Never one to shy away from controversial accounting, Tesla CEO Elon Musk today tweeted his take on the initial Model 3 sales numbers which are at 180K barely 24 hours into sales. By his math, which he estimates an average of $7000 in options on each Model 3 sold and more controversially, counting every Model 3 reservation as a sale, he’s come up with a $7.5 billion payday for Tesla.

Clearly, everyone who put down $1000 yesterday and today isn’t going to buy a Model 3 worth an average price of $42,000. But a huge number of those people will and more importantly, many more people will try to get in early to reap the $7500 tax incentive from the US government over the coming months.

Update: The reservation count is now nearing 200K and we’re likely nearing the end of the $7500 tax credit window.

The reservation to order conversation rate could end up fairly high, but it’s unlikely that will be 100% like Musk is suggesting in his latest tweet. Not everyone was surprised by the high number of Model 3 purchases however.

From the deposits alone, Tesla now has a virtual $180 million 18-month interest-free loan.

Investors and Wall Street analysts are mostly happy with Tesla’s Model 3 event last night and the reservation results. The company’s stock (TSLA) surged about 10% in early trading before settling down to a 3% gain at ~$236 right after the opening bell.

You can read our post summarizing everything new we learned at the Model 3 event here.

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About the Author

Seth Weintraub

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