Tesla Model 3
Tesla Motors' mass-market Model 3 electric cars are seen in this handout picture from Tesla Motors on March 31, 2016. Reuters/Tesla Motors/Handout

If latest reports are to be believed, Tesla will start building pre-production versions of Model 3 in a few weeks. It will launch the US$35,000 (AU$46,000 approx) mass market sedan in late 2017 and begin attending to the 400,000 pre-orders through 2018. Some auto experts believe that Tesla is on track to launch the Model 3 ahead of schedule. The test builds for the electric vehicle will begin on Feb. 20. If the automaker is able to organise its supply chain and gets the required parts, initial production will begin in July.

According to Business Insider, test builds are mighty important for the carmaker to refine the Tesla Model 3 design, eliminate quality control issues and also demonstrate whether CEO Elon Musk will be able to meet pre-orders, and even push for the 500,000-per-year run rate by 2018 with a simpler design, Forbes noted. Even though all these vehicles won’t be Model 3s, a chunk of Tesla's future manufacturing capacity, will consist of this EV. As far as Tesla’s roadmap is concerned, people will be able to see the prototype undergoing real-world road trials by March and April.

Tesla, in order to assure customers that Tesla Model 3 is very much on track, will have to place production version of the vehicles at Tesla stores. Moreover, several Model 3 vehicles will have to be given to the government for crash testing. Latest reports have revealed that instead of a fourth quarter launch, a third quarter launch of the Tesla Model 3 is also a big possibility. However, a complete overview of the features and performance, may only be available when the first batch of the EVs hit the market.

Tesla’s manufacturing process will become simpler for Model 3 as the company will use steel and not aluminium in construction, unlike the Model S and X. The automaker won’t be using a battery or powertrain setup, substantially different from Model S and X and every Model 3 will come with Enhanced Autopilot hardware. Production at scale most likely won’t occur until mid-2018. Thus, fans should not expect to see 100,000 EVS at first. Only a few thousand vehicles may exit the Fremont factory in 2017.

Moreover, Musk knows that a sped-up Model 3 production will have immense effect on Tesla’s stock price. It can even send Tesla above the US$40 billion (AU$53 billion approx) market cap. Stay tuned on IBT AU for more updates on Tesla Model 3.