Pre-sales for Tesla 3 break records

When Elon Musk took the stage at Tesla’s design studio last Thursday night to introduce the Model 3, the company already had 115,000 bo...


When Elon Musk took the stage at Tesla’s design studio last Thursday night to introduce the Model 3, the company already had 115,000 bookings for the highly anticipated all-electric car. Delivery won’t even start until end of 2017, and that’s if Tesla stays on schedule.

By the following afternoon, the number of reservations had shot up to 232,000, exceeding all expectations of analysts and Musk himself. Before this, analysts were doubtful that Tesla would be able to sell enough Model 3’s to help Musk realise his dreams of a mass electric car market. It was certainly inconceivable that a product selling for US$35,000 would get that many orders a day after launch, especially as customers would not receive it for another 18 months more. But that didn’t stop them from joining the long lines snaking around the buildings of dealerships.

The US$1,000 deposit required for the booking is refundable, but even if only half converts into actual sales, Tesla can look forward to at least US$4 billion in revenue. The basic version sells for US$35,000 and can go up to US$60,000 for added features, like larger battery for longer range. The base model has a range of 215 miles on each charge, and zooms from zero to 60 in less than six seconds (“We don’t make slow cars,” Musk boasted).

All variants will have autopilot safety and other semi-autonomous features. Five can sit quite comfortably in the spacious interior and the rear passengers can look up through a single piece of glass that makes up the rear roof. There are both front and rear boot spaces, since there isn’t an internal combustion engine to accommodate.

The interior is even more sparse than earlier Tesla models, but features a big centre floating screen: 
 

Everything we’ve seen is promising, but Musk has to figure out a way to ramp up production, amidst heavy cash outflows and continuing losses. He promises to increase sales from 50,000 last year to 500,000 by 2020, and that’s a very ambitious goal with no clear plans yet on how to churn the cars out faster. Musk tweeted: “Definitely going to need to rethink production planning.” Yup, you better get on it.

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