latest automotive news, best new and used cars, find a new car 73d84_Screen-Shot-2017-08-08-at-3.58.07-PM-e1502222455368-610x318 You Can’t Have an EV for the Masses That Loses Money Tesla

Not without a profitable company, anyway. And Tesla, despite its promise to end the year in a cash-positive state, is not that company. Not yet.

After rolling out a dual-motor Model 3 and its Performance sibling in July, the average retail price of Tesla’s “most affordable” electric car is only going up, frustrating would-be owners waiting for the $35,000 base model. That stripped-down trim won’t appear until the beginning of next year.

When it does, however, Tesla stands to lose nearly $6,000 per vehicle, one investment bank claims.

According to Consumer Affairs (via Jalopnik), a UBS tear-down of a Model 3 yielded serious quality issues, mirroring what some owners have complained about on internet forums. The bank also stated that each Model 3 Tesla sells will only cost it money.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated in the past that production of big-bucks Model 3 variants is essential for the preservation of the company. Without those models, his vision of an EV for the masses becomes a pipe dream. UBS estimates that each $35,000 Model 3 costs the company $5,9000 more than it costs a buyer to purchase.

While this shouldn’t come as a surprise (most EVs remain unprofitable with current production costs and volumes), it’s the quality concerns that proved the most glaring.

In a note to clients, UBS analyst Colin Langan said, “The car scored ‘below average’ on the fit finish quality audit which looked at 1, 500 gap measurements,” adding, “The team also found the body/wind noise was ‘borderline acceptable.’â€�

Wonky panel fitting, sketchy tolerances, and uneven spot welds turned up during the tear-down. This bolsters citics’ claims that Tesla remains more concerned with hitting production targets than producing a quality car. “The results confirm media reports of quality issues are disappointing for a $49k car,” UBS wrote.

While Tesla is to be commended for building a technologically complex car with fewer parts than a traditional automobile, UBS said, accessibility of those parts poses a problem.

“Many aspects of the vehicle are inaccessible to even experienced mechanics and the containment of the battery pack makes fixes complex and expensive.â€�

Interestingly, the report comes on the same day that Tesla announced a doubling of its mobile repair fleet. Some 80 percent of repairs can be accomplished by its repair teams, the automaker claims, saving owners a trip to the service center.

[Image: Tesla]

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