Should Tesla “show all the cards”?

The company says it’s debating how much to reveal about Model III at the March 31 debut. Show all the cards, or hold a few close to the vest? TeslaMondo figures there’s a one percent chance it has sufficient information to weigh in on this question. That means there’s a chance! So here goes.

Unfortunately, the central question triggers a bunch of little questions, so this gets complicated pretty fast.

First question: Are we talking about physical features or invisible features, e.g. autonomous abilities? Seems Tesla couldn’t possibly show us a hard and shiny Model III only to physically change it during the brief incubation period between concept and production. But this begs the next question . . .

Second question: Will Tesla show us an actual car, or just images? If we see only images, it seems more possible that Tesla has something up its sleeve that affects appearance.

Third question: Will Tesla stay true to its credo about production cars adhering to the concepts? Look at Model S and Model X. How much really changed during their long incubation periods between concept and production? Almost nothing. WhiteStar looks so much like Model S that to this day, the dingdong press sometimes uses WhiteStar images with current Model S articles. Model X lost its nose cone but little else changed. The panoramic roof surprised us only because we failed to notice it until months before production. It was hiding in plain sight. In sum, Tesla bravely showed all of its cards with the S and X. Full frontal nude scenes, without any strategically-placed potted plants.

So, yes or no? Reveal all or not? Hang on a minute.

Tesla’s show-all bravery didn’t carry much risk when it had the premium EV space all to itself. But now Tesla is no longer just a billionaire’s wet dream. Model S is stealing everyone’s lunch money. Tesla now dominates automotive “mind share,” and everyone salivates over that. Wanna bet that Big Auto has an array of concepts under wraps, and will choose which to unveil only after seeing Model III? With cash-rich rivals absolutely rapt this time around, and with precious little time for Model III to mutate between concept and production, a full frontal nude scene makes Tesla quite vulnerable.

So, show all? Or grab a potted plant?

No. It should show only what’s necessary to fill the order books. If they fill as quickly as we’re all expecting, and Tesla still has “one in the chamber,” all the better. Tesla could even start building the III without using all of its ammo. If/when demand wanes or competition threatens, BANG!

Yes. It should inflict maximum harm on, say, the Re-Volt. Show the world that once again, Tesla is years ahead of the smelly, shaggy auto mammoths. Reverse the “Look out Tesla” headlines. Make them read “Look out everyone else.” Use the short Model III incubation to full advantage. By the time the mammoths can react with their concepts, Tesla will already have Model IIIs burning gas. So to speak.

TeslaMondo’s position:

Tesla should show the minimum necessary to trigger orders, and that’s not much. This assumes the cloaked features are standard equipment across the entire Model III range. If we’re talking instead about some sort of James Bond “gotta have it” option that affects only high-end versions, then a belated introduction could trigger an upheaval, as people try to change their orders. Not good. Tesla needs to pull off this product launch smoothly. The sooner Tesla knows the desired product mix, the better it can strategize the rollout. So Tesla should employ suspense, but not at the risk of delaying or complicating the most important automotive launch since the Prius. The second-generation Prius, that is. The oft-forgotten first one deserves to be oft-forgotten.

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7 thoughts on “Should Tesla “show all the cards”?

  1. Brian says:

    No. I don’t think so. People should expect to be very pleased!

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  2. Timmy says:

    I agree, show most but not all. The most important intangible that I would like to know however, is if Supercharger access will be included in the base/$35k model, and if not, how much extra it will be. Sorry if I missed this somewhere and it is well known.

    ps. // Grammar police: you mean affects appearance in the “Second answer”. 😉

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  3. RWF says:

    Thanks. Ongoing struggle with browsers and WordPress spell/grammar check.

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  4. Tony says:

    It is clearly a difficult question as even Elon has recently said they are still trying to decide how much to show. I would say that if their mission is truly to accelerate EV adoption, the more they show the better…assuming they feel they can stick closer to the targeted release date this time than with the Model S and Model X. Most other automakers are likely still in denial, skeptical, and being dragged to the EV game kicking and screaming as witnessed by their lame attempts at EVs so far. If the Model 3 can be released by end of 2017, automakers will not react in time to compete. If they do, then great, more options to make customers aware of EVs and likely an increase in sales for all offerings.

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  5. Purrpullberra says:

    I think Tesla should release a few drawings or pictures showing off lots of features like (what I hope is) a sparse interior and a huge touchscreen. Especially showing a regular door and regular windshield. I think the most important thing Tesla can try to impart to the public is that the Model3 isn’t some moonshot-project, that their intentions are all well grounded in today’s realities.
    They have to get away from the decidedly high-end features Tesla has been lauded for/mocked about so far.
    Show that the car is a regular sort of vehicle with the best features of a ModelS distilled down ~20%. Show that it’s supremely build-able. Keep the special features and neat software that’s planned for Model3 secret and let that info trickle out over the next 18 months. Show a physical car at next year’s LA auto show maybe, China maybe.

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  6. […] SHOULD TESLA “SHOW ALL THE CARDS”? […]

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