On Saturday, Elon Musk officially took the first step toward the full-scale launch of the Tesla Model 3. The CEO handed over the keys to the first 30 Model 3 vehicles to employees, and more deliveries are expected progressively in the coming weeks and months.

The Model 3 marks a significant milestone for Tesla and Musk, who have been on track to make this dream a reality for almost ten years now. The new vehicle is focused on affordability and mass production, without neglecting the cutting-edge design and technology that made the Model S and X a hit.

There are quite a few challenges ahead for Tesla, mostly internal but also competitive. The Model 3 has to prove its worth without diminishing its brothers, while Tesla as a whole has to crawl back up to the first spot of the most valuable automakers in America list.

‘Production hell’ awaits Tesla factories

Elon Musk noted that “for at least six months, maybe longer,” Tesla workers will be in “production hell” as they try to get up to speed with the demand and promised deliveries, which amount to more than 500,000 right now.

As a mass production vehicle, the designers and engineers of Tesla had to work around a solution that could both make the car just as efficient and safe as the others, but also way easier to assemble than any other in the market.

With this in mind, the company took a quite revolutionary decision: do away with the instrument panel entirely and go for a simple, yet versatile central console. This means there is no speedometer or tachometer on top of the steering wheel, and that all signals and issues with the car will come up on the touchscreen display.

The Model 3 has to be successful, but not too much

Starting at $35,000, the Model 3 will also be offered for $44,000 with a series of enhancements, and additional improvements can end up ramping the price up to more than $50,000 for customers who so desire it.

Even at its most expensive price, the Model 3 would still cost half as the average Model X and S go for nowadays. The two luxury models might be threatened by the arrival of their own entry-level brother, and investors are wary about what this could mean internally.

Tesla has to manage to meet the ever-increasing demand for the new vehicle, while also keeping the high-end sedan and SUV attractive enough to their market tier. This challenge might prove difficult since most reviewers agree that drivers can get the same ‘Tesla experience’ out of the recently debuted car.

In August, Elon Musk intends to produce 100 Model 3 units, but by the end of the year, these numbers will go up to 5,000 units per week if everything goes according to the executive’s master plan. Additional Gigafactories are also being built to handle the excess demand for batteries to power the cars.

Source: Tesla