Electric Vehicles

Published on August 8th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


Tesla Tries To Slow Model X Reservations

August 8th, 2014 by  


Originally posted on GAS2

For a car that has only been seen a handful of times in public, demand and expectations for the Tesla Model X are at an all time high. But don’t blame Tesla; as Business Insider reports, the company is actively trying to get would-be Model X buyers into the Model S instead. Why would Elon Musk do that?

On the record, Musk said that the reason he doesn’t want to build demand for the upcoming Model X is that customers were “upset” at waiting too long, going so far as to make a public spectacle of themselves. The Tesla CEO wants to avoid another such public car bashing over delayed deliveries.

Another reason for the lack of Model X hype is that Musk already has about a year’s worth of production in reservations. At last tally, there were more than 12,000 Tesla Model X reservations, and that number has grown everyday despite the fact that there are no test drives and little information available on the electric SUV. Tesla-mania is at an all-time high, and Musk brazenly claims he can create demand for his product “at will.”

To his credit, Musk has built an incredible electric car brand without investing a single dollar into marketing or advertising, but Musk has also delayed production of the Model X at least once. While the retooling of the Fremont plant is underway, there have lately been questions about Tesla’s drivetrain reliability. Hopefully these issues have been ironed out in time for the Model X rollout.

If not? Well the hype train might just come to a screeching halt.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Lookingthrutheprism

    Tesla has already shown the world what can be expected from this company.
    From the roadster, currently the model S.
    The model X is next down the pipeline, it has to be an improvement, and people are willing to put money just to hold a reservation for them.

  • Ben Helton

    It’s amazing how many people will belly up $40k for a car they have never driven (or can’t even if they wanted to).

    Is there any evidence yet of one even being tested!? How can you claim things on a vehicle like “4WD that will not compromise mileage” without having a road worthy vehicle to prove that?

    Most vehicles get road tested for several years, from prototype, to Beta. The final version (the Alpha) will then be the shown at popular auto shows 6-12 months before the selling date as the factory actually preps for full production.

    Most people who reserved one of these were supposed to be getting a ‘2013’ Model X…. to be delivered in 2015..?

    I have my doubts that this car will ever be produced; it stands an unfortunately strong chance that people will be lining up in bankruptcy court to try and get any of their deposits back….

    • Bob_Wallace

      Sort of in the same league as those who push FCEVs even though there are none in the dealer showrooms, eh?

      Except that Tesla has an astounding track record and proven product.

      • Ben Helton

        What astounding track record?

        They have never actually released anything on time – Nothing. Some things have never even come, and get mentioned less and less as they distance themselves from the original foot in mouth moment! (IE battery swap stations, Model X, 300 mile range vehicle)…

        • Bob_Wallace

          The Roadster that destroyed the myth of EVs being golf carts with windows.
          The Model S that proved long range EVs and showed people an incredibly safe, luxurious EV for normal luxury car prices.

          You want to make something out of small slips in timelines? Have fun, but you’re turning a blind eye to the bigger picture.

          • Ben Helton

            I bet if George Clooney was driving a more reliable golf cart, he wouldn’t have been caught on the side of the road so many embarrassing times…

            ‘Small slips’ is pretty gracious, wouldn’t you say? I mean, missing deadlines by several years is pretty substantial, especially considering that many people have $40,000 that could be sitting in an IRA or some other investment for an extra 2 years. Instead, they are financing Tesla Motors (with 0% interest) while they scurry around trying to figure out how to charge and fix all the broken cars they’ve already sold.

          • Bob_Wallace

            How many times was Clooney stuck on the side of the road in his Roadster, Ben? (And do remember, he got #5 off the assembly line. The fifth car Tesla had produced. That made him pretty much a Beta tester.)

            How many people have made a $40,000 deposit on the Model X, Ben?

          • TedKidd

            Bob, I don’t think Ben is a subject matter expert on Tesla, don’t think asking him will net information, perspective or wisdom of value.

            There are about 1300 signature series deposits I believe.

          • Guest

            Last I checked, the deposit for a place reservation was $5000 for most people. The vehicle, reasonably equipped, will be north of $90k.

            People who can afford to buy a Tesla, generally have already maxed out their IRA or 401k contribution to the IRS legal limit and still have sufficient funds to make such a purchase.

          • TedKidd

            The question was how many $40,000 deposits. Those are for signature series cars. Last I looked that number was 1300.

            $5000 deposits are somewhere around 13,000 I believe.

            If you want one of these cars, the line is long.

        • Dr. Dean Dauger
    • MorinMoss

      Are you still doubtful?
      Despite every advance by Tesla, you keep betting against Musk et al.

      http:// finance. yahoo.com /news/tesla-enabled-first-model-x-150109253.html

  • No way

    Imagine what would happen if they opened up for reservations of the Model III. Then we would count the pre-orders in hundred of thousands and not in thousands or tens of thousands.

    • Oy. Hadn’t even considered that. Honestly, I hope they wait until their really close to production to do that.

      • No way

        I assume they’ll wait until they need/want a good cash flow for investments or expansions.
        If they have the same reservation fee as for the Model X, $5000, then they could get 500 million to a billion dollars in “free” cash.

        • jeffhre

          Holy %$#@& ! Never actually thought about actual volume of $’s opening up reservations for the III may actually bring in!

          • RobS

            Tesla need to be cautious with deposits and what they do with them, it is a grey area of the law. With the Model S and Model X during the time before they were released the vast majority of the deposits were from fairly hardcore Tesla fanatics who would tolerate a lot from Tesla. With the Gen 3 vehicle there will be a lot more mainstream car buyers interested. My understanding is that the law is unclear however it is arguably the case that a refundable deposit on an item must be held in trust for return if the item can not be delivered on within the terms of the contract. Tesla’s practice until now I believe has been to roll deposits into general revenue for operational expenses. This could seriously come back to bite them if there was any delay or bad press and any significant portion of reservation holders wished to cancel.

          • Offgridman

            If what you say is correct then it seems like there would be some checking up on the Elio company that has been collecting deposits towards the manufacture of their 3 wheeled commuter vehicle.
            If their blog posts are accurate there have been over 15,000 each of refundable and non-refundable deposits in amounts from 50-500$ each.
            However seeing as how many times Elio has delayed production start dates and no actual display vehicles with the motor that they are still in the process of designing being shown I think my deposit is much safer with Tesla.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I would think it would come down to how one wrote the offer.

            If it says “You can put down a deposit of X dollars and be first in line to purchase our product. If we ever produce it. But if we don’t produce you don’t get your deposit back.” then there’s no need for the company to be cautious with deposits.

          • Offgridman

            I agree with you on the non-refundable ones but they have been collecting both types for going on two years now with the non deposits supposed to be in front of the refundable. When I first found out about them roughly a year and a half ago production was supposed to start this past June, then at the first of this year they said preproduction would start in 12/14, and now it has been put off until sometime in 2015.
            It is a vehicle that looks like it would be fun to drive with a lot of positives if they can match the price point and mileage hoped for. However over the past year they have gotten very careful about saying that both of those numbers are hoped for and not guaranteed. So along with the statement this year that the drive train warranty is only going to be for 3 years or 30,000 miles I decided to hold off on doing any type of deposit and see how they actually work out for the early purchasers before deciding to get one.
            I do hope that they follow through with production, but with everything that has been heard on their own blog/webpage, and from other sources that has turned into more of a hope. Rather than my fairly secure faith that I will have a Model X in a year or two.
            Which is a shame because the Elio seems like it would be a really good starter vehicle for my sons to learn on in a few years with its low operating costs and standard transmission, so they really do have to learn how to drive and not just steer around a powered vehicle like in their video games.

          • RobS

            What your describing is crowd funding, not a refundable deposit. Crowd funding is obviously purpose designed to fund operational expenses. As you said it is entirely deoendant on how the agreement is structured.

      • Steve Grinwis

        Really? because I want them to open now, So I can put my money down on the First one to hit Canada… 😛 I’ll be patient. 😀

      • jeffhre

        Yep, I’ve considered that. They must feel that bringing in a lot of deposit money and pushing the technology of all three vehicles together (S, X, III) would create problems by 1) growing the company too fast to control outcomes, 2) Be too expensive, even with huge numbers of deposits coming in for the III, 3) Be premature considering the technology available for engineering and production of the Model III, 4) a combination of the above.

    • TheSA-X

      oh man, I would be one of the first!

  • Matt

    “the company is actively trying to get would-be Model X buyers into the Model S instead. Why would Elon Musk do that?”

    1) S they can sell you now, ok you have to wait for it to be built but not that long.
    2) S cost more, it is called up selling.
    3) Already have over a years production of X reservations and they have started production yet.
    4) A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

    • bucricket

      The Model X will be cheaper than S. I doubt this very much.

    • RobS

      The Model X costs more than the Model S given that it is the exact same slider with a larger SUV chassis bolted on top. This misconception came from the mistaken belief that due to the timing if the relese the Model X represented the “3rd generation” vehicle with a targeted price of $35,000 from Tesla’s strategic rollout. It is not.

      • jeffhre

        A few months ago, I was still getting comments from people who thought that the X represented Tesla’s 3rd gen vehicle, and would subsequently be less expensive.

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