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So far the demand for Model 3 is twice what Tesla expected in preorders

Apr 03, 20164 mins
Computers and PeripheralsData and Information Security

By Saturday, 253,000 people had preordered a Tesla Model 3.

Tesla’s Model 3 may have changed the world for the better as it may bring “electric vehicles and autonomous driving to the masses.” The $35,000 Model 3 zooms from 0-60 mph in under six seconds, can travel “at least 215 miles on a single charge,” has a five-star safety rating, comes with autopilot safety features, supercharging capabilities, seats five adults comfortably, has two trunks, a 15-inch touchscreen panel, and more. A Bloomberg article claiming the Model 3 does indeed live up to the hype, added, “In the history of the automobile, this is definitely something we haven’t seen before.”

On Friday, Elon Musk said there had been 232,000 orders. On Saturday, Musk tweeted that 253,000 people had reserved a Model 3. The three-day total number and total number for a week are coming. As of Friday, Bloomberg reported, “There are now more than twice as many reservations for the Model 3 as total sales of all previous Tesla cars combined.”

Costa Samaras, a Carnegie Mellon assistant professor, said, “The Model 3 may have sold more units in one day than the entire U.S. plug-in auto industry in 2015.” Samaras tweeted a breakdown of the 116,000 electric cars sold in the USA during 2015; in 24 hours, Tesla presold 180,000.

Tesla didn’t expect the demand for Model 3 to be this high before “part two of the unveil.” Musk said the company expected about “1/4 to 1/2” of the preorders it received. During the unveil event online, Musk felt “fairly confident” that Model 3 EVs would start being delivered in late 2017. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to the Model 3 however, Tesla will have to “rethink production planning.”

Additionally, Musk said Tesla expected 20 to 30 people to wait in real-world lines, not hundreds. Tesla Motors tweeted an example of the “Longest line EVER.”

The people who did wait in line to order a Model 3 will receive a “token of appreciation” from Tesla.

The base model is nothing to scoff at, but by the time you add in options, Musk estimated the average car would sell for about $42,000. Yes, the base Model 3 comes equipped with Tesla Autopilot, but the Autopilot convenience feature upgrade costs $3,000 for other Tesla vehicles. Those features include: “traffic-aware cruise control, lane keeping with automatic steering, self-parking and automatic high/low beam headlights.” If you want to “Summon” your Model 3 from your phone, then that’s a price you’ll surely pay.

Regarding the $7,500 tax credit, Forbes suggested many Americans should not count on it as the “IRS is allowing the maximum $7,500 tax credits to be issued to the first 200,000 qualifying electric vehicle sales per automaker based on battery pack size.” In other words, as the “Model 3 rolls off the line and into driveways, there will be a race to claim those maximum tax credits.” It’s unclear to me if the first 200,000 will roll out to the first 200,000 customers as Tesla Motors said, “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.”

After hitting 200,000, the IRS may allow a lesser electric drive vehicle tax credit during the phase-out period: “50 percent of the credit if acquired in the first two quarters of the phase-out period and 25 percent of the credit if acquired in the third or fourth quarter of the phase-out period.”

Computerworld’s Lucas Mearian pointed out that the Model 3’s $35,000 price tag beats the sticker price for “other low-end luxury cars, such as the Mercedes C Class, with a starting sticker price of $38,950, and the Audi A4, which starts at $37,300.” BMW’s new I3 EV starts at $42,000 and gets 81 miles per full charge. The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV starts at $37,500 and can get 200 miles per charge.

It’s not just the price where Tesla beats the competition as it is supposed to be faster than other electric vehicles. For example, the Mercedes C can go from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds, but the Model 3 can go from 0-60 mph in under six seconds. Tesla will likely wow the world again when it reveals even more options and potential upgrades during part two of the unveil which Musk called “super next level.”

If you too are part of the Tesla lovefest and plan to preorder a Model 3, then you might not want to delay as Musk said, “the wait time is growing rapidly.”

If you did order online during the Model 3 unveil event, you likely received your confirmation email on April Fools’ Day. It might have been the one email you could count on not to be a prank that day.

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.