Tesla Inc starts production of electricity-producing shingles

Sollar Roof from SolarCity

Tesla announced last week that it would slash Model 3 production targets in half for the first quarter of 2018.

Starting from tomorrow, Tesla's Stanford Mall in Palo Alto and its Century City Mall in Los Angeles will become the company's first two retail locations to have a Model 3 on display.

Tesla is starting to bring production versions of its mass-market Model 3 electric sedan to retail stores as customer deliveries begin.

Tesla held a private Model 3 viewing at the showroom Thursday night for existing Tesla owners. There are about 500 employees working at the site now, Tesla said.

In the Stanford Shopping Center showroom, the single vehicle on display is a $50,000 premium version with add-ons including a long-range battery allowing for an estimated 310-mile range, compared to the 210 miles for the basic auto.

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It's no secret Tesla has encountered some Model 3 production challenges in the early going.

Since the vehicle first hit the market, almost a half million cars have been reserved, according to Tesla, but far, far fewer have hit the roads, thanks to production problems.

It also follows on comments back in November from Tesla CEO Elon Musk that the product was being put through a half-year testing program before full deployment, and that "it just takes a little while to get this behemoth rolling". For the longest time, the company had been anti-selling the Model 3, comparing it less favorably to the Model S, and emphasizing the long wait associated with the more affordable vehicle. Tesla has stated that it began manufacturing Solar Roof tiles last month at its gigafactory in Buffalo, New York.

Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk pushed the company's anti-selling efforts towards the mass market auto, explicitly reminding customers that the Model 3, despite being the newest vehicle in Tesla's lineup, does not feature superior features compared to its larger, more expensive siblings.

New research on the fuel costs of electric vehicles may help push consumers toward plug-and-drive cars such as the Model 3.

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