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Published on May 7th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan


Delivery Target = 2017 For All Tesla Model 3 Orders Made Before Unveiling (Elon Musk Tweets)

May 7th, 2016 by  

Elon Musk has taken to Twitter again to thrill and dazzle us. A couple of days ago, he tweeted that “Tesla is increasing the production ramp as fast as possible, but I’d recommend ordering a Model 3 soon if you want 2018 delivery.” This is a reiteration of something he said on the quarterly financials call with investors.

But early this morning, @LifeOfRockstar tried to get some more details, tweeting, “ya think those of us who ordered pre reveal will see it late 2017?”

Elon replied in his concise, hopeful-yet-cautious way: “I think so.”

Gotta love that.

That’s >100,000 affordable, long-range electric cars … in 2017.

Well, we think. The thing is, the way production will be prioritized is locations close to the factories first — USA, and especially California. That helps with working out any bugs that might crop up in production. But that also makes it unclear if Elon’s response was just regarding US reservations or all reservations across the globe. @ElecVehicleGuy tweeted for confirmation, but there’s no response to that one yet.

Naturally, someone (@jason_zadroga) asked about what many of us have been waiting to hear: What’s the reservation count now? Is it over 500,000? Again, we have no response at this point in time. Maybe Musk is busy getting his ~6 hrs of sleep.

Below are the core tweets and the full financials conference call (yes, updated) if you want more details. Of course, if you want even more details, you can try tweeting Elon. It’s a bit of a mystery how his approach to Twitter is, though. Far more people tweet questions (and comments) than get responses, but he doesn’t just respond to well known people with large numbers of Twitter followers. In fact, he often responds to people with a tiny number of followers. It seems highly unlikely that he goes through most of the tweets sent his way, but maybe he has someone doing so for him and highlighting the ones that seem worth a response. It seems more like a natural flow than that, but I’m not sure. (If you have insight on this, feel free to drop us a line.)

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Brooks Bridges

    We’re car number 350,000 roughly so we get one in 2018? But probably a reduced fed subsidy. Oh well, could be my last car so why not the best for the rest of my life? Passat lasted me 15 years. I would even spring for autopilot so even if senile I could still “drive” 🙂 Sorry, my sense of humor tends towards the macabre. Sure hope these predictions hold up.

    • jeffhre

      That’s exactly what I’m thinking – humor and all! Except we are at about car number 35,000 roughly.

  • NRG4All

    One point in the call that I appreciated was Elon’s comment about not putting so many “bells and whistles” on the Model 3. I’ve test driven the Model S twice and it is a great car, but has a lot of things that I really don’t want or need. Flush door handles don’t need motors and electronics to move out to greet you or to even sense your arrival, stuff like that. I want a car with a price of up to $60.000 or less, that will go 300 miles and that’s pretty well it.

  • Hi Zach, If I’m not mistaken, I think you have misinterpreted @jason_zadroga’s tweet. He asked for the current reservation count, and then he said 500,000 by 2018. I see those two comments as separate (and I believe that we are still waiting to see if the 400,000 milestone has been surpassed). I believe that Jason was connecting Elon Musk’s comment about 500,000 cars being produced in 2018 and that maybe the count of Model 3s could get to 500,000 by 2018. I could be incorrect of course.

  • mikgigs

    The only way tesla could do that is to merge the two models 3 and s into one. So virtually, on the second unveiling i am expecting him to say: infact model 3 is model s with different battery sizes. Otherwise, causa perduta.

    • Joe Viocoe

      Well, all of the tooling and equipment used to make the Model S, can just be moved to the Model 3 line. Only body stamping would need modification… everything else is just robot programming.

      • John

        I am sure all of the tooling for Model S is fully utilized – much more will be needed for higher model 3 volumes

        • Joe Viocoe

          Yes, but there is plenty of factory floor left. Of course Tesla is looking to buy more of the same tools and equipment to ramp up.
          The point is… they know they need to spend lots of capital to buy more of the same robots, etc for the Model 3. And they do not need to make a choice of producing ‘either or’.

    • Joe Viocoe

      It would be near impossible to just make the Model 3 as a Model S with a smaller pack.
      Cheaper materials, and a 20% smaller car, is needed just to get the cost down.

  • Ross

    At this rate they’ll be delivering my right hand drive Model 3 too early. My present car is just over 3 years old and I was hoping to save for another 2 – 3 years for the Model 3.

    • Yes, 1 of my reservations would be too early too! 😛 But I’m sure there will be an option to defer. Or we’ll see about a workaround.

      • Ross

        Zach, Have you heard if Tesla is likely to take trade-ins when it comes to making the order?

      • brunurb

        There was a mention in the official Model 3 reservation terms and conditions about the ability to defer up to a year. I may need to take advantage of that myself if mine is ready before the end of 2018 (which it sounds like it could be). I was banking on the typical Tesla first production run delays!

  • phineasjw

    I think this also hinges on the U.S. tax credit.

    Just regarding U.S. shipments: how many EVs will Tesla ship (without the Model 3) by the end of 2017? 125,000? 150,000? (Zach do you know this number?)

    If it’s in the range I listed, then that number meshes well with potential 2017 Q4 Model 3 shipments, which, if Tesla has full control of the situation and keeps their word, would ideally cap at 199,999 U.S. on Dec. 31st. [It doesn’t need to be this exact, obviously.]

    But, the difference of shipping their 200,000 U.S. car on Dec 31st vs Jan 1st is 3 whole months of the tax credit — an enormous difference for just 24 hours.

    So, long story short, if their production is humming along in Q4 2017, Tesla may divert shipments elsewhere in late December (Canada?), or they may shut down production for a week or two. Food for thought.

    • just_jim

      Couldn’t they produce and not ship until 2018, and consider those cars not ‘sold’?

      • phineasjw

        They could, but what would be the point of building/storing cars when you could just sell and ship them to reservation holders in other countries?

        • Zé M. S.

          Maximize the number of people who get the rebates in the US.

    • Chris Boylan did a terrific job on this:

      Though, we should update a couple points now that Elon has updated things.

    • Right. With all of that in mind, maybe Elon is planning to ship the early oversees reservations in 2017 as well..

    • We need to vote out of Congress the big oil/coal/gas incumbents. That’s not so likely to happen. The alternative is to build a formidable EV lobby.

    • Really it’s anyone’s guess when Tesla may hit, or get close to 200K cars delivered in the US. I made my predictions last month, but Tesla’s new stated goal to reach 500K deliveries a year in 2018 throws a bit of a monkey wrench into my predictions. But in a good way. My estimates put them around 160K to 170K deliveries at the end of 2017. At this point, I think it is certainly possible that they will approach 200K toward the end of 2017 and will deliver car #200K in the US in early January 2018 and will crank out as many Model 3s, Model Ses and Model Xes from then until June 30th to maximize the full tax credit for as many US buyers as possible. Let the games begin!

      • phineasjw

        Yes, I read your forecast after Zach re-linked it. Very nice.

        So the interesting thing is that 160-170K would leave them only ~40K headroom for Model 3 in 2017. And, Musk has already said that they’re aiming to ship 100-200K Model 3s in 2017. If that happens, it would likely blow-up the January 2018 200K magic number.

        Possible scenarios:

        1. Production runs on the “aggressive” schedule, and they ship 30-40K cars in Q3 2017. Thus, the 200K rollover hits at the beginning of Q4. Production ramp goes full blast in October 2017.

        2. Production slips, and they only ship 30-40K Model 3s in 2017. Car #200,000 ships in January 2018. Production goes full blast in January 2018.

        3. Forget about aiming car #200,000 for the start of a particular quarter — Telsa has enough things to worry about.

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