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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Fred Lambert

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