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Grant Gerke writes about manufacturing, factory and plant automation, packaging, electric cars and renewables for business and consumer media sites.

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Wednesday
Aug262015

Tesla Model X Production Delay Coming

A Model X "mule" spotted on the road in California last Spring. As the traditional summer calendar comes to end, some Tesla Model X reservation holders are still holding on to the belief that September will trigger high-volume production madness for the much-awaited electric vehicle. However, that hope may be fleeting for the simple fact that reservation holders don’t have final vehicle specifications or pricing as of Wed., August 25. 

A newish thread on the Tesla Motors Club board addresses this very issue. A recent commenter and Model S owner posted:

"It was two months between when I finalized my S order and took delivery. Without an official announcement of X's specs and options, I don't get how they could expect early X reservation holders to choose their X configuration quickly enough for the factory to have enough time to fill those orders before September is gone. Unless TM releases specs and options soon (it's already second half of August), substantial deliveries in September seem to be evaporating."

Plus, I wrote a post for Teslarati a couple of weeks ago about the lack of confirmed component suppliers for the Model X, via excellent reporting from John Voelcker. The Green Car Reports veteran journalist estimates that late November or December would be the earliest for full-on Model X production. 

>> Find more posts on EVs and Tesla Motors by Grant Gerke at Teslarati.com and follow me on Twitter: @autogrant

So, Tesla is sculpting a nice narrative on the possible Model X production delays as we head into September: 1) the car components bottleneck and 2) a recent story from Bloomberg on the automaker’s retail store makeover. Dana Hull, at Bloomberg, pointed out in the article that “Tesla has moved beyond tech-savvy early adopters to a more mainstream audience, customer education about electric drive is key.”

With the recent hire of ex-Burberry, now Tesla VP at Tesla Motors, Ganesh Srivats, retail stores being updated for the Model X rollout. Srivats was just hired this summer and the Model X is a great opportunity for Tesla to get in front of a wide swath of consumers. Plus, the albeit certain production delay may be good holiday timing for Tesla Motors.

Plus, Elon Musk has stated that the quality needs to come first with this release. Smart move, he's playing with house money and the anti-EV lobby is ready to pounce on any misfire. Remember, those Model S fires.

Anyway, it's interesting to see the resiliency of Model X reservation holders. There's not much anger on these discussion boards, just a little disappointment.

Here's to getting it right, Elon. 

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