By on May 6, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Prototype on road, Image: Tesla Motors

Time’s a wastin’ if you want to impress your friends and neighbors with a gee-whiz Tesla Model 3 anytime in the next three years.

As he’s known to do, Tesla founder Elon Musk took to Twitter last night to warm wannabe owners about the growing wait for his $35,000 electric sedan. If you’re just lining up for a Model 3 now, consider signing a lease for another vehicle while you wait — you probably won’t have to terminate it early.

“Tesla is increasing the production ramp as fast as possible, but I’d recommend ordering a Model 3 soon if you want 2018 delivery,” Musk tweeted.

You snooze, you loose.

There’s already about 400,000 Model 3 reservations on the books, with production not kicking off until late next year. It wasn’t long after orders began that questions started popping up about the lengthy wait.

Recently, Musk said he’s hoping to get 100,000 to 200,000 Model 3s out the door before the end of 2017, with existing west coast Tesla customers getting first dibs. In a perfect situation, there’ll be no supply issues, no delays in production, and the company’s Fremont factory will ramp up production (of all Teslas) to 500,000 units a year in 2018.

Even then, you might not see your Model 3 until 2019. The 200-mile Chevrolet Bolt EV could be due for a styling refresh by then.

No biggie for Tesla enthusiasts, though. There’s plenty of hard-core fans willing to wait until the end of the world to get their hands on Musk’s brainchild.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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49 Comments on “Want Your Tesla Model 3 Before 2019? You’d Better Act Fast...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Elon Musk put his work desk at the end of the Tesla assembly line, and dines of potted meats by candlelight, before retiring to his sleeping bag underneath his desk to ensure that he never strays further than 10 feet from each & every Tesla that rolls off the production line.

    This unscientific and illogical, but “hands on” method (*cough*PR Puff Propaganda *cough*) will allow Tesla to increase vehicle production by 800% within 14 months, and also make Tesla #1 on every vehicle reliability and durability study/index in thenp world.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      He still can’t accurately forecast how many cars he will deliver *next quarter*, but he’s damned sure about 2 years from now.

      I wonder how many of those test drives will be spent thinking about the burn rate over at Solar City, which is also measured by the hundred million. Oh well, the acolytes and sycophants still worship his every word, and when it all collapses, they won’t blame the hustler, they won’t blame themselves, they’ll blame the truth tellers. Because if only we believed, magic would happen…

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Tesla forecasts sales of 20K Model S/Model X each quarter until the Model 3 ramps up. Tesla is more detailed in its forecasts than the majority of automakers.

        You are free to criticize Tesla, but try to stick to facts, OK?

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          So nice I have your permission. Not that I care in the slightest. You get to say what you want, and so do I. Not terribly “progressive” of me, I know. Like The Founders I’m a ‘classical liberal’, which is what is now known as ‘libertarian’.

          Meanwhile back in reality, it is a fact. They won’t deliver 80K cars this year, that’d be 2/3rds of the cars it’s taken 10 years to deliver.

          Here’s Tesla’s actual YTD sales figures, by month…

          http://insideevs.com/monthly-plug-in-sales-scorecard/

          Tesla should know down to the car what they will deliver. They are a boutique manufacturer, only recently reaching sales parity with frakkin’ Ferrari.

          Once again, you have no idea how accurate the forecasts of other automakers are, and that they are far more likely to be correct. Their margin of error, for one model, is a year of Tesla production.

          Big departures at the top, problems getting parts (likely they’ve been moved to COD, as their cash position is so precarious and suppliers learned a hard lesson during GM BK version 1.0).

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Elon obviously needs more interest free loans.

        It’s pretty brilliant, actually; instead of trying to raise funds the traditional route, which requires actual analyses & at least some remote faith in Tesla’s business model and long-term viability, just crowdfund as many $1,000 “pre-order deposits” from the TeslaLudicrousBros!

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          I don’t know if I would call it brilliant or not, because the amount of funds generated by these deposits is a drop in the bucket when compared to what he needs to actually get production-ready.

          I’ve worked for several major vehicle and vehicle component manufacturers in my career; at one of them, we used what is called “open-book management” where we had quarterly all-hands meetings in which we looked at the company’s balance sheet explained by the CFO. Tesla needs a huge influx of cash to do what it says it is going to and I can’t see where it is going to come from.

          Maybe Musk has a deep-pocket Chinese investor waiting in the wings, who knows . . .

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I was being somewhat facetious.

            I actually like Musk and admire many things he’s done in the past, but the Model 3 promotion & business plan has me seriously &, I believe, legitimately, calling him out for some serious & flagrant violations of the Code of Common Sense.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Tesla estimates they need $1.5B, but analysts have put that figure as high as $3B. Musk did warn investors about the potential need to raise capital, but keep in mind the company is worth $30B, so funding is unlikely to be a major issue for the next 2 years, as they could always monetize receivables or other assets.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            The company is “worth” $30B, like beanie babies were once “worth” thousands of dollars. It’s all fantasy. they have very little cash, it’s not enough to cover obligations .50 on the dollar.

            Price-to-book is in the high 20s-low 30s. Ford and GM hover at just over 1.

            https://ycharts.com/companies/TSLA/price_to_book_value

            Here’s a whole bunch of other vitals, not that you can comprehend them, or that your religion will allow you to.

            http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=tsla+key+statistics

            As to the rest, unless the fanbois pony-up again, nobody is going to loan a cash furnace $3B in the hole, another $3B with little chance of ever seeing it come back.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Yeah, even selling the fiction that they’re rushing this to market is a bad idea, especially when the Model X still has teething issues.

      I’m not sure ANYONE will be getting a Model 3 before 2019, nor SHOULD they, considering the 3’s present level of development.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    To his credit, Trump figured out that a few nasty tweets could negate the impact of $100M spent on behalf of the Jeb Bush campaign.

    Ever see an expensive TV ad for Tesla? You won’t. That’s because Musk figured out that a few tweets are more effective than the sum of all the money Cadillac has spent on ads in the last 30 years.

    He tweets and we all jump.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Twitter itself is not the key to understanding what’s going on here.

      Twitter’s a so-so public forum that some people really like and most people don’t care about. Lots of people post lots of $#!t to twitter that nobody ever reads.

      So what’s different?

      What makes Elon Musk’s tweets so effective is that they tell a receptive audience things that the audience desperately wants to be true. My friends and I spent nights in engineering school trying to figure out how to do the kind of things that Tesla, SpaceX, are doing. We graduated and then got stuck in the realities of making a living and raising kids — but one guy, who is kinda like us, won the dot-com lottery and is using the proceeds to f-ing do what we all went to engineering school to do. So, Musk’s message falls on receptive ears, and strikes a chord (with some people).

      I certainly understand that Tesla’s odds of success are slim. But I’m glad that someone is at least trying. I’m rooting for their success, in the same way that people who like sports seem to root for their favorite team. But I recognize that, if the production ramp up doesn’t kill Tesla, the warranty coats might. And I’m OK with that.

      But, I’m also willing to bet my deposit that they won’t go bankrupt. I’d like to own one of their cars. I’m probably about the 100,000th person in line for a Model 3, which is right where I want to be — I want the car, but I don’t want to be the first penguin off of that ledge.

      P.S. I’m not even going to try to explain Trump’s popularity on Twitter. He must strike a chord with his audience, too, but I’m NOT part of that audience, so I can’t explain the appeal.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “What makes Elon Musk’s tweets so effective is that they tell a receptive audience things that the audience desperately wants to be true. My friends and I spent nights in engineering school trying to figure out how to do the kind of things that Tesla, SpaceX, are doing. We graduated and then got stuck in the realities of making a living and raising kids — but one guy, who is kinda like us, won the dot-com lottery and is using the proceeds to f-ing do what we all went to engineering school to do. So, Musk’s message falls on receptive ears, and strikes a chord (with some people).”

        This is probably the best explanation I’ve read so far. It’s like the “nerd” version of those guys who idolize pro football players.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Yeah, I know they don’t need a grille because electric, and blablabla. But Christ, that’s ugly.

    First time a car reminds me of Mordor.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The other option is to buy somebody else’s option. I’m sure that many of the 400,000 orders are speculative.
    It’s a decent bet. If you can’t sell your pre-order at a profit, odds are good that you can get a full refund from Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      4. Acknowledgements; Non-Transferable

      Your Reservation is not transferable or assignable to another party without the prior written approval of Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        That’s pretty common. You could always buy the car on someone’s behalf and re-sell it, but there would be negative tax consequences from the additional transaction.

        But seriously, 400,000 people put down $1,000 for a car they won’t see for 2 years (they hope!) When is the last time an automaker provoked such passion?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The point wasn’t about whether it’s typical, but about the idiots who didn’t read the agreement yet put down deposits in the hopes of selling their places in the queue.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            If they expected to sell their spot in line but didn’t read the agreement, then they will be disappointed and just get their money back.

            Or, they will buy a car.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            How does that make them any less idiotic?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            *crickets chirping*

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I don’t know how to respond. 400,000 people (including me) are excited to buy a Tesla Model 3.

            PCH thinks we are all idiots. That’s his opinion.

            Look, 10 million people voted for Trump. There is nothing I could write to convince them to support another candidate. People have opinions and they get dug in. That’s life.

            I’ve already written PLENTY on the topic this week. All I can do at this point is buy my Tesla when (or if) it finally gets produced and enjoy it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The cognitive dissonance is something to behold.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I won’t speak for Pch, but I’d venture to guess it’s less that he thinks you or many others are “idiots,” but that when it comes to many things Tesla, you sometimes wear blinders, or take leaps of blind faith (or drink the Kool-Aid).

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            This is not complicated.

            If you are a party to an agreement that says this:

            “Your Reservation is not transferable or assignable to another party without the prior written approval of Tesla.”

            …then you can’t be very bright if you put down a deposit with the expectation of selling your place in line.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            PCH,
            I agreed with your point 7 responses ago; I don’t know what else to say. You can’t sell your place in line. I get it.

            I get it now. I got it half an hour ago, and I got it when I read the contract and placed my deposit.

            What are you looking for from me?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I didn’t want anything from you. You responded to me, remember?

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            There are ways around that. For instance, in my jurisdiction, anyone with a dealer license could sell it as a used car.

            A quick search shows quite a few Tesla X’s available with extremely low miles, many of which are being sold by dealerships.
            You’re betting against human nature if you think that no one is trying to make a buck on them.

  • avatar
    shedkept

    Buy a Prius and save your money.

    There is no Long Term Quality Index numbers for a Tesla. Currently (no pun intended) they’re betting on eco-lemmings and rich folk putting on a show feigning eco-friendliness.
    For what it’s worth a local dealer took one on trade and the guy lost half of its original MSRP in 2 years. Not a testimony for value.

    This is marketing in an effort to stay afloat with enemy sails on the horizon rapidly approaching for a full broadside volley.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Last August, KBB reported that the estimated average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles in the United States was $33,543.

      Since the base price of the Model 3 is $35000, I guess you’re right – they’ll be purchased by ‘rick folk’.

      Millions of pickups are sold every year, with an average transaction price now above $40k.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The Model 3 is close enough to the car of my dreams that I’ve decided to take the gamble.

      It is a gamble. It’s a new technology from a barely-established player, lead by a CEO who has a negative personal IRR.

      I get the impression that Musk is trying to gamble his fortune away by the time he dies, and his temperament means he can’t enjoy doing it at a casino where he can’t stack the deck. So it’s gonna be risky world-changing tech startups, instead!

      That’s what I think of the company, and I still put down my $1k for a piece of the action. And I’m looking forward to buying a pretty awesome car in a couple of years, if I win.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    > You snooze, you loose.
    It’s LOSE, not LOOSE.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Sorry but I don’t comprehend Tesla 3 mania. We have a promised car that cannot be test driven nor in any way evaluated for at least 2 – 3 years, yet +400K people get in line paying $1000+ for privilege of getting one.

    Are any of ’em planning to flip their 3’s (as the Tesla X owner selling his X to Ford did) ?

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    This is why I reserved. To exercise some level of control over what is likely to be a very supply constrained car.

    I just got a new car, so I’m content to wait. I can walk away with my money back at any time, after all.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Bernie Madoff’s clients believed exactly the same.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @porschespeed A thousand dollars isn’t a lot of money to many people. Besides, unlike Madoff, Musk has more than enough in personal assets to cover all of the deposits.

        Personally, I’m waiting. The next generation of Lithium Ion batteries are in the pilot production phase now and are expected to reach mass production levels around 2020. While my 100+ mile Leaf is overkill for me most of the time, a hefty boost in range would eliminate any need for me to public charge. For me, that would lessen the value of the SuperCharger network and might make something like a Mission E and/or an electric 911 as an option.

        Right now, the 100-mile Leaf is doing well. Most days I’m only using a fraction of its range. Even on the longer trips, I’m only using half the range. At this moment, I’m working on the paperwork that “may” get me a prototype battery for testing in about a year. If that happens, the Leaf might remain my daily driver and workhorse for many more years.

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          mcs, you truly believe that Musk has personal assets of $400MM+? If by that you mean current stock valuations, he’s a ten billionaire. On paper.

          Which is completely reliant on sky-high speculative valuations placed on 2 companies that are both cash furnaces. Neither with a path to profitability. Maybe when it’s time to liquidate Tesla he’ll have SpaceX IPO’d and he can use that cash to pay you back. But there will be a whole lotta companies in front of you with their hand out for that cash. Like being an old GM stockholder, you will be the last to get anything. If you get anything at all.

          I agree a grand is rather disposable for most folks around here, and nobody will get hurt losing it. Your money, your choice.

          Glad to hear you like your Leaf, I’ve yet to drive one. There’s a few I see on a regular basis – about as many as Teslas.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            I’ve always been a cheap SOB, so I spend $1k reluctantly. (Even $100 gives me pause. $50 buys what $20 did fifteen years ago.)

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Is that prototype through Nissan, or another entity?

      • 0 avatar
        orenwolf

        Sure. It’s a tiny sum though. That’s the difference.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    i put a grand down when porsche first announced availability of the boxster nineteen years ago and ended up waiting nine months for the car. all things considered, the tesla wait seems very do-able to me.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Comparing Musk to Madoff is disingenuous at best – There are tangible benefits to the U.S. in what Musk is trying to do; I hope to see the Model 3 on the street ASAP, and that the $1k “gamble” of all those people pays off.

    Sadly, I’ll be on a fixed income by the time the 3 is available, so my Volt will have to do.

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