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Tesla Model 3: stores are expecting waiting lines to reserve the car on March 31st


The electric vehicle industry had an exciting start in 2016 with a number of unveilings, notably the Chevy Bolt and Faraday Future’s FFZer01 concept at CES last month, but arguably none is creating more excitement than Tesla’s upcoming Model 3 event next month. When we asked our readers how many reservations they think Tesla will have for the Model 3 by the end of the year, a majority agreed that Tesla will have over 75,000 reservations by the end of 2016.

We have since reached out to a number Tesla retail stores and representatives have told us that they have been receiving a steady stream of calls since Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted the date of the Model 3 unveiling and a rough outline of the reservation process. According to the CEO, reservations will start in store on March 31st and then online the next day. Because of this store reps have told us they are expecting waiting lines to get a reservation in the morning.

Some Redditors also reached out to their local Tesla stores and they reported store employees seeing a stream of inquiries about the reservation process similar to what we confirmed independently.

At this point, store employees are not sure how the day will unfold, as usual Tesla is keeping most people in the dark, but they are told that they will be able to take reservations when the stores open, even though the event is expected to take place later during the day.

It could create some problems with the time zones, meaning that someone could get an early reservation based on their location, but Tesla could potentially remedy the situation with a limited number of early reservations per store.

We have reached out to locations both in Canada and in the US, but the impact might be greater in America due to the implications Model 3 reservations will have on someone’s chances of having access to the $7,500 federal tax credit or not.

model 3 pollDepending on how many reservations Tesla will receive for the Model 3, it could determine if you get the full $7,500 US tax credit or only a fraction of it since the incentive starts to phase out after an electric vehicle manufacturer hits 200,000 units sold.

The Model 3 should have a starting price of $35,000, a range of over 200 miles on a single charge, be roughly the size of a BMW 3-Series, and hit the market in late 2017.

Musk revealed that the required deposit to reserve the Model 3 will only be $1,000, which is generally lower than expect since the required deposits for reserving the Model S and X were $40,000 for the Signature version and $5,000 for the production version.

With a lower than expected required deposit, the strategy of first allowing in-store reservations on March 31st and then online the next day, and the potential of a federal tax credit with an early reservation, it’s easy to believe that retail employees are receiving a significant number of inquiries and expect waiting lines on March 31st.

If those waiting lines really end up happening, Tesla could create an iPhone-like media buzz around the product which would spur even more reservations.

Musk said that Tesla will be releasing more information about the event (the event itself, not the Model 3) in the coming weeks. At that point, we should get a better idea of how the day will unfold and what will be the best way to get an early reservation.

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  1. Tesla Model X had 25k the first week for a $80k-$134k car, my bet is 75k+ the first week!

    • Fred Lambert - 7 years ago

      I think you are mistaken. It took Tesla years to get 25k reservations for the Model X.

    • RWF - 7 years ago

      Agreed. That figure is way off.

  2. Orrett (@orrettm) - 7 years ago

    I’m in Vancouver and I already took the day off, and planned to camp outside the Tesla store the night before, just in case. I was actually wondering how they were going to manage the reservation system, given that folks on the east coast have a 3 hour head start.

    • Ritchie Rich - 7 years ago

      You do realize you can place an order online…

  3. amp - 7 years ago

    This is quite simply going to be HUGE. If Tesla can get ~33,000 Model X reservations at 2x to 3x the Model 3 selling price with 5x (or 40x) the deposit required and less public awareness of Tesla at that time, then how many more Model 3 reservations can they secure now?

    75,000 by the end of 2016 is very conservative in my mind. Remember also that this is a worldwide launch, which wasn’t true for the X, you can’t even buy the X in all states in the US, let alone every country globally.

    I think the difference between day 1 and day 2 reservations could be a year or more in production and delivery time. I am thinking of making 2 reservations; 1 in store and 1 online to give me choice in timing to keep one or both, sell one or both for profit, or afford an S and/or X before then and cancel one or both. Whatever I do I want to be on the reservation list so that I have the choice.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall in Mercedes Benz Montreal (right next door to Tesla Montreal, brilliant location Tesla!) on March 31st to see what they think of the line ups and parking congestion in the area. While the Tesla 3 buyers line up to hand over money for a car that has never been seen that they won’t receive for almost 2 years.

    • Dafty Punk - 7 years ago

      If you plan on buying a top of the line model 3, then you should get to a store in person on the 31st to reserve.
      If you plan on buying a lower spec model or base model you might as well just save yourself the hassle and do it online from home.
      They already said they will be shipping higher margin cars first. Based on that, even if you are the very first reservation in person you’re still at the back of the line if you DON’T want top of the line as others with higher spec cars will be produced and delivered before your cheaper model 3.

  4. Stephen Davies - 7 years ago

    Pay $1000 now and get your car when?

    To quote the article
    The Model 3 should have a starting price of $35,000, a range of over 200 miles on a single charge, be roughly the size of a BMW 3-Series, and hit the market in late 2017

    Late 2017? How many people will wait that long? Surely you mean 2016? Even the waiting list for a Morgan isn’t that long.(AFAIK)

    • Fred Lambert - 7 years ago

      nope late 2017 is the current estimate by Tesla’s CEO. Thousands of people waited way longer than that for the Model X and they paid $40k and $5k for the deposits

    • František Kubiš Jr. - 7 years ago

      We have waited nearly 4 years for our Model S. Many people waited similarly long for Model X, less than 2 years for Model 3 would be great… However for us in eastern Europe it will take more than 2 years 🙁

  5. Ulugbek - 7 years ago

    I bet 300,000 low case, 500,000 reservations medium scenario, over 500,000 optimistic scenario. 75,000 is just the tail of the dog, not the whole dog, remember.

  6. phjilek36 - 7 years ago

    The price and configuration will determine the order of who gets the model 3. The Reservations are not the order. The S and X did it that way, and I doubt they will start with the cheapest configurations, and would start with the highest price for the first orders so they can get the highest return on the initial bulk.

  7. Ron - 7 years ago

    I would love to go to Saint Louis Tesla Store and make a deposit. I would be the first person in my family to have a electric vehicle. How many people are out their are commeted to saving up and making a deposit of $1000 for a Tesla Model 3.


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