Elon Musk has said in the past that he wants the Tesla Model 3 to be "different from any other car on the road." But to avoid the production delays that have affected the Model X SUV, Tesla is going to start with a more simple Model 3 and then expand the line into a range of products.
During tonight's Q&A about Tesla's fourth quarter financials, Musk said that the first version of its $35,000 sedan "won't be the most adventurous version of the Model 3 to begin with."
"We don't want the delays that affected the Model X to affect the Model 3," said Musk, describing some of the issues it's had with the SUV's Falcon Wing doors.
Instead, Musk said that Tesla plans to focus on getting the 3 to market in 2017, "and then innovate on that platform with future iterations and put aside any schedule or volume [concerns]." That's a similar tack it's taken with the Model X, using the Model S platform and drivetrain to develop its SUV.
Musk describes the Model 3 as a "mass-market premium car", and by going with a "super crazy design" (Musk's words) that could put off high volume production by as much as a year.
Musk also mentioned during the call that the Model X won't debut until deliveries begin, and that there are "some other things about the X that people don't know about yet." He also said that, "we can make the model S go 400 miles today just by increasing the pack range," but that's not in the cards anytime soon.