On Tuesday, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO will take the stage at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., for the electric-car maker's 2015 shareholder meeting. If the annual meeting plays out anything like it did last year, Musk will give a brief presentation with some updates on Tesla's business and then field questions from shareholders.
While the topics covered during next week's meeting will likely vary widely, including progress on construction of the Gigafactory, an update on demand for the Model S, and a look back at Model S features launched in the last 12 months (Tesla announced dual motor and advanced autopilot last October and a 70 kilowatt hour entry-level battery for the Model S in April), one topic will likely stand above the rest: Tesla's plans for entirely new vehicles.
Today, virtually all of Tesla's revenue is derived from sales of the Model S, the company's luxury sedan. However, as Tesla's business grows and it continues to invest aggressively in production capacity that won't always be the case. Two new models are on the way: The Model X and the Model 3.
Is the Model X on schedule?
When Tesla first unveiled the prototype for the Model X, the company planned on launching the fully electric sport utility vehicle in late 2013. Two years later, the SUV has been delayed a handful of times and still hasn't been brought to market.
You can bet the pressure is on. Because Tesla began taking pre-orders for the Model X in 2013, some customers have been waiting years. Even more, Model X pre-orders require a deposit of $5,000 in the U.S., so some customers have already made a sizable monetary investment in their new vehicle. Tesla said in its fourth-quarter 2014 quarterly letter to shareholders that it entered the year with over 20,000 Model X pre-orders on its books.
In its last update on the Model X schedule, the company said it would finally allow customers with pre-orders to begin configuring their vehicle specs in July. Furthermore, Tesla said it expected to begin delivering the vehicle to customers in September.
Any new details on the Model 3?
Tesla only sells its $75,000 plus-priced Model S today, and the Model X won't be any cheaper. But it has always been the company's mission to use the gross profit from its premium-priced vehicles to help build a more affordable vehicle.
And Tesla has been doing just that. The primary purpose for the under-construction $5 billion Gigafactory in Nevada is to provide the battery production needed for the expected higher demand for a Tesla vehicle with a significantly lower price point.
Tesla calls this more affordable vehicle the Model 3.
With 2017 (the planned launch year for the Model 3) fast approaching, shareholders will be hoping for an update on the vehicle's early development progress, as well as management's most up-to-date timeline for bringing the car to market.
For now, here's what Tesla has said:
- The vehicle will be about 20% smaller than the Model S.
- To help reduce costs of production, Tesla might use mostly steel for the body, as opposed to the Model S' primarily aluminum body.
- Driving range will exceed 200 miles.
- The car will cost $35,000 before any benefit from tax credits.
- A Model 3 prototype may be shown to the public for the first time by March of next year.
Tune into a live broadcast of the event on Tesla's website at 2 p.m. PDT Tuesday.
Daniel Sparks owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.