What are some compromises Tesla made with the Model 3?

"To compromise is to make a deal between different parties where each party gives up part of their demand."

Corporations express their demand in the form of a mission statement. Tesla's mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.

Tesla's masterplan positions the Model 3 as a cornerstone vehicle, meant to be the mass-market electric vehicle. In other words, the goal here is to distribute as many Model3s as possible. Profits are a secondary but a necessary component to operationally achieve Tesla's mission.

Tesla compromised with the Model 3 whenever it made design choices that lowers the slope on cumulative units sold over time. This slope is a function of demand and supply, where well designed features lead to an increase in demand, while cash invested into cost reduction increase supply.

One candidate for compromise is the decision to engineer it to be by far the safest passenger car. Making it the safest car "by a little" would have been sufficient to make it desirable to safety conscious consumers. However, Tesla went further to make it as safe as it can without turning its head back to look at how far ahead it already is compared to competing cars.

As indicated in Sandy Munro's teardown, there were multiple examples that are considered "unnecessary and wasteful" by legacy car manufacturers. It is clear that this increased costs and decreased profits, thereby lowering available capital that could have been used to accelerate the company.

Although it sounds odd to be critical of excellent passive safety designs. It appears to be more of an engineering hubris to push the envelope on safety, and thus compromising their mission.

That said, I can't quantify how much money Tesla would have saved by cutting cost on safety (prolly not a lot). Since Tesla has numerous other low hanging fruits to save costs on, it was probably wise to overachieve on safety.

IMO, the Model 3 was designed perfectly for its intention.


Until and unless the Model 3's is released and tested hands on, it is very difficult to talk of the compromises made.
There were many  speculations the things Tesla Model 3 would compromise which would enable them to get the math right, a few of them were :
a) It was believed that the autopilot safety feature would be scrapped out of model 3, but in the launch event Elon mentioned  that Model 3 comes with the Autopilot safety system for every variant of the car and it would not be an optional feature in some high end variants as some were speculating about. Kudos team Tesla!!
b) It was believed that to cut the cost of the car, the batteries used would be cut down which would reduce the range of the car. It seems to be right since the range promised when compared to that of Model S has come down by 55 miles (~90 Km).
c) Performance : Yes the performance when compared to other variants of Tesla is a little bad, Model S accelerates from 0- 100 kmph in about 2.7 seconds whereas it was said that Model 3 would do the same in about 6 seconds . So there are some serious differences between the Model 3 and Tesla's other variants.
d) Availability of Supercharging facilities were also questioned and the good news is that supercharging facilities are available for Model 3 .
e) Model S comes with additional
We will certainly have to wait and watch till some reliable numbers comes out of reliable sources.
Hoping that there aren't much of compromises made and that this would be a new start to the era of electric cars.


Few things, mostly just speculating:

  1. A Tesla employee told me that the Model 3 is primarily steel instead of all aluminum (like the Model S). This negatively affects the maximum possible range because steel is ~2.5x heavier than aluminum.
  2. The car is 20% smaller than a Model S, which presumably reduces the material cost by somewhere up to 1/5th.
  3. I've heard that the margin on a Model S is 30%, so I imagine that Tesla is making a smaller margin on the Model 3 than the S and X.
  4. Fewer premium features and a lower quality interior.

That gets you down 30-40% relative to the cost of the Model S.

Then: Economies of scale in car and battery manufacturing (w/ the gigafactory). They have 232k preorders now (link), which is more cars than Audi sold in 2014.

Other people probably know more about this stuff than I do, I'm mostly just spitballing here.


In order to offer the seamless panoramic roof-to-rear window glass, they severely compromised the trunk access, which I hope they fix for production.

I caught Elon's pitch that it helps the headroom in the back seat and whatnot, so that would need to be addressed via placement of the hinge line or adjustment of the car's lines through that region, but my suggestion has two main benefits:

  1. While not nearly as difficult as the falcon wing doors that delayed the Model X delivery, this expansive rear glass is something different that *could* factor into the production ramp up.
  2. Please put the hinge line in there and provide a hatchback like the Model S! The current trunk lid doesn't offer proper access to the trunk. It's no fun to see some of the media call that a design fail, but I pretty much have to agree.

I agree with Richard And add a few things

  1. steel is cheaper than aluminum
  2. smaller cars-less material and lowered cost of materials
  3. smaller profit margins on smaller cars
  4. Less luxury and amenities
  5. Smaller battery and gigafactory to lower batter cost
  6. economies of scale to reduce cost
  7. reusing some of the R&D from design and manufacturing of model S
  8. sunk cost of factory already in existence- money from the pre-orders helps pay for the new tools
  9. R&D from robotic manufacturing from model S robotics
  10. Larger, discounted sourcing of raw materials All the extra percentages add up. I'm sure there's more

  1. There aren't as many options, allowing the car to be simplified and manufactured more efficiently.
  2. The car is smaller.
  3. Less Aluminum and more steel
  4. Internet connectivity for entertainment and satellite map images are extra-cost options.
  5. All-wheel drive is an extra cost option
  6. One display screen instead of two.
  7. Fewer dedicated buttons and fewer control stalks
  8. No key fob
  9. Half the cargo space

But on the other side, the Tesla Model 3 is much more energy efficient than the other Tesla cars and it's easier to park.


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