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Elon Musk on Tesla Model 3: ‘Let’s keep our Model 3 powder dry on announcements’

Tesla Model 3 silver prototype promo shot headlands

As previously reported, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was at the Gigafactory in Nevada yesterday for an investor event. The CEO reportedly discussed progress made at the battery plant and officially confirmed that Tesla plans to bring more than battery pack manufacturing to the plant.

During the event, Musk also hinted at upcoming announcements about the Model 3.

According to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, who was present at the event, Musk refused to answer questions about the Model 3, but he did hint at new announcements when pressed about Tesla’s upcoming all-electric sedan:

“Let’s keep our Model 3 powder dry on announcements”, he said according to Jonas.

Keeping the Powder Dry is of course an idiom for ‘keeping ready for an action at a moment’s notice.’

The CEO had previously mentioned that the company aims to hold another unveiling event (Part 3) for the vehicle during the first quarter 2017.

The Model 3 prototypes unveiled in March 2016 were considered “Pre-Alpha” prototypes. As of September, Tesla hadn’t completed the Beta prototypes of the Model 3 yet. The main thing expected for the “part 3” of the unveil is the actual final production design of the vehicle – especially its mysterious interior.

Following the event at the Gigafactory yesterday, Jonas reiterated an ‘equal-weight’ rating on Tesla’s stock with a price target of $242.00. He issued the following note:

Model 3 milestones should dominate 2017. We currently expect a later launch than consensus, but we also expect a better car. Elon Musk was asked to provide any update on the Model 3 ramp and timing. According to Mr. Musk, they feel ‘pretty good’ about the pace of progress at the Gigafactory which manufactures the Model 3 battery pack, electric motor, drivetrain and power electronics. He did highlight the riskiest components as some of the long lead items such as stamping dies for the body panels and the seats. Mr. Musk didn’t want to comment much more on Model 3 saying “let’s keep our Model 3 powder dry on announcements,” alluding to a fair number of surprises and developments in the capabilities of the car that they will update the market on in due time. In our opinion, we believe Elon Musk is referring to step function improvements in autonomy, further unveiling of additional body styles and new business models for transportation both within and between cities in an expansion of their mobility network infrastructure.

The new tidbit of information about the stamping dies for body panels and the seats being the most at risk components is interesting. Keep in mind that Jonas has been guiding for the past few months that the Model 3, which Tesla aims to bring to market by the end of the year, will be late.

Of course, the biggest news to come out of the event yesterday was the announcement that Tesla and Panasonic started mass production of battery cells at the Gigafactory.

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