Tesla: Model 3 Update - What To Look For

Feb. 21, 2017 7:52 PM ETTesla, Inc. (TSLA)312 Comments
Randy Carlson profile picture
Randy Carlson


  • Tesla will release earnings this week and will likely tell or show us more about their Model 3 car. Some Model 3 details could greatly impact company success.
  • Battery chemistry improvements from modest to spectacular have been reported by Tesla and others. What we learn about Model 3 may tell us how Tesla/Panasonic are doing.
  • At Model 3 introduction, the car was missing an external charging port. The location and design of the charge port may tell us something about Tesla's SuperCharger plans.
  • Some form of Head Up Display is anticipated for Model 3. How the HUD is implemented may tell us something interesting about the Tesla/Panasonic relationship.
  • Looking carefully at what Tesla describes or shows about Model 3 may tell a lot about costs, business strategy, market success and the Tesla/Panasonic relationship.

Tesla (NASDAQ:NASDAQ:TSLA) will announce earnings and possibly tell us a bit more about their coming Model 3 car, its features, its schedule, its costs and its reservation holders. What we learn about Model 3 may be more important to the future of the company and more important to the prosperity of Tesla shareholders than any backward-looking financial results.

Many argue that focus toward the future while ignoring the financial past places shareholders in a state of capitalistic sin, but such is the world of optimistic Tesla investors. Those who have based their Tesla strategy on the axiom that "if news about Tesla isn't bad, then it isn't true" have suffered of late, bringing the axiom itself into question among mainstream investors. Without belaboring the possibilities to be seen in Tesla's financial results, other than to observe that they won't matter much, let's consider three things we may learn about Tesla's Model 3 that actually will matter to the stock price.

The Floor of Model 3

By noticing how thick is the floor of Model 3, we can learn something about how good are the GigaFactory battery cells.

The floors of Model S/X are thick - 4 inches (100mm) or so - because Tesla has arranged the battery cells vertically, and the 18650 cells are 65mm long. When the wiring, module packaging, supporting structure, under-battery armor plate, cabin floor, sound insulation, carpet are all added, the floor gets pretty thick. The thick floors of the Model S/X result in seating position less commodious than it might otherwise be.

Tesla will use their new "2170" cells coming from the GigaFactory in the Model 3. These cells are 21mm in diameter and 70mm long - slightly longer than the 18650 cells used in Model S/X. If these cells are packaged vertically for the Model 3, as they are for Model

This article was written by

Randy Carlson profile picture
I am an engineer and long time technical consultant specializing in control and instrumentation systems for medical, industrial, vehicle and aerospace companies. The technical, cultural, market, regulatory and other factors that separate successful products and companies from their peers has fascinated me for many years. My investment experience is limited to my own accounts.

Disclosure: I am/we are long TSLA. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: These writings about the technical aspects of Tesla, its cars, manufacturing, technology, markets, competitors and the like are intended to stimulate awareness and discussion of these issues. Investors should view my work in this light and seek other competent technical advice on the subject issues before making investment decisions.

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