Tesla Inc starts production of electricity-producing shingles

Olive Hawkins
January 13, 2018

Tesla's much talked about Model 3 sedan is making its first public appearance in the Bay Area on Friday. The product was first promoted by Tesla, the biggest USA installer of rooftop-solar systems, with installation of the shingles on the homes of several employees and the company now will start installing roofs for customers within the next few months.

The ritzy Palo Alto shopping mall where the Model 3 this week first hit a retail showroom had seen hundreds of people line up in March 2016 when Tesla first began taking orders for the five-seat vehicle, which has a starting price of $35,000 and represents the company's bid to bring electric cars to the mass market.

Along with this milestone, the company reports that it has begun installation of the Solar Roof for "non-employee homeowners", a reference to the pilot projects which were installed on the homes of top executives and other employees.

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. There are about 500 employees working at the site now, Tesla said. That's coming later, the company said in a press release.

The store at the Stanford Shopping Center is one of two locations where the vehicle will be on display.

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

Despite the lag, the company set a sales record for 2017, delivering 101,312 Model S and Model X vehicles alone during the year - the first time Tesla crossed the 100,000-vehicles-sold benchmark in 14 years. Tesla would not disclose how many reservations it had received for the solar roof.

Tesla says it hopes that putting the Model 3 on display at its stores will give customers a chance to experience the auto while they wait to take delivery.

"If we get another date pushback, it'd be disappointing since Elon is constantly over-ambitious", said Lopez, a tech marketer.

Anyone ordering a Model 3 now will receive it in 12 to 18 months, according to Tesla.

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