Tesla Motors held its quarterly conference call yesterday for its fourth-quarter and 2015 full-year financial results, and some of the numbers weren't great.
But for eager buyers and Tesla advocates, the most important news concerned the upcoming Model 3, the company's third generation of electric car.
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Long promised to deliver 200 miles at a starting price of $35,000 before incentives, we now know incrementally more about the Model 3 rollout than we did 24 hours ago.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the Model 3 will be unveiled by the end of next month, although he didn't specifically say that would happen March 31, as some reports have assumed.
And, he reiterated that the new vehicle will go into production by the end of next year:
We're really looking forward to the unveiling of the Model 3 at the end of next month. I think this is going to be really well received, and then getting into production and delivery at the end of next year.
In regard to an analyst's question on what, exactly, will be revealed about the Model 3 at the end of March, Musk responded:
Yeah, we're trying to decide whether we should show all the cards or keep a few cards close to the vest, I haven't made decision yet.
Whatever it reveals next month, however, the company believes that will be sufficient to let potential buyers decide whether they want to put down a deposit on the future car.
Very late last night, Musk tweeted:
Model 3 reservations ($1000 down) will be accepted in Tesla stores on March 31 and online April 1.
Musk later noted that the company expects the first versions of the Model 3 that are delivered to be "relatively highly optioned versions."
That would follow the company's approach to both the Model S and Model X, in which it delivered the most expensive "Founder's Series" cars first, at six-figure prices.
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Jason Wheeler, Tesla's new chief financial officer, noted that investments in a new paint shop at the assembly plant in Fremont, California, will give the company the capacity it needs "all the way through Model 3."
Musk clarified that the updated paint-shop capacity would take the company up to production of 10,000 units a week.
Based on its latest projections, Tesla hopes to reach an average of 1,600 to 1,800 cars per week sometime during the course of this year.
A full transcript of the Tesla Motors Q4-2015 financial-results conference call can be read here.
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