Elon Musk is having an up-and-down year.
Tesla’s Model 3 nabbed around 400,000 pre-orders even though Tesla vehicles have been crashing themselves. Hey, at least they’re not exploding into smithereens like his Space-X rockets!
Despite the magnificent fireworks display, Musk says his plans to colonize Mars are six years ahead of schedule, and he plans to reach the red planet sometime in 2018. Are you buying it? I’m not.
Musk is a brilliant visionary but he’s not known for staying on schedule, even terrestrially.
His Gigafactory 1 was supposed to be producing lithium-ion batteries for the Model 3 this year. Now it looks like production will be pushed back until 2017. That doesn’t bode well for the scheduled 2017 release of the Model 3. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it pushed into 2018.
Musk should do everything in his power to ensure the public remains enamored with Teslas because the competition is set to heat up. Not only has BMW released its first electric car (the i3), but the Chinese are going green with BYD’s e6 and LeEco’s LeSEE. Nissan and Fiat have also grab some market share with their Leaf and 500e, respectively.
Tesla’s new autopilot system better eliminate the fatalities, at least.
Odds the Tesla Model 3 release will be delayed into 2018: 3/7
It was already slated for “late 2017” so any delays could see the calendar turnover.
Over/under on the number of Model 3 pre-sales by the end of 2016: 425,000
It’s hovering around 400,000 at the moment. The release of the new autopilot could see a small push, but that number isn’t going to balloon, not with the negative press that Tesla has experienced of late.
Odds Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 is operational in 2017: 1/3
The push-back to 2017 already puts it behind schedule. I don’t expect a whole other calendar year to elapse without seeing some hot lithium-ion action. But stranger things have happened with Elon, much stranger things.
Over/under on the number of Tesla autopilot crashes that receive media attention in 2017: 1.5
The new autopilot system relies on radar instead of cameras. Apparently it would have avoided the first fatal accident down in Florida. But that doesn’t mean it will be flawless, and more and more self-driving vehicles will be on the road as the months go by.
Odds Elon Musk starts his Mars colony in 2018: 99/1
I’ll believe it when I see it.
Photo credit: OnInnovation (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/].
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