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Tesla Spills The Beans On The Model 3 Reservation Process

The excitement in the air is palpable. Fans are making plans for insane cross-country or across-the-world trips, paying exorbitant amounts for last-minute plane tickets, and posting pleading requests for a +1 ticket from anyone who won a pass to the Model 3 event in Hawthorne. It’s a bit crazy, actually, that people are getting so crazy about a car. Just another new car… that in all likelihood, won’t even be delivered to customers until 2018.


Okay, enough of that. The Tesla Model 3 is a huge launch, perhaps even the biggest vehicle launch of our lifetimes. It brings the perfection and the promise of the Tesla Model S to the mainstream… it brings the zero-emission lifestyle to the masses. Tesla has delivered the sedan and now the SUV of the future to us — but at a price point that is beyond most customers, and so we have been left to read up on it, take test drives, and drool over every iteration and improvement it brings. Crazy 0–60 times, uber-quiet rides, a massive touchscreen, and the car even learned how to drive itself after a few years. These vehicles great, but super expensive. Until now.

Model 3 will bring all the allure of Tesla at a price point most can afford, with the car starting at $35,000 — just above the average purchase price of a new car in the US. There may still be some federal rebates available by the time it comes out, but it’s not likely.

To quell the masses and put more meat on the bones than it normally does for a launch, Tesla opted to put up a blog post detailing what customers can expect from the Model 3 reservation process and for launch day. Here are the big nuggets from the post:

Tesla Wants You To Be Happy — This one is tucked in at the very end but really captures the essence of what it is trying to accomplish. This real talk about why Tesla exists and what lengths it goes to for customer service is maybe the biggest reason I’m a huge fan. I can’t say it better, so here’s what Tesla said: “Our overarching goal is to maximize total customer happiness within the bounds of what is physically possible.” 😀

Online Reservations Start March 31st At 8:30pm Pacific — Tesla had previously shared that reservations would start on 4/1, the day after the event, but it seems to have taken a more aggressive timeline. This means that the people securing the first online reservations won’t have seen the car either, joining the tens of thousands of enthusiasts who drop $1,000 in stores around the world earlier on the 31st to lock in a reservation. I’m hoping Tesla has locked in some insane bandwidth, as it will be live-streaming the event… which consumes massive bandwidth… and opening reservations at the same time… from the same domain — Good luck, comrades. Good luck.

Existing Owners Get Priority — This fact has been touted around but now it is confirmed. We learned that Tesla employees get priority over the normal queue, and now we have confirmation that Tesla owners are also one step up on the priority list. This makes sense for a few reasons. First, Tesla owners are the ones who believed in the company enough to drop tens of thousands of dollars on a car they had not seen before. Most early buyers had never seen one in person or driven one, which is crazy when you figure they were all in on a car that cost ~$100,000… but I digress. The second reason it makes sense is that someone who spent $100,000 on a Model S may well shell out more money for a better-optioned Model 3. They have the money and love Teslas… why not sell them another car?

Production Begins Late 2017 — The wording is important because they are not saying when customers get cars. This decouples delivery timing completely. They can start production and take their time ironing out the kinks in supply chain, quality, and production without worry that they’ll miss a publicly committed deadline. It’s similarly a bummer for customers, as this means orders might not even show up until 2018, with who knows how long of a ramp-up until Model 3 reaches full production, let alone fulfilling the orders from launch week.

Each Region Will Have Its Own Queue — Given that regions will likely be bulked up into unique “go live” dates to support the unique supply chain logistics required, this makes sense. Put the orders in buckets by market, then arrange for them to be built, shipped, etc. For example, most Teslas in Europe are shipping partially assembled to the Tesla factory in Tilburg, where they are skillfully reassembled and delivered to customers.

West Coast Customers Will Get Deliveries First — Based on physical proximity to the factory and the fact that over 40% of EVs sold today land in California, this makes sense. Not a surprise but interesting to see it confirmed in an official post. We recently saw this same thing with X shipments.

Production of Right Hand Drive Cars Happens Later — This is a bummer for RHD markets, but given the complexity of swapping the cockpit to the other side of the car, from a production standpoint, it makes sense. RHD is essentially a different model to build, though how different they are when compared to the complexity of all the other options on the car, it’s hard to say.

It is definitely an exciting time to be a human. It’s even more exciting to be a human that just happens to love electric cars and all the cleantech goodness they come with. Thanks, Tesla.

Below is the full text of the official Tesla Blog post:

Along with the excitement and anticipation for Model 3, we know everyone has a few questions. Here are the details so that you know what to expect both on March 31st when reservations open and in the months ahead before you take delivery of your Model 3.

Reservations for Model 3 begin on March 31st worldwide. Reservation amounts in each currency can be found here. There are two ways to make a reservation. The first, which will allow you to get a better spot in the queue, is to visit your local Tesla store when it opens on March 31st. Find your closest Tesla store here. The second is to make a reservation online at when the live unveil starts at 8:30pm PT.

In order to be as fair as possible, there will be a different queue for each region. And as a thank you to our current owners, existing customers will get priority in each region, meaning that the fastest way to own a Model 3 is to own a Model S or Model X.

Model 3 production is scheduled to begin in late 2017. When production begins, we will begin deliveries in North America starting on the West Coast, moving east. As we continue to ramp production, we will begin deliveries in Europe, APAC and right-hand drive markets. It is not possible to ship to all regions simultaneously because regulators in each part of the world have slightly different production requirements. Staggering deliveries in this way also allows us to provide the best possible customer experience.

We recognize that everyone wants to get their Model 3 as quickly as possible. Our overarching goal is to maximize total customer happiness within the bounds of what is physically possible.

Tune in to the Model 3 unveil on March 31st at 8:30pm PT on We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on.

Image courtesy Tesla Motors

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Written By

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.


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