Tesla Model 3 Reservation Holder Survey Tells An Exciting Tale

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The Tesla Model 3 unveiling was arguably the most anticipated automotive event in our lifetimes, if not in the last 100 years. The car not only brings with it the promise of Tesla ownership to millions who were unable to afford a Model S, but also the hope for sustainable personal transportation not only for those alive today but for generations to come. In no uncertain terms, I’m proclaiming the Model 3 as the catalyst for changes yet unseen. Automakers across the board have responded and are still responding to the tsunami of unanticipated attention that the Model 3 has garnered. The truth of the matter and the significance of this car in automotive history will be revealed in retrospectives looking back on the last few weeks as a significant period in history. (Editor’s note: by the way, see our extensive and exclusive photos and videos from the Model 3 test track if you haven’t yet.)

With such an unexpected groundswell of support for the Model 3, even Tesla is reeling, and the crazy part is, not one order has been placed yet. Heck, we don’t even know what the specs are on the thing for the most part. But there is one thing we know with certainty — people want it. TONS of people want it. This week, Tesla Vice President of Business Development Diarmuid O’Connell shared in a talk at AEC 2016 that Model 3 reservations are approaching 400,000 (!?!). He also mentioned that the “free forever charging model is sustainable,” something about Tesla trucks, and some other fun comments… but those will have to be another story altogether….

Tesla Model 3 @ Unveiling Event | Image Credit: Kyle Field

And thankfully for us, the same folks who brought Model X Tracker to the world have continued the legacy with the new and even more popular Model 3 Tracker, which looks to tap into the hive mind of the reservation holder to glean some insights into what the masses are looking for from the Model 3. This site is an opt-in site where folks who put reservations in on the Model 3 can read about what options are likely to pop up and can contribute their preferences to the ever-growing pool of survey respondents as to what they are likely to reserve.

It’s worth noting that these are just surveys about what options reservation holders are likely to pay for but obviously don’t represent actual orders. It’s one thing to say you want the “bigger battery” but it’s another thing to say that you’re willing to pay $15,000 for it. :). Having said that, the results are quite exciting to dig through and provide some fun insights into exactly what Model 3 owners are looking for in the car.

Lots of Heavily Optioned Model 3s

Upon first glance at the options preferences, I was a bit shocked. Dang, people are really throwing down for this car! But after thinking about it for a few seconds, it makes tons of sense. This is not just a $35,000 car. This is likely the best car from $35,000 up to the point where you hit the price point of the current “best car” — the Tesla Model S. So, what we’re seeing with Model 3 is a flood of pent-up demand for everyone in the $35,000 price bracket, the $45,000 price bracket, the $55,000 price bracket … all the way up to the $70,000 price bracket, and likely a bit above and below that range as well.

Not everyone would be content with “just” a base Tesla Model S, and we are seeing a ton of that demand hitting Model 3 now. I know that, for me, I was bummed that I wasn’t willing to financially stretch (further than I did) to afford a Model S with autopilot … but I was beyond stoked to get a Model S at all. Because Model 3 hits such a wide span of the market, there are a lot of folks who can afford — and are willing to pay for — a fully loaded Model 3. Ironically, we see the same trend with Model S, where the average selling price of the car (which starts at $70,000) is a staggering $110,000.

Supercharging Really is a Big Deal

Digging into the specifics of the survey, the option coming in top spot for what buyers are willing to pay more for is Supercharging. To be honest, this was also a bit surprising to me, as I was fully expecting Autopilot, but it turns out, the majority of buyers understand the importance of Supercharging. (Note: this matches the results of CleanTechnica‘s EV market research report quite well.)

I guess these people are not in the auto industry, though, because every other auto manufacturer seems to think public charging isn’t their responsibility.

A full 89.6% of respondents on th Model 3 tracker said they were interested in Supercharging. I’m thankful for this quantifiable data point, more in the hopes that other automakers hear the message that consumers want super-fast public charging, and are willing to pay for it more than anything … though, on the flip-side, I am a bit concerned about what that demand is going to look like when it hits Supercharging stations around the globe.


Autopilot is a Big Deal, too

While autopilot ceded the top spot to Supercharging, it was still selected by a full 86.7% of respondents. Affordable, accessible autopilot is a huge part of the appeal of the Model 3 for those in the know, as we are on the cusp of the technology being ready for the mainstream and, with autopilot being a system comprised of a few hundred dollars of hardware (that we already have, we just need to find the best combination thereof) and some über complex software (that we have most of already, just need to put a final polish on), once it’s ready for mainstream, there’s nothing that will stop it.

Retrofit kits will become a huge business (like this guy’s upstart), hardware will be included in every new car, active safety features which rely on autopilotesque tech will become mandatory, and the field is just going to explode … and Tesla is on the bleeding edge of the charge towards production. People want the tech and I would even go so far as to say that autopilot is a huge draw for the company and for the Model 3 (I know it is for me and for most of the people Zach and I interviewed in line at the Santa Monica Tesla store) and these results reinforce that.


Not So Hot on Premium Wheels

From the initial survey, buyers are not extremely interested in premium wheels, even with the new dubs Elon and team introduced at the Model 3 event. I’ve never been a big wheel guy, so this isn’t surprising for me, but on the other hand, there were 20% of respondents who said they were interested in upgraded wheels.


AWD is a Draw

I recently chatted with a few readers in the comments about “why AWD” and for me, the two big selling points are extra traction control — especially where there’s weather (we don’t have real weather here in Southern California) — and increased efficiency. Counterintuitively, adding the weight and power used by a second motor and the extra power that comes with it actually increases the overall efficiency of the car by 10%. What?! Yeah, I know, right?

Tesla has some mad geniuses working on this stuff and has found a way to essentially let the motors tag team the whole, moving the car business forward where they can constantly optimize the overall load and power balance to optimize efficiency at the millisecond level. Elon Musk talked about it a bit at the “D” event if you’re interested in the details. Crazy stuff, and yet another reason I love these guys. I really have no need for extra traction or the extra range but love the tech … and, apparently, I’m not alone. 🙂

rwd vs awd

I Like Big … Batteries and I cannot Lie

This was the one requirement for me on my Model S because I love to drive. Not only around town, because that’s easy with most EVs on the market today already … but as Zach knows, around Los Angeles (~70 miles away), from Ohio across the country to California, as well as just having flexibility for who knows what.

Many of the folks who put in reservations in for the Model 3 are likely new to EVs. They may not have any experience with charging. I would even bet that some reservation holders still don’t know that it’s electric (like, “no gas” electric) … and that’s ok because it’s really not that big of a deal. Being new to EVs comes with the perception of range anxiety that’s been all the rage in mainstream media, and bigger batteries are the result of that.


Those were the big nuggets of insight for me … head on over to the Model 3 Tracker site for the full rundown.

Survey screenshots from the Model 3 Tracker site.

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Kyle Field

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.

Kyle Field has 1638 posts and counting. See all posts by Kyle Field

86 thoughts on “Tesla Model 3 Reservation Holder Survey Tells An Exciting Tale

  • Well just to put it into perspective, the BMW M3 (‘performance 3 series’) *starts* at 66k for the automatic version.

    While the baseline BMW 3 series starts at 33k.

    The only place where Tesla Motors won’t win by a wide margin is top speed. It will crush the competition in all other aspects, just like the Model S.

    Imagine a 55k version of the Model 3 that SMOKES a 66k BMW M3 off the line, is safer, has better handling, has better traction, etc etc etc. RIP ICE.

    • The only place where Tesla Motors won’t win by a wide margin is top speed

      What about range? Also the interior looks better and more comfortable

      • Well personally I drive ~100 miles a day atm and most people would consider that ALOT. The model 3 would be perfectly fine for my commute.

        The nice thing about EV’s is that you’ll always leave your house with a full charge. Your house is the fuel station.

        I honestly don’t know anyone that drives over 175+ miles a day and still uses a car (unless you’re a delivery driver or taxi driver or something). Those people usually have trucks. EV’s are not ready to take on the pickup truck yet.

        • If you drive that much, you will be fine but don’t expect to get by with the base battery. If you add any side trips, or live somewhere with cold weather, you’d probably still make it. But if you need to drive somewhere else that day that’s 25 miles away, you’d be at 150, or another few miles if you stop off somewhere or even miss an exit. With a 200 mile range at the beginning of the day and loss of range for extreme cold or elevation changes, the bottom end battery might be cutting it close, especially if you start the day with a 90% charge, or less.

          • Charging stations are everywhere. 150 miles will still leave plenty of charge left even in the cold.

          • Some stations could even be at 75 mile intervals by the time the Model 3 Starts out the factory door to Customers! (in certain parts of the USA – sooner than others, I expect!)

            Plus – with quadrupling the number of Destination chargers out there – even thought they will be adding at least Europe to that program, some time soon, I expect North America to get a lot of those charging points!

          • Haggy, the needed range – will all depend – First: on the level of Supercharger Support (as in how many more gaps are filled in by the time they start to finalize orders, or an individuals order), and Second: the Consistency of interruptions in your schedule that might take you off the now heavily Beaten (Supercharger) path!

            Even with a Gas Powered car – one can find an occasion now and then – when they missed a gas station, at a time when they should not have, and end up with Range (to the next Gas Station) Anxiety!

            That said – one of my areas earliest Tesla Model S buyers said – better to buy in at the larger battery and put less in other options if budgets are limited, than have the smaller battery, but more ‘cowbells!’ (Bells & Whistles)! So – I would agree that having 3X the daily driving range is more comfortable than just 2X the daily driving range!

          • I’ve been in the situation where there’s a sign that says “next gas 35 miles” but the bigger issue was that gas stations closed at night in that area. Now that’s range anxiety. So is waking up and realizing that a family member used the car and left it on empty. If you forget to plug in a Tesla on a typical day, it won’t matter for most drivers. And if you park in a garage with a charging cable, you’re no more likely to forget to plug in than you are to forget to close the garage door.

          • Your EV should be able to call you up and let you know that you failed to plug it in.

          • It should, but it doesn’t. If you have a Tesla, you can get free third party software like VisibleTesla and have it send you messages though.

          • It’s 123 miles from West Wendover NV and Salt Lake City and there are no gas stations along the way.

            A couple of years back I put more gas in my tank than the owner’s manual says it holds. Range anxiety? I had over 50 miles of it….

          • Haggy, I was in a situation where the next town down the road was what I figured would be about 45 miles, but the slow drive in twisty Roads, drained 3/4ths of a tank of gas, on the Farm Road 170, Leading out of Presidio, TX to Lajitas! Lucky – they had a Golf Course, and Fuel on stands to fill their carts, and gave me 10 gallons at a good price!!

          • A Tesla would have warned you before you started down that road if it weren’t possible to get to your destination without charging, and if there’s no charger on the route. Even if you didn’t give the navigator a destination, it will warn you before you get to the point of no return that if you don’t head toward the specified charger, you’ll risk running out of power. So it’s likely that any owner would know before the trip even starts whether there would be an issue. 45 miles is a fraction of the range you’d start with each day. Windy roads don’t hurt. Stopping in traffic doesn’t hurt because the engine is off. Going uphill uses more electricity but going downhill generates it back.

          • What if you stop at a Supercharger for a 15 min top up?

          • I was talking about a situation where a person goes by the overall range and assumes a stop won’t be necessary. With a 15 minute stop, things would be fine. Ideally, there will be a supercharger on the route. But if you drive more than the average amount on a regular basis, having a cushion because of a bigger battery can make things easier.

          • Suppose you leave your house in the morning and your gas tank is half full. You will have to stop and fill up. EV owners plug in at night so start full.

          • Yes, that happens all the time. It happens all the time that people leave their homes with barely any gasoline at all, and run out of gas. It’s almost unheard of for a Tesla to run out of power.

            It also happens that people with hybrids run out of gas, so the notion that they will save you isn’t true. A person might run down to E, expect to plug in at home so there would be enough range to get to a gas station, get side tracked and end up without the range needed.

            The excuse that gasoline is easy to find is a poor one because it takes emergency road service the same amount of time to show up whether you run out of gas, have a dead 12V battery or have an EV that needs charging. But the latter two are more likely to happen. So being low on gas is a far bigger threat.

          • “It happens all the time that people leave their homes with barely any gasoline at all, and run out of gas.”

            Oh, heck, yeah, I’ve done that. I had to stop for gas while taking my old blind father to his dentist. Embarrassing.

        • Your house is the fuel station.

          Most of the world population live in appartments blocks. Even in the EU-28 40% of them do.

          • Have been in Apartments since 1986, in various ways, and 10+ years at current one: Not quite sure it counts as ‘Living’!

            I consider it as being ‘Homeless’ but not ‘On the Street!’

            You have almost no control over what you can do in the vicinity of your Apartment, that isn’t controlled or managed by a Neighbor, Landlord, or Property Manager – not quite what I call Living!

            That Aside, Building owners in this environment – need to be:1) Instructed and educated about moving forward with making Electric Vehicle Friendly Properties; and 2) required by Laws and By Laws, to upgrade their buildings to help reduce city bound pollution sources, including ICE Vehicle Usage, by making EV’s Preferred!

            My Own Property Manage Tells me the Landlord – does not want to allow me to install a Charging Station at my own expense, even though I pay my own Electricity – because they ‘Don’t want to put a Hole in the Wall!’ Not Quite what I call a ‘Free Society!’ Not Even Free to pay for the work done by professionals!

          • Down the road property managers will start realizing that they need to include charging or they won’t be getting as much business. It might be ten years before charging starts being an obvious that charging EVs is something people want like cable and AC.

          • In an area without a 100% occupancy rate, it can happen even faster. When trying to get a tenant, if a place is vacant one additional month, that’s more money lost than all the electricity an EV is likely to use in five years. That all depends on rent and power costs of course, but you get the idea.

          • The average cost to have a 240 vac dryer outlet installed in a house is $250. Perhaps more for an apartment with more conduit and a longer run but still less than a month’s lost rent.

            I expect we’ll see some smart outlets that will bill the electricity to the tenant. Car’s should be able to handshake with the utility so that the outlet goes hot only when a billing code is available.

            Even putting the outlet in a lock box and wiring it to the specific apartment would take care of billing the user.

          • I’ve had similar thoughts about how to justify a 240 outlet at work, and then running the cord out the window to the parking lot and my car.

          • It used to be that you had to drive to the general store, go inside and ask for a gallon jug of gasoline. We have to start somewhere, and infrastructure took time for gasoline too. The difference is that homes start out with electricity so the cost is nominal in many cases.

            Billing a tenant might be a problem. Passing the energy cost from the utility on an as-used basis might be fine, but charging any more would make the landlord an energy reseller in many states and would be regulated by the PUC. They’d likely knock it down to what the local utilities charge since the rate is regulated. All that makes is barely worth it for a landlord. They might be able to get away with charging $50/month for a dedicated parking space, but each state has its own laws with respect to rental property.

            Wiring it to the specific user would be a better idea.

          • Someone made a comment recently about a company that is installing charge outlets at apartments where the electricity used is billed to the tenant.

            I think one of the authors is going to research this and write something up.

          • It’s time for utility companies to establish “handshake billing” for EVs. Plug into any EV outlet, the utility identifies the specific car from info provided by the car, and charges the use to the car owner’s account.

          • These are the kind of issues The Great Transition will bring. though it will be difficult for us early adopters for a while, eventually all of these nuisances will be ironed out. The big question is, how long will this take?

          • Some states are better than others when it comes to laws that would protect you there. Unfortunately, it’s far from universal.

      • As far as range it’d win by a wide margin on cost/mile vs other cars in the same price or performance range. Fast acceleration is extremely useful but the top speed issue is more about bragging rights. Of course I want 0-60 mph in the 3 secs range or better (I hope that’s doable with options) but I could care less if the top speed is 130 vs 150 vs 250 mph. That said, I do watch the tesla drag races on youtube and route for the Tesla every time.

        I really hope the model 3 has a model with ludicrous mode! It is supposed to be lighter weight than the model S even with steel body sections… my fingers are crossed!

        • I wonder how many people ever actually attain the possible top speed in their cars. My experience is that most people start getting scared at about 160kmh and really terrified at anything over about 180-200kmh (120mph range).
          The forces in an accident increase at the square of the velocity. And the traffic fines are usually similarly aligned.
          Top speed is mostly a stat-checking pissing contest number. Very few people ever test the performance limits of their vehicles, I suspect. Or very rarely. Except maybe some people on the German autobahns, if there is no congestion.
          I (or someone I know, for legal reasons) allegedly sometimes travel in the 200-240kmh range on long stretches of open highway in South Africa. At that speed, one overtakes everything, including the Porsches, BMW M5s, AMG Mercs etc.

          On the other hand, rapid acceleration is really useful, even in everyday driving.

          • Outside Germany, unless you’re on a track, it’s illegal to go at the top speed of most of these cars. So nobody cares about top speed unless they’re being idiots.

          • You are right for practical reasons, but there are psychological ones to consider. In real life, a Model S P90D will beat other cars in the 1/4 mile, half mile, etc. because they will get up to speed faster, be ahead by the time they get to the speed limit or reasonable speed for the traffic, and the same will be true of any other car, assuming you are talking about use on the road where racing is illegal.

            In real life people might take their car up to maximum speed just to see what it’s like and that it can do it, and then never do it again. But it gives people bragging rights. Tesla’s bragging rights are far more practical.

            An example of what really bothers people who have other cars is that if Dodge improved the Hellcat to beat the top 0-60 time of a Tesla, its fans would go crazy. Tesla’s fans would say, “yes, but the Tesla is a family sedan.” The important factor is that while the Tesla might do what it does with 0-60 times, it’s not likely the reason people bought it. Hellcat fans literally got into all this nonsense between the time the P85D came out and the ludicrous update came out. They still haven’t figured out that it’s a rivalry that only one side knows about. It’s not a name that gets tossed around as a Tesla competitor.

            If Tesla had a higher top speed, it would be one more bragging right, but a meaningless one. It would also eat through the battery way too fast and wouldn’t make much sense.

          • Tesla’s gunning for 2.1 seconds, 0 to 60.

            All but four production cars are playing catch up….

      • What about range? With a BMW, owners might find themselves with a needle near E 3 to 4 times a month. The average Model 3 driver who plugs in at home each night will start off with 200 miles of range every single day. They won’t find themselves worrying if they will run out of gas, or if they will be late if they stop to fill up.

        For long trips, especially with the biggest battery, a 500 mile trip will likely be doable with one stop for lunch, while charging, and without a minute of wasted time. For those who realistically won’t drive more than that on a single day, it will work fine. For those who love hypothetical cases of jumping in your car and driving to Alaska on a moment’s notice, if you think that might apply to you, then by all means get the BMW. If stopping for lunch on a 500 mile trip isn’t your style, it’s not up to me to judge you. Buy the BMW. They make nice cars and I hope you enjoy it.

        • Actually – Elon has said – the West Coast Supercharger Connections … WILL be connecting right to Alaska by the end of 2017! (So that impromptu Drive to Alaska might just be possible in your Model 3, after all! And – you could even make the trip with a small trailer – just to bring your Kayak/Canoe, etc!)

          • Wow, that is crazy, isn’t it?

            And no network with comparable charging speeds with even 1 charging station…. 😛

          • Zachary – “And no network with comparable charging speeds with even 1 charging station…. :P” – I am guessing you mean > “And no [OTHER] network with comparable charging speeds with even 1 charging station…. :P”

          • The point is that there will be cases where it won’t be practical, and people who point them out are correct about that, but are very wrong to imply that it would make any real world difference to most people. They simply aren’t considerations for the population who will be buying a Tesla.

      • I believe Elon Musk would very much like to offer a version of the Model ☰ that had an official EPA rated range of 320 miles or more. That would be better than Performance cars such as the BMW M3 (316 miles) and Cadillac ATS-V (304 miles) and Chevrolet SS (301 miles).

        And, by the way? The interiors of the BMW M3, AUDI S4, Cadillac ATS-V, and Mercedes-AMG C63 S are all classified as ‘Compact’ by the EPA. The Model ☰ is certain to get a ‘Midsize’ rating instead, due to the advantage of its fully electric drivetrain. It will be more than comfortable enough inside. And its futuristic design already ‘looks better’ to me.

      • We don’t have cable but use streaming services and some still have ad’s. We’ve noticed a huge uptick in car ads in the last week. It’s literally the ABC’s of auto manufacturers as in every other ad when before you might not see a single auto ad. I think it’s friggin hilarious.

        • Advertising. That’s so old car economy.

        • It astounds me how many YouTube videos I check about Tesla Motors vehicles are preceded by commercials for Castrol, Mobil-One, Pennzoil, Toyota Prius, Mercedes-Benz, or Lexus. Those have as much appeal for me as ads for Hennessy or Marlboro. None.

    • Tesla didn’t announce top speed or even 0-60 for anything but the base model. For a price competitive one with all the upgrades, performance will be there. Top speed might not be there, and for people who want to use their cars on a track, the Model 3 might not be the best bet. But most people drive on the streets, and wouldn’t even go 90 mph for a sustained length of time.

    • Not only can I imagine a $55,000 Model ☰ P100D that smokes a $66,000 BMW M3, I expect it. The BMW when fully optioned will likely cost another 50% above its list price — even before dealer markup to ‘what the market can bear’. I expect a Model ☰ Sedan fully optioned would be only $70,000. A Coupe version, if offered, might add another $5,000… A Convertible version, if offered, might add another $15,000. No matter how you measure it, against contemporary competition from AUDI S4, BMW M3, Cadillac ATS-V, Infiniti Q50S Red, Jaguar XE S, Lexus IS F-Sport, or Mercedes-AMG C63 S the Performance version of the Model ☰ will blow their doors off. And I fully expect that prior to 2020, and possibly before the end of 2018, the Model ☰ would demolish all their Nürburgring times and achieve a 186+ MPH (300+ kph) top speed.

  • haha, loved this: “we don’t have real weather here in Southern California” 😀

    And the entire article, which is super interesting! Thanks! 😀

  • Of course superchargering is important – the spec is only 215 miles right now for the car. Give this a 400 mile battery and superchargering won’t be such an issue.

    • I’m torn with Supercharging. On one hand, as someone stated above, I would do most of my charging at home and start each day with a full charge. Unless I’m going on a trip the most I might drive in a day is 80-100 miles and that is extremely rare.

      On the other hand, once or twice a year I do go on trips of 350-400 miles where Supercharging would be extremely useful. Does anyone know if you can pay-as-you-go with a Supercharger? That would be a nice option for those of us that wouldn’t use it very often.

      Of course a 400 mile capacity battery makes Superchargers less important. We’ll get there eventually but probably not anytime soon.

      • Supercharging is “free for life” and comes standard in the Model S/X. I expect it to be an option on the 3 because of the lower price target. I doubt it will ever be a pay-as-you-go option with Tesla. I disagree that a 400 mile range makes supercharging less important. That would only be true if you were traveling less than 400 miles and staying overnight with a charger. After three years with a 60kWh Tesla, my personal opinion is the sweet spot is between 250-300 miles with the existing supercharger network and charging rates.

        • Exactly. The vast majority of driving is under 100 miles so just stepping up to ~250 mile range is a huge improvement and takes care of another couple % of trips. Beyond that, it’s mostly just extra weight you have to carry around when Supercharging would/should/will take care of longer trips.

          @disqus_IXTTNgIkAC:disqus – For infrequent trips, you can always just use normal level 2 chargers. They are slower but they are everywhere. Importantly, they give you an option to shop for a few hours while your car drinks in the charging goodness… at 6.6kw charging (normal level 2 rate), it’s a lot slower than supercharging but it’s cheap or free…

          Finally, you could get the CHAdeMO adapter which lets you charge faster and gives you a pay as you go fastish charging rate. This might be your best option…depending on how far you’re driving and how much it’s worth to you. The adapter is $450 http://shop.teslamotors.com/products/chademo-adapter

        • I have an 85, but if I consider all the long trips I’ve taken, there wasn’t one that I couldn’t have taken in a 60 with the same number of stops to charge. There was one that I can think of where the stop would have needed to have been longer with a 60 or I wouldn’t have made it. But for the most part, if I planned it right and charged while eating, there wouldn’t have been any difference in terms of time. I feel more comfortable with an 85, and a 300 mile range means I could go as far as I would ever drive in a single day with only one stop for a meal. any capacity beyond that would make no difference.

      • Instead of carrying around that heavy and expensive 400mile battery when you only go on long trips once or twice a year, why not just rent a car from Enterprise for $30/day, with no mileage fees?

    • It depends where you are going. If you are going from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a 400 mile battery would be cutting it close, and you’d probably need a charge. With a modest increase above the bottom level battery, it’s still conceivable that you’d make it with one charge stop over a lunch break. Either way, a supercharger will help. Once you get over 300 miles, and you factor in a single break for meals, there will be very few people who will want to be on the road that many hours in a single day. A bigger battery isn’t likely to be a factor in a person’s driving.

      An exception would be somebody with no place to charge at home, who might be fine going to the shopping mall once a week and using a supercharger while shopping or eating. If eating out costs less than buying gas, it might be just fine for some people.

    • I have only owned one car that was capable of taking me over 500 miles between fueling stops. I could go 530-to-540 miles before stopping. I wouldn’t even start looking for a gas station until I had gone 450 miles. And I could set the cruise control at 85 MPH to make the distance. That was nice.

      But every other vehicle I have driven cross country has fallen short of that metric. Most of them dare you to NOT pull into a gas station within 350 miles. And if you do travel over 400 miles, you will be on vapors.

      The Tesla Model ☰ is designed to compete directly against the perennial market segment leader: BMW 3-Series. It has been the best selling Premium vehicle in the US and worldwide for decades, only recently being dismounted by the Lexus RX SUV. Prior to 2012, BMW was never really concerned about fuel economy at all. No version of the 3-Series in the US achieved 400 miles range. And today, their top-of-the-line M3 only has an EPA rated range of 316 miles. I believe the Performance version of Model ☰ will exceed that mark. That should be enough. Even if it doesn’t allow someone to drive 400 miles, and stop to ‘refuel’ with a 20% reserve.

  • Tesla hasn’t released how much the options will cost. Once the buyers find out the cost of the options they will decide they don’t need the option. The base car is $35,000 with the options these people have selected it will raise the cost of the car to $70k to $80k. Many of these same buyers were complaining that $35k was too high. It is like a kid in the candy store, they will chose everything until they realize there is a cost.

    • Agreed. Also, people are *hoping* to have the money in 2–3 years, but hope won’t translate into reality for many (most?) of them.

      Not sure what this is about: “(Don’t spam us, bro….)” Clarification?

  • Another thing is people think the Supercharger Network is for everyday use. It is not. The supercharging stations are for long distant travel. The location where you get your normal charge is at your home overnight. Tesla has starting sending notifications to owners who use their local supercharger on a frequent basis explaining this is not the purpose of the supercharging network. At anytime they want Tesla can throttle how long it takes to charge a car and make those who abuse the system take longer to charge or just cut them off.

    Since they will not be allowed to use the Superchargers for normal charging those people who live in condos or apartment buildings and who plan on getting a Model 3 need to start making the arrangements now for charging and not wait until they get a Model 3. Your condo or apartment building will probably charge you for the installation plus the cost of the electricity. The cost to put in a high capacity wall charger at home runs about $1,000 in parts plus another $800-$1000 in labor. This is if you already have capacity within your current electric panel. If you don’t you may have to pay double this amount. Just the Tesla high capacity wall charger itself is $750 that is without the wire and installation.

    • Do you have concrete information that Tesla will not include unlimited SuperCharger use for the Mod 3 or are you speculating?

      • It is pretty clear there is going to be some kinda cost for SC access with the model 3. The real question is how much and if it will be like the model S a fee for the life of the car.

      • It seems they are still leaning toward free access, but keeping their options open.

        • I suspect that they may lean towards a “basic package” of “limited free” charging, based on typical usage profiles, and structured to encourage optimal utilisation of the network. e.g. a certain limited number of “free” hours/charges per month/year.
          And/or time of use limitations, avoiding the periods of heaviest congestion.
          If I know I’m only likely to need a supercharger less than once a month, why should I subsidise the heavy use of others? Those who put a strain on the system are likely to have to pay for it. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
          It’s easy enough to factor the cost of the electrons into the purchase price.
          Let’s say $1,000, included in the base price of the car. That might get me 12 supercharges per year, to use as I see fit. Or about 600kWh per year, for a 50kWh battery. Over 15 years of the car’s lifespan, 9,000kWh.
          At current electricity rates in South Africa, the cost of those electrons would be about $900. In a sunny country like SA, we can expect that Tesla would be able to lock in current electricity prices by erecting PV arrays. So it’s break-even from the get go, but with the cashflow up front. Good deal for them, and also for me. I’d definitely go for that option. Especially if I had a chance to upgrade to a higher package at some point in the future if my needs changed.
          As for the cost of erecting the network, my additional marginal usage is “invisible” as long as it is limited to off-peak times. Would I be prepared to plan my long-distance trips such that I avoided charging during a particular 2 or 3 hour window, during a holiday weekend? Sure. I tend to avoid driving on those sorts of days anyway. And even if one needs to, it’s often more time-effective to delay the trip for a few hours to avoid sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for those same few hours. It’s really not that much of an inconvenience, to be honest. Especially if I knew that I’d be allowed ONE “emergency” peak time charge per year. Or if I could “top-up” my charging account to pay for the occasional rush-hour charge. It’s not so much that I need to charge during rush hour, but that I MIGHT need to. All I need is the reassurance that I would be able to, if required.

          They can solve this whole “problem” pretty easily by pre-selling “bundles” or “packages” of charge time. The model has already proved itself as robust and flexible in the cellphone network market. The connectivity of the cars is what makes it so easy to implement on Tesla’s charging network. It would even be possible to extend the “coverage” to other (non-Tesla) device owners, as long as those cars had the ability to perform the required “handshake”.

    • Darryl – Per the point: “Just the Tesla high capacity wall charger itself is $750 that is without the wire and installation.” – I just discovered last night, I think it was, via http://www.electrek.co news, that Tesla has dropped the price of the HPWC – Model S, to $500.00 and verified that on the Tesla Website – Store items!

      Plus – the real factor is not how much power does the car take to charge from Empty – in as short a time as possible when charging at home, but rather, what is your driving style like? Is it consistent mileage commuting trips, or varying mileage sales trips? If commuting – you really might not need a high powered circuit to the HPWC – just a 30 or 40 Amp Service could be fine, and if that is the case – then a simple NEMA 14-50 Plug will likely be what you want to install as I would expect the Model 3 will have the Tesla Universal Charging Cord included, unless you have another EV, and then you might want to have a Clipper Creek J1772 charger for neutrality and both cars can use it!

      • I have one NEMA 14-50 and one HPWC with the plan of the two being shared amongst 1 Model X with 72 amp charger and 2 Model 3’s probably both with 72amp chargers. The biggest cost of the install is the labor. The price of the HpWC has probably dropped due to the new ones coming out that can share the same circuit. I doubt if very many Model 3’s unless fully loaded will be eligible for the Federal Tax Rebate. There are not that many states that have state incentives mostly on the west coast. My state has nothing.

        I am a co-administrator on the Model3Tracker site. The majority of the people are loading the cars with lots of options but this is without seeing the option pricing . I don’t think people will be happy with a $35k car especially consistering they will be producers these cars last pushing then out into mid to late 2019.

        • First of all, thanks for doing the Model3Tracker — great stuff!

          Agreed that there’s a good chance only people who get the fully loaded Model 3 will get the $7500 credit.

          • Depends on how fast Tesla sets up additional factories.

    • Tesla has previously told people living in condos that they can use Superchargers regularly. I’m not saying that will continue, but worth noting.

      Also note that some people will be fine without home charging. My mom has a LEAF and no home charging and doesn’t have a problem with it. She’s also spent just ~$5 in several months charging.

      Condos are tough… we have a place in a condo and are not planning to mess with the condo association, but not 100% sure. And know several companies are working on this market, such as Powertree Services & Evercharge.



      • G’Day Zach. Does the ‘free’ use also apply to those Taxi drivers hogging the SC’s in Holland ?

        • It does for the moment. I think Tesla is trying to figure out how to handle that problem.

          • I do not believe there is a ‘problem’ really… I see no difference between a taxi driver, Uber driver, real estate agent, insurance agent, or traveling salesperson using a Supercharger on a regular basis. The prices for gasoline aren’t magically higher for people who use their vehicles for business. The cost to access Superchargers shouldn’t be higher either.

      • The problem I perceive is that people who complain about the idea of ‘regular Supercharger use’ by so-called ‘locals’ presume that someone will be literally plugging in every day or every night. The car has a 200+ mile range. It is highly unlikely that someone living in a condo or apartment will be using all that range on a daily basis. If they drive 40-to-50 miles per day, they might need to use the Supercharger local to them twice a week. That is normal use — not abuse.

        • Average driving miles per year = 13,000. Assume 170 miles in 30 minutes at a Supercharger. 76 charges. About 1.5 times a week.

          I doubt that many apartment dwellers are 13k a year drivers. But maybe….

    • I know that the Tesla supercharging network is not intended to replace home charging, but a huge number of people do not have access to home charging. I’m willing to bet that a non-negligible number of model 3 purchasers plan to use public charging and the Tesla superchargers as their only means of charging.

      For many, the size of the battery may mean that they will only have to charge about once every 4 to 5 days making it feasible.

      And if we want to have electrification of vehicles for the masses, we need to consider that the masses might not have the finances to permit them homes with garages

      • A bit over 50% of all US drivers now have an outlet they can use for charging where they park. More outlets are being installed, a couple of California utility companies are helping finance tens of thousands new outlets in apartment and workplace parking lots. Look for other utilities to join them, this is a new market for utilities.

        Curbside charging is already being installed at a small scale. If we know how then it’s just a matter of keeping up with demand.


  • I beg to differ about the price range of vehicles that this will compete against. Yes, people who are looking for cars ranging in price from $35K to $70K will be able to find a Model 3 at the same price point that is competitive. But you also have to consider tax credits, rebates and operational costs, not to mention what might happen if gasoline prices return to what they were a few years ago. With federal and state incentives, you can include $25K in your price range.

    For somebody who spends $75/week on gasoline and pays 10 cents/kWh for electricity, you can factor in a $3K annual savings, or $15K savings over the life of a loan. So when monthly expenses for car payments and fuel are factored in, you will find people who would spend more on loan payments plus gasoline for a $15K car than they would for loan payments plus electricity for a Model 3, not to mention ongoing savings in fuel once the loan is paid off. So realistically, people looking to buy a car ranging anywhere from $15K to $70K might find a Model 3 more favorable than the competition.

    Let me sum it up with a little math that can be verified by using any online loan calculator. A $15,000 five year loan will have payments of over $256. Add $300 in gasoline, and you are at $556, vs $427 for the $25K Tesla loan, and perhaps $50/month in electricity. For this example, I used a 1% interest rate, which is about what you can get from a credit union for an EV rate. In real life, the rate, and thus the payment, would be higher for the ICE. So when I put $15K at the bottom of the list, I have to concede that it could actually be lower. When you consider that I used a scenario that could save another $15K if the car were kept for another five years after the loan got paid off, you can see where this is going. There are going to be people who are shopping for any new car at any price who might find a Model 3 more favorable.

    • $300 is a lot to pay for gas. Even at $3/gallon, which is a lot nowadays, that equates to 100 gallons. A 15K car doing 25 miles/gallon, which too is very conservative, would go 2,500 miles on that budget, or 30,000 miles/year. Sorry, but that is not typical. As for electricity cost, at 12c/kWh, and 4 miles/kWh, that much driving would cost you $75/month, not $50. You also did not factor in taxes. Generally speaking, I agree that an EV is cheaper to own and operate, but comparing a Tesla to a run-of-the-mill Toyota Corolla is a stretch.

      • Half of all US Tesla sales are in California where $3/gallon gas is common and it’s often higher. Electricity is about 10 cents/kWh for EV rates, so it’s not a stretch to find somebody who would spend $75/week on gasoline, and that was far more true two years ago when gasoline was more expensive. At those prices, it comes down to about $3600/year for gasoline vs $600/year for electricity.

        Gasoline prices could go down further, but electricity rates aren’t going up and aren’t volatile. If gasoline came down to a dollar a gallon, the costs might be break even. But with $10K in tax savings, it would be unlikely they could ever go low enough to be cheaper than electricity. Without factoring in tax incentives, gasoline would still need to drop to a dollar a gallon to break even. But that wouldn’t mean an EV would be more expensive. If people like a Tesla better than another car, there would still be no advantage to buy anything else to save money. On the other hand, with electricity prices where they are, if gas went down even more, it would still make little difference. If gas dropped to 50 cents a gallon, and a person could pay $300/year for gasoline instead of $600/year for electricity, people might look at the Tesla compared to another car and ask if the Tesla is worth the extra $300/year. So it wouldn’t cost many sales.

        You need to look at real numbers and also factor in supercharger use, and you will find that my numbers are representative of potential customers. With your numbers for gasoline, a person would pay $150/month or about $9000 over a the course of a five year ownership period, assuming 15,000 miles per year. Add the $10K in tax incentives, and that’s still $19,000 in costs compared to about $3000, so there’s a 16,000 advantage. So comparing it to a $19K car would still be reasonable.

        Before you start saying “that’s not typical,” keep in mind that I was talking about the range of customers and the range of cars that the Tesla would be compared to. For some customers, it would be a better deal than a $19,000 car. Unless you want to argue that nobody in the US spends $75/week in gasoline and that no parts of the US have gas prices above $3/gallon and that EV rates don’t exist, you simply can’t make a case that there aren’t customers who would be better off with a Tesla than some cars in the price ranges I gave. If you take somebody who drives twice as much, the rest is road trips, and superchargers were feasible, a $15000 new car would be a worse deal. And there are some people in that situation.

        • I stood in line for a Model 3 on the 31st. I drive 40,000 in Southern California –186 miles a day round trip commuting to and from work. An outlier, for sure. But I’m not the only one.
          Before I swapped my petro-mobile for my CNG Civic, I was paying $32/day, $640/month for gas. With CNG Civic it’s now $12/day. That difference makes the monthly car payments.

          With the Tesla 3, I’m guessing the electricity will cost me $3/day. I will need the big battery.
          How much battery? How much range? How much cost?
          Clearly, I will accept the increased cost for the big battery option.

        • I agree with your sentiment, but I don’t think that your rosy numbers are helpful. You seem to assume that an EV at price X compares to an ICEV at the same price X. Value judgment is very subjective, especially in the higher end products, so leaving Tesla Model S and X aside, I’d say that is not yet the case in the more plebeian spheres, at least not for most people (who typically discount such things as environmental friendliness, which BTW, I do not). For example, I own a 2014 Volt. After tax credit, it came down to about $25K, which I think is a good price point to compete against similarly equipped and performing ICE cars. If I hadn’t caught the EV bug, I probably would have been looking at a Golf GTI, or something like that.

          Tesla is promising a lot of car for $35K, and it remains to be seen whether they can deliver, but I only go with what is currently offered (Volt, Leaf, i3, etc). IMO, all of these cars still need the tax credit to compete with their ICE counterparts. I think their sales numbers bear that out.

          • Their sales numbers do bear it out, and Tesla’s show that they can compete well against other vehicles in the segment when you look at the base price without tax credits. The Model 3 is being priced so it’s competitive with target vehicles at the same price.

            I know somebody with an e-golf and he likes it. The tax credit was a big factor. I think the same is true with the vehicles you mentioned and many if not most people wouldn’t have bought them otherwise. But there are many satisfied owners, and the point of the credits is so there will be a critical mass, after which people will see them as mainstream. Then they will have to compete on price alone, or compete on price with cost of ownership factored in.

            My numbers aren’t meant to be rosy. They are meant to represent some drivers to show that the spectrum is quite big. I can’t say what percentage they are and I never said they are anything close to typical. But they aren’t rare, and there will be sales to people who will find it cheaper to drive a Model 3 than any other new non-EV.

      • There are very few cars that are available as a new purchase for $15,000 or less. I think it more likely that someone spending $15,000 for a car would be getting something that is ‘new to them’ — a used car. Tesla Motors is not in the used car business — aside from the Certified Pre-Owned vehicles of their own marque that they offer. It will be some time before a $15,000 used Model S, Model X, or Model ☰ will be available to anyone.

        Let’s face it, people who would buy a $15,000 used vehicle are likely to get something that cost $30,000 or more when new. And something that got significantly worse fuel economy than a Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, or Nissan Versa. And even those only have a combined fuel economy rating of between 30 MPG and 32 MPG. A 2011 BMW 328i only got 22 MPG when new, and would certainly have lost some efficiency over the last five years. See how it compares to other cars here:

        FuelEconomy-dot-gov: FIAT 500e, BMW 328i, AUDI A4, Mercedes-Benz C300

        Per the EPA’s website, fuel costs in the BMW are $2,500 more over the course of five years than ‘the average’ new car.

  • It makes sense people would prefer Supercharging over autonomous driving. If you think about it, there is a residual fear from the range anxiety fear cxmpaing of a few years ago. Autonomous driving is a still relatively new concept and one which most people don’t understand, or even want. They haven’t gotten to the bottom of the issue at hand, yet.

    Excellent dig into the Model 3 take.

    • It’s hard to make the case that most Model 3 customers wouldn’t want autonomous driving when the article shows that almost 87% are willing to pay for it as an optional feature. It’s not a matter of preferring one over the other. The overwhelming majority prefer having both. A small minority doesn’t want autopilot (not really autonomous driving) and an even smaller minority doesn’t want supercharging.

      When it comes to real life usage though, it will likely be very different. The percentage of people who use autopilot will be higher than the percentage of people who use superchargers. They will have cars capable of both, but not everybody takes long trips.

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