As Tesla heads towards its earlier-than-expected Q3 2018 earnings call, the company’s Model 3 production ramp continues to show signs that it is going smoothly. Just yesterday, Tesla registered another large batch of 4,500 new Model 3 VINs, all of which appear to be RWD versions of the electric sedan. With this new batch, Tesla has registered a total of 156,129 Model 3 VINs to date. Tesla had also registered 38,211 Model 3 since the beginning of October, setting up the company for what could very well be a record month in terms of new Model 3 VIN registrations.
— Model 3 VINs (@Model3VINs) October 22, 2018
Tesla’s new Model 3 VIN filings come at a time when the company is pushing the electric car’s newest variant — the Mid Range Model 3 RWD — to reservation holders. Musk seems to have teased the vehicle on the social media platform a day before it was officially announced, stating that a “lemur” was coming. Neither Tesla nor Elon Musk has announced the reasons behind the lemur reference, though the little primate might be a clever play on the LEMR variation of the electric car (Limited Edition Mid Range, perhaps?).
Considering that the Mid Range RWD variant is a vehicle that puts Tesla one step closer to the $35,000 Standard trim Model 3, the new electric car variant could very well see a lot of demand. The Mid Range Model 3 RWD currently has an estimated delivery time of 6-10 weeks, after all, which would allow buyers to take delivery of the vehicle at a time when Tesla’s full $7,500 Federal Tax Credit is still in full effect. Taking the $7,500 tax credit and estimated gas savings into account, Tesla’s Mid Range Model 3 RWD has an estimated cost of ownership in the $33,200 range.
Tesla’s decision to offer a Mid Range variant to the Model 3 could be seen as a strategic move by the electric car maker. The vehicle, after all, takes advantage of its remaining $7,500 federal tax credit to lower the vehicle’s total cost of ownership. Elon Musk’s later tweets also revealed that the introduction of the new electric car variant would likely not weigh down the Model 3 production ramp either, as the Mid Range Model 3 RWD uses the same battery pack as the Long Range RWD version, albeit with fewer battery cells.
It’s a long range battery with fewer cells. Non-cell portion of the pack is disproportionately high, but we can get it done now instead of ~February
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 18, 2018
The Mid Range Model 3 RWD represents a $4,000 price savings from the Long Range RWD variant that starts at $49,000 before incentives. There are some performance compromises with the Mid Range Model 3 RWD, though, in the form of a 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds, a top speed of 125 mph, and a driving range of 260 miles per charge. In comparison, the Long Range Model 3 RWD has a 5.1-second 0-60 time, a top speed of 140 mph, and a range of 310 miles per charge.
The introduction of the Mid Range Model 3 RWD could ultimately be a way for Tesla to boost its production and delivery numbers further this Q4. The company set the bar high in Q3 with its record deliveries and production figures, after all, and it would take even more impressive numbers for the company to become profitable in the fourth quarter. With this in mind, the Mid Range Model 3 RWD could very well be the catalyst for Tesla’s profitability this Q4, due to its potential to attract budget-conscious reservation holders waiting for low-cost versions of the vehicle.
Tesla has announced that it would be holding its Q3 earnings call on Wednesday, October 24, 2018. The live Q&A session is set for 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time (6:30 p.m. Eastern Time) to accommodate requests from several analysts.