Tesla says solar roof production has started in Buffalo

REUTERS  Kim Kyung-HoonA man looks around Tesla Motors Model S P85 at its showroom in Beijing

The first ones are showing up at Tesla's California retail locations in the Los Angeles suburb of Century City, and Palo Alto in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Part of the reason for the relatively slow rollout of the solar roof tiles is that the company's focus in recent months has been on resolving the Model 3 production bottleneck.

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.

In a lot of ways, the debut of the Model 3 at both the Stanford and Century showrooms is an incredibly favorable sign for Tesla and its ever-growing consumer base. By actively featuring the Model 3 in two of its showrooms in California, Tesla seems to be making a very bold statement - one that suggests that the company is now confident it can scale the compact electric car's production to address the overwhelming demand for the vehicle. That's coming later, the company said in a press release.

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


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.

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". "When production of the solar roof begins, Tesla will also incorporate Panasonic's cells into the many kinds of solar glass tile roofs that Tesla will be manufacturing".

The Model 3 is Tesla's first offering in the entry level luxury segment.

At that time, Tesla said the product could be rolled out as soon as the summer of 2017. University of MI researchers have just published a report concluding that across the US, the average annual cost of fueling a gas-powered vehicle is $1,117, while power for an electric vehicle costs $485.

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