When Will Your Tesla Model 3 Be Delivered? It Depends

By · September 15, 2017

Tesla Model 3

The first deliveries of the Tesla Model 3 occurred in late July 2017, when 30 employees received the keys to company’s new small electric car. Yet, for the nearly half-million reservation-holders who are eager to take ownership of their own Model 3, there will be months of waiting. The most flexible buyers—those who placed early reservations and who are willing to compromise on desired features—could wait only a couple months. On the other hand, if you aren’t at the top of the waiting list and if insist on buying a specific model such as the 220-mile $35,000 variant (or if dual-motor all-wheel-drive is a must), you might not get your Model 3 until late 2018.

Tesla is following a so-called S-curve for production, producing very models in August and September to make sure bugs and defects are discovered, before significantly ramping up production in October and November. The company is also saying, “We can only go as fast as our slowest supplier or production process (and the Model 3 has almost 10,000 unique parts).”

First things first: you need to place a reservation. And if you’re only getting around to it now, then you probably won’t get a car until late 2018 or early 2019.

If you are already on the list of reservation-holders, it doesn’t mean that you have actually placed an order. It’s only after you receive an email invitation from Tesla to configure your car that an official order is placed. When will you get your invitation? That depends on when you placed your reservation. The list is reported to be a half-million strong so patience is required.

On that exciting day when the email invitation arrives, you’ll follow a link to the Tesla website where you will configure your Model 3. If your desired features are not available at the time of receiving your invitation, then you can opt to wait until later to place your order. For most of 2017, the $35,000 220-mile version will not be available. So if your name comes up this year—and you have your heart set on that affordable model—you will need to delay your order until early 2018.

In the meantime, for almost all of 2017, Tesla is only building the loaded 310-mile version that sells for $49,000. There are additional caveats:

  • The first units will be rear-wheel-drive—with the more desirable two-motor all-wheel-drive version not arriving until summer 2018 at the earliest. (According to Model3Tracker.info, twice as many reservation-holders want the AWD version compared to the rear-wheel-drive Model 3.)
  • These top-spec models will come with a glass roof and upgraded sound system.
  • You will have a choice of wheel size, exterior color, and Autopilot features.
  • You will also have to be comfortable with the standard black interior to place an early order. Additional options, like a white interior, are not expected until 2018.

When the 220-mile $35,000 does become available in early 2018, it will carry standard features, such as self-driving hardware, Supercharging capability, a rear glass roof, a 15-inch touchscreen display, Wi-Fi and LTE internet connectivity, free over-the-air software updates, full LED lighting, and an 8-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty. All Model 3s comes standard with the hardware necessary to charge at a Tesla Supercharger. A small fee—not yet announced—will be added for the privilege.

Here are three other things to keep in mind:

  • A test-drive might not be possible until early 2018.
  • There might be a future performance version of the Model 3, but pricing and the timing for availability has not yet been announced.
  • International Model 3 deliveries won’t begin until late 2018—starting with left-hand drive markets. Buyers in right-hand drive markets won’t get cars until 2019.

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