Bringing any new car to market burns cash, and Tesla has been busy raising funds.
On March 24th Tencent, a Chinese internet giant that owns WeChat, a popular messaging service, paid $1.8bn for a 5% stake in Tesla.
Tencent could help accelerate Tesla's drive into the vast Chinese market, where some 28m cars were sold last year.
With Donald Trump trying to dismantle some environmental standards in America, China seems likelier to push green technologies.
It is already the world's biggest market for electric cars; some 700,000 plug-in cars are expected to be sold there this year.
But to compete against low-cost local brands, Tesla urgently needs to start churning out its cheaper car.
Many investors are betting that Tesla can become a mass producer.
This has pushed up the value of the firm's shares, which have increased by 38% since the start of 2017.
On April 3rd Tesla's market capitalisation exceeded $48bn, overtaking Ford (at $45bn).
Ford may not be as technologically glamorous but it is well-versed in mass-producing cars, having made 6.7m last year.
An awful lot will be riding on the Model 3.
If Tesla fails to hit future targets then a cashflow crisis may loom.
Investors, though, will have an exit: the company's brand and whizzy technology are easily valuable enough to drive the firm into the arms of a bigger manufacturer that can hit its numbers.