how many pre-production Model 3s the company plans to build during this phase of the ramp-up. Tesla also expects to perform general maintenance during the downtime.[Images: Tesla Motors]