Published on February 11th, 2016 | by Kyle Field


Tesla Model 3 Deposit Amount & Launch Details Released

February 11th, 2016 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

On the heels of the favorable Q4 earnings from the call yesterday afternoon, which we covered at length, Elon Musk took to the Twittersphere and dropped some of the first official details about the launch of the eagerly anticipated Tesla Model 3.

Model 3 will require a $1000 deposit, which will be accepted in Tesla stores on March 31st and online April 1st, giving those local to a Tesla store a leg up on getting in line — which will likely result in a head start of several months when it comes to taking delivery of the car sometime in 2017. One of the themes on the Q4 earnings call was the fact that demand for Tesla cars continues to outpace supply, as indicated by Tesla not having to provide any purchase incentives (if you don’t count the referral credits), the higher-than-expected resale value of Tesla Model S compared to estimates, and the continued backlog of orders for the Model S and obviously Model X, which is still ramping up to full production volumes against a 2 year queue of orders.

There has been quite a bit of speculation about the release model of the Model 3, with it being such a deviation from the Model S and Model X, since the Model 3 expected to arrive with a starting price of $35,000, to be produced at 10 times the annual rates of the Model S/X, and to be ~20% smaller than the Model S. One of the big topics that is regularly covered is the actual price of the car after rebates — rebates that will likely expire before the Model 3 makes it to market.

Stacked onto the base price of $35,000 are likely be dozens of lucrative options for more range, a second motor, autopilot functionality, and many other features that we can only imagine. In his latest Twitter blast, Elon blew one Model 3 rumor out of the water, confirming that there will be no signature series for the Model 3. This is great for a number of reasons, as it allows “normal” reservation holders to get cars on a first-come, first-served basis (to an extent) without a high deposit being required to get one of the first production cars. It also allows Tesla to build normal cars right off the bat at volume without having the extra complexity of one-off Signature cars.

Skipping Signature editions also signatures the shift of Tesla Motors from an early startup to a mass-production automotive manufacturer. While the fundamental reason for Tesla Motors is to catalyze the shift of personal transportation to sustainable transport, the Model 3 is essentially primed not just to catalyze other manufacturers to take action — though it will certainly do this as well — but perhaps also become the next Toyota Camry, the next Honda Civic, etc. In other words, dropping the Signature edition for Model 3 embraces the fact that it is a mainstream car.

The brief Twitter press release closed with a teaser that more details will trickle out over the next few weeks. Given that the Model 3 launch is planned for March 31, that’s about all the time Tesla has to work with to drop any big media bombs for Model 3, so it makes sense.

Coming out of this news, I’m expecting lines to start popping up out front of Tesla stores in the coming weeks as the crazies vie for media attention tied to arguably the most important automotive launch in the last 100 years. I’ll bring the popcorn….

More about the Model 3 was discussed on the conference call last night. You can have a listen here:

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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  • Chris_in_Raleigh

    Has Tesla indicated whether they expect the Model 3’s safety rating to be similar to that of the Model S ?

  • Chris_in_Raleigh

    Would you explain how the rebate expiration works, please?

    • Chris_in_Raleigh

      Found this brief explanation:

      So why do you say that the rebates will likely expire before the Model 3 makes it to market?

      • If my math is correct, Tesla has sold ~65k vehicles to date in the US. Add ~50 k for this year (Model S + X) and the same amount for 2017 and you can see that that the 200k cap per manufacturer is very close by the time the Model 3 enters production.

        The rebate continues for 2 quarters after reaching 200k cumulative sales and then decreases: 50% for 2 more quarters and 25% for another quarter.

        So there will be rebates for the Model 3, but only in 2018 and only partially.

        • ROBwithaB

          I suspect that they rebates might well be extended, especially for cheaper cars.
          It just makes political sense.

  • Michael Jameson

    My $1,000 is ready. I was thinking it would be 5k. I am going to go down to my local store this weekend just to make sure I have everything I need.

    • Kyle Field

      Yeah right…you’re just going down there to drool over the P90D’s 😀

  • Bob_Wallace

    “Skipping Signature editions also signatures” How about signifies?

    • Kyle Field

      You are correct, sir 🙂

  • Dan

    I want it! I am sort of a stickler about not buying things with credit or otherwise using financing for fear of getting myself into debt I cannot recover from….but… I would enter a financing agreement for a model 3. I am definitely in the low income bracket but would make it work for myself if I am able to figure it out. I will also move to a different apartment or possibly relocate to my parent’s house temporarily in order to have access to the electric outlet which my current parking situation makes impossible. I could save on rent, pay off the car, charge at home, all while I am training for a new career *fingers crossed*. My current car is a beater and I try to tell people I meet, like someone I met at Advanced Auto Parts today, about my plan to make my car last until I can afford an electric car. Usually I think I could only afford a used one, but the more I think about it, financing a model 3 would be…… Awesome! and possibly more reasonable than I first assumed…

    • Kyle Field

      No reason to rush into a car that requires you to change everything about your life just to afford it…but yeah, it looks great 🙂

      • Dan

        We only live once! I have until August before my lease is up and will hopefully be in the electrician apprenticeship program I applied for by then. If I had a secure path towards a higher income once I was locked into that training program… maybe its not so risky. With savings on fuel, oil, and because I will be needing to replace my rust bucket anyways so I won’t be needing to throw more money down the drain on an ICE, it makes a lot of sense to me.

        My fiance already wants to move to a place where we can have a dog, so we aren’t committed to this apartment anyways.

        I could hold out for a certified pre-owned too. Buying through Tesla for a used sounds like the way to go. I just really want an electric car and would Love a Tesla. They basically got all the automakers headed in this direction so, lots of respect is what I feel for their cars. Ooooo, I will definitely be commenting if my plans work out and I’m in a position to do it for real. Clean energy is my favorite daydreaming passion and I would just love to work and drive with clean energy in Real Life! Lol 🙂

  • Alaa

    Tesla will get one BILLION if just 1 million reserve a model 3. Globally a million reservations is not much.

    • I’m all for Tesla getting loads of reservations, but a million reservations is crazy crazy high. I would be shocked if they got more than 200k by the end of this year.

      • Kyle Field

        In our limited survey, the model 3 had tons of interest. The survey had over 1000 responses from EV drivers and over 1200 responses from non-EV driers and had the top vote by far: Crazy! That’s roughly 1000 people that plan to buy it just from this site… or half a percent of the 200k you’re estimating. I agree that 200k is achievable but would look for something closer to 350k myself. Seems like we should setup a betting pool for it 🙂

        39% owners expect to buy next
        55% of potential owners expect to buy
        53% owners more excited about this than any other new/coming EV
        56% of potential owners more excited about this than any other new/coming EV

        • Otis11

          True, but that number could fluctuate wildly depending on what other manufacturers do…

          If someone else were to release a compelling EV with solid range, the model 3 could take a hit. If every company continues BAU – the model 3 will almost assuredly be wildly successful.

          Where it falls on that scale depends on way to many factors to guess… (at this point anyway)

          • Kyle Field

            The bolt has the range but I wouldn’t buy it because it doesn’t have a charging network. For example…that’s fine for around the greater los angeles area for me…but not for a trip to San Francisco which would take something like 10 hours, assuming fast chargers were correctly spaced out…like the supercharger network is (that also happens to be twice as fast…and getting faster all the time).

            Net – nobody has the range and charging infrastructure to compete with Tesla. Bolt buyers will be unhappy buyers, unfortunately…at least as it relates to long distance travel. It’s still fine for an around town car 😀

          • Otis11

            Well, I think it’s fair to say that you would be an unhappy Bolt owner… but many people don’t drive long trips like that. For a regional trip (Say you have to stop and charge once – that give you a range of 350 miles or so) it fairly acceptable, particularly if you only do it 2-3 times/year which I think is more common.

            Also, as a second car, fast charging really isn’t an issue. I see a real market for the Bolt (a niche to be sure, but still a market) – and that Bolt sub-market heavily overlaps with Model 3 owners. (That is, almost all Bolt owners would have gone for a model 3, but not all potential model 3 owners would consider a bolt).

            And who’s to say the next gen Bolt won’t fix the charging rate issue? (I mean, depending on what’s actually limiting it, it could be fairly straightforward…)

            Even with all of that, I’m not saying that the Model 3 isn’t the better purchase – but most people are only partially informed. It wouldn’t be difficult to cast a Bolt-like car in a favorable light, and have it be from a company they are familiar with and eat into the sales…

            Only time will tell… (IMO anyway)

          • Kyle Field

            I agree. It’s not that I don’t think it will sell because I do. But having owned cars that take hours and hours to charge…or an hour and $20 at a fast charging station…that’s a pretty large step down compared to Teslas that can charge up twice as fast…for free. 30 minutes usually ends up being 45 minutes as the battery is never full so the 1 hour will likely turn into 1 hr 20 mins which isn’t the end of the world…it still opens up EVs to a lot more owners…but the M3 is a better car because of the charging network.

    • Ross

      They should probably limit the number of reservations they take as they won’t be able to build that many initially. Having no one that wasn’t around on March 31st able to get one for a few years would compress all the excitement too much. They need a more longitudinal reservation system. Not least because they’re still rolling out their distribution network.

      • nakedChimp

        In the former German Democratic Republic waiting times for the locally produced Trabant where 14 years+.. people registered for being able to purchase one when they turned 18.

        Due to the long waiting period between ordering a Trabant and actual delivery (in some cases, years), used Trabants would fetch higher prices than new ones.

        PS: yes, I was a resident of the country and 11 years old when it collapsed.

        • Ross

          But after the multi-year wait will the Tesla have to be collected in the morning or the evening? It’s important because the Fiber To The Home broadband is being installed that morning.

          • Kyle Field


  • bwollsch

    Excellent. This report was also on CNBC, so hopefully the word will be spread quickly. Can’t wait to see the pictures. My $1,000 is ready.

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