For Tesla Model 3 Buyers, the Waiting Could Be the Hardest Part

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
for tesla model 3 buyers the waiting could be the hardest part

Tesla Motors is cranking out EVs at its fastest clip yet, but buyers who put money down on the Model 3 should still have serious questions about the timeliness of their delivery date.

In the first quarter of this year, Tesla delivered 12,420 Model S sedans and 2,400 Model X SUVs — nearly 50 percent more volume than the same period last year. The electric automaker said a parts shortage in January and February hampered Model X production, but with the issue resolved, deliveries of 80,000 to 90,000 Teslas can be expected this year.

Tesla founder Elon Musk has displayed some newfound humility in recent days regarding the flawed production process of the Model X. According to the company, the parts shortage was the result of putting the proverbial electric cart before the horse:

The root causes of the parts shortages were: Tesla’s hubris in adding far too much new technology to the Model X in version 1, insufficient supplier capability validation, and Tesla not having broad enough internal capability to manufacture the parts in-house.

The problematic parts were related to the model’s futuristic “falcon wing” doors. During his March 31 reveal of the upcoming Model 3, Musk sheepishly admitted that the doors “did cause us some problems.”

With the Model X hurdles cleared, Musk’s chief concern now is creating the production capacity needed to bring the lower-priced Model 3 to legions of cash-carrying wannabe owners.

Production is expected to begin in late 2017, with the first deliveries going to customers in California — where Tesla’s Fremont production facility is located — and other west coast markets. When the Model 3 will reach driveways located far from the Pacific coast is the subject of speculation.

The initial popularity of the model, which will retail for $35,000 and feature a range of at least 215 miles, surprised even Musk. Within 48 hours of the launch, Musk tweeted that 276,000 orders had been made, a number he plans to update on April 6.

After warning prospective customers of a growing wait time as first-day orders rolled in, Musk tweeted that he was “Definitely going to need to rethink production planning,” and two days later tweeted “all efforts focused on accelerating the ramp.”

During an impromptu April 3 Twitter AMA, Musk was asked when customers in the UK could expect deliveries of the Model 3, and if a European factory would need to be built to supply them.


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  • HotPotato HotPotato on Apr 05, 2016

    It's no secret that Tesla does not deliver cars on time, but I expect a lot of people put down their money fully aware of that. If Tesla delivers on time (chanza gorda) then it coincides with the end of my wife's current lease: we win! If they deliver in more like five years (that's my guess, if you're last in line and you want a base model) then my current car will have been paid off for a while and I'll have dough for a nice down payment on a Model 3: we win! But we'll probably lose patience, get a Bolt, and then feel foolish months later as the first sexy-ass Tesla passes our innovative but dorky Honda Fit lookalike on its way to a supercharger we can't use.

  • Nickoo Nickoo on Apr 05, 2016

    I made a lot of money recently on tesla stock. I got lucky as hell buying a bull options spread near the recent $140 low and tripled my position making the maximum potential profit (yes, I sold and those are realized profits, not just paper ones) ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN! But seriously, I am hugely diasspointed in the model 3, from the useless dash with a worthless touch screen and the useless trunk. I'm interested in an EV, but not the model 3 as-is. The trunk debacle is as bad as the model X falcon wing door debacle.

    • See 4 previous
    • Nickoo Nickoo on Apr 06, 2016

      Mcs. You always provide a well thought out balanced comment. I appreciate your commentary. I want EVs to succeed. I am concerned about tesla having what it takes to play in the big leagues.

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  • MrIcky Out of the possible Jeep recalls to bring up on this site, I'm surprised it's this one and not round 2 of the clutch recall.
  • Dukeisduke I saw a well-preserved Mark VII LSC on the road not too long ago, and I had to do a double-take. They still have a presence. Back when these were new, a cousin of mine owned an LSC with the BMW turbo diesel.
  • Dukeisduke I imagine that stud was added during the design process for something, and someone further along the process forgot to delete it after it became unnecessary.
  • Analoggrotto Knew about it all along but only now did the risk analysis tilt against leaving it there.