Sources claim the first trial run is scheduled for February 20, days ahead of Tesla's Q4 earnings release.Tesla is reportedly less than two weeks away from building its first Model 3 pre-production units.
Most analysts have voiced skepticism over the company's promise to begin building final production cars as early as July. Any delays could spark frustration among the more than 370,000 customers who have already placed a deposit in the new car.
The company recently confirmed plans to temporarily halt Model S and Model X production this month at its Fremont factory. The week-long shutdown will allow technicians to retool the line for Model 3 production.
Sources tell Reuters the first pre-production units are scheduled to begin the assembly process as early as February 20. Perhaps not coincidentally, Tesla will report its Q4 financial performance just a few days later.
To be clear, transitioning from the pre-production stage to volume assembly could take many months or longer as Tesla refines its manufacturing processes and works out any unexpected problems. Even after lengthy delays, the company continued to face production glitches with the Model S and Model X after the first customers received the vehicles.
The company has set an extremely ambitious goal of delivering a half million cars annually by 2018.