Skip to main content

Tesla Model 3 reservations will begin early for employees, without discounts (Updated)

model 3 design studio

Update: We’ve updated the post with confirmation that Tesla will be offering employees early access to Model 3 purchases but will not be offering employee discounts. 

A Tesla source has informed us that at least a few employees have been told that they will have first dibs on Model 3 reservations before the general public get access on March 31st. A guess would put this near the March 23-25th timeframe for employees. It isn’t clear if all employees would be eligible for the early reservations.

Currently, Tesla employees only get discounts on pre-owned and floor model Model Ses and will eventually on Xes as well – just like customers. And, just like for customers, Tesla doesn’t offer any kind of discount to its new vehicles other than through its referral program, which currently offers $1,200 credit for the installation of a charging station.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is fairly strict about the “no-discount/no-preferential treatment” rule. When Tesla launched the Model S in 2012, Musk’s cousin and CEO of SolarCity Lyndon Rive asked if Musk could hook him up with a new all-electric sedan, and Musk response was simply a link to Tesla’s online design studio to order the car online like anybody else. Musk has also touted that he bought his Model S like everyone else.

A person with knowledge of the matter has told us that “Tesla doesn’t offer Employee Discounts” but buying advantages could arrive in the form of pre-tax salary.

At this point, it’s not clear if all employees placing an early reservation will even be able to see the car before reserving. Though it’s Tesla’s policy for all pre-ordering deposits to be refundable. We were told that a select few employees were able to see a picture of the Model 3 prototype, but only for a few seconds and only one person was entrusted with the picture.

Considering the Model 3 is the first car most of Tesla’s employees can afford, it makes sense that they would get some sort of early access, but it also has an indirect impact on the cost. The $7500 Federal tax credit for electric vehicles is capped at 200,000 units sold in the US per manufacturer and Tesla is expected to hit its limit in 2018, which means that an early reservation can help ensure the availability of the full tax credit for your vehicle.

Tesla currently has about 15,000 employees around the world and most are located in the US.

Featured image: screenshot of Tesla’s design studio from 60 minutes – potential covered Model 3 clay model circled.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Stay up to date with the latest content by subscribing to Electrek on Google News. You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.


  1. Walt - 7 years ago

    VR reveal “image” on 31st at individual Tesla store reveal event ? A la Google Cardboard? Would be pretty slick IMO

  2. QC - 7 years ago

    Factory employees especially should have early bird access to reserve their own model 3 with couple rules I) You must own and use the vehicle for 3+ years after purchase II) no monetary discount except a better chance of cashing in the federal tax credit

    Usually the first products may have defaults that need correcting post delivery. With this approach employees are not only highly motivated to spot errors in supply chain early on but also pay closer attention to detail. All kudos for the extremely competitive staff at Fremont of course.

  3. Nathanael - 7 years ago

    This is a very nice thing for Tesla to do for its *extremely* hard-working employees — Tesla has a reputation of overworking them. And most of whom could not afford the Model S or X or Roadster. This also make sure they get ahead in line for the tax credit which is very nice.

    It also seems like a page from Ford’s playbook… make sure your own employees can buy the car you make…


Avatar for Seth Weintraub Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites. Tesla Model 3, X and Chevy Bolt owner…5 ebikes and counting