Musk received the right to buy the first Model 3 as a birthday present.
Tesla is keeping its promise of launching Model 3 production in July. The hotly-anticipated sedan cleared all regulatory requirements for production well ahead of schedule, and the very first example rolled off the assembly line on Friday, July 7.
Company CEO Elon Musk just posted two pictures of the first Model 3 on his personal Twitter account. The images confirm the sedan's design hasn't changed much in its transition to a production model. Details such as the size of the battery pack and performance specifications haven't been made public yet.
Painted black, the first Model 3 will join Musk's garage. He explained serial number one was supposed to end up in the hands of entrepreneur Ira Ehrenpreis because he was the first person to put down a full deposit. However, he gave the top spot to Musk last month as a birthday present.
Tesla announced the first owners will receive the keys to their brand-new electric car during a launch event taking place on July 28th, though we suspect Musk won't have to wait three weeks before hitting the road.
Like we previously reported, the first examples of the Model 3 will be allocated to reservation holders who work for Tesla or SpaceX, another company owned by Musk. He expects his employees will be more tolerant of the issues that can plague a car early on in the production run than regular, unbiased customers coming from Mercedes-Benz or Audi.
To simplify the production process, the 3 will be available in less than 100 configurations during its first few months on the market. The main options will be paint colors, wheel designs, and upholstery choices. In contrast, there are about 1,500 ways to spec a Model S.
Another concession made in the name of simplicity is that early cars will only be offered with a single, rear-wheel drive powertrain. All-wheel drive won't be added until next year. The Model 3 is Tesla's make-or-break model, and the company wants to avoid costly delays at all costs.
Musk expects to build just 30 examples of the Model 3 this month. However, he predicts production will grow "exponentially." Tesla will manufacture 100 Model 3s in August, over 1,500 units in September, and it will cross the 20,000-car mark in December. Still, most reservation holders won't get their cars until 2018 at the earliest.