Tesla hits Model 3 production goal

Tesla appears to have produced nearly 5,000 Model 3 electric vehicles in the last week of June, coming within hours of hitting a target CEO Elon Musk initially planned to meet by the end of 2017.

The 5,000th Model 3 came off the assembly line early Sunday morning, according to Reuters, which spoke with two workers. Social media posts from workers validated the report. Musk tweeted Sunday that Tesla had produced 7,000 cars in seven days. The tweet didn’t specify if this was a combination of Model S, Model X, and Model 3 vehicles.

Tesla has been targeting a 5,000-Model 3s-per-week goal for months without success. In a May 2017 letter to shareholders, Tesla said preparations at its production facilities were on track to support the ramp of Model 3 production to 5,000 vehicles per week at some point in 2017.

But the company has failed to meet any of its production and delivery targets for the Model 3 since its splashy event in July 2017 when Musk handed out the first vehicles to employees. Tesla has been struggling with bottlenecks in production, and at one point had to revert to hand-building the cars.

Model 3 production problems first came to light in early October 2017 when Tesla reported it had produced just 260 of its new electric cars in the third quarter and delivered only 220.

Musk, who has repeatedly referred to the Model 3 as “production hell,” has ramped up efforts in recent months in hopes of proving the company can become a high-volume producer of electric vehicles. Musk recently directed the company to erect a giant tent structure at its Fremont, California factory to house another assembly line for the Model 3.

Tesla typically reports production and delivery numbers several days after the end of a quarter. The second quarter ended June 30.

The company still has a lot to prove to customers and shareholders, including showing it can consistently hit the 5,000-per-week number and produce cars without fit and finish issues, a problem that has been noted by new owners.

Tesla recently opened up Model 3 orders to all reservation holders in the U.S. and Canada. The reservation holders, which number in the tens if thousands, were able as of Thursday to long onto the Tesla website and complete their order in the company’s online design studio. For now, reservation holders have three versions of the Model 3 to choose from: long-range 310-mile rear-wheel drive, long-range dual motor all-wheel drive or the performance variant. Delivery estimates will be shown to customers as they make their selection and will depend upon their order date and the vehicle configuration selected.

The elusive standard battery $35,000 variant is not yet an option for customers.

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