Currently reading: Tesla Model 3 sold out for first 12 months of production
Delivery times for Tesla's mass-market EV have been pushed back to mid-2018 or later; orders now equate to more than $14 billion of future sales
Sam Sheehan
4 mins read
19 October 2016

Tesla Model 3 cars have now sold out for the first 12 months of production, as confirmed by company boss Elon Musk on his Twitter account.

Musk's tweet was a response to news that new Model 3 orders won't reach customers until at least the middle of 2018. The Tesla website changed the words 'Deliveries begin late 2017' to 'Delivery estimate for new reservations is mid-2018 or later' below the order button, meaning the delivery time change applies to models ordered from here on.

For cars ordered before this, the earlier delivery date still stands.

The US brand has received around half a million deposits for its Model 3, making it the company's biggest-selling product yet. It is thought that this high demand is the biggest contributor to the delayed delivery time, although Tesla is yet to confirm this.

Total orders now represent more than $14 billion (£9.95bn) worth of potential sales. This would mean the firm's Gigafactory, which has an expected annual output of 500,000 batteries a year, would use the vast majority of its production capacity fo fulfil Model 3 orders.

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Record-breaking sales

A staggering 276,000 deposits were put down on the Model 3 in the first 72 hours of the order books being opened, with 117,000 of those orders placed before the car had been unveiled.

The Model 3, unveiled at a launch event in California earlier this year, is the fourth all-electric model to come from Tesla and is the affordable car that company owner Elon Musk says he set out to build from the very beginning.

Like Tesla’s other models, the all-new Model 3 boasts some impressive headline figures. Although exact specifications have not yet been confirmed, the car is claimed, in its most basic form, to be capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in less than 6.0sec and to be able to eke out more than 250 miles from one charge.


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It can do this while seating five adults "comfortably", said Musk at the car's launch. He also said that no combustion-engined car of this size could offer as much cabin space. Thanks to the lack of a combustion engine, front-row passengers sit farther forward than normal, freeing up more space for those behind. A single-pane panoramic sunroof also gives the cabin a more open feel.

As with the Model S, there are two boot compartments – one at the front and one at the back.

Musk has made some bold claims about safety, saying it has come first in the car’s development and adding that he expects the Model 3 to be awarded five stars in every safety category. All Model 3s will come with Tesla’s latest autopilot feature as standard. They will also have a tablet-style, dash-mounted infotainment system, much like that of the Model S.

Prices start at $35,000 (about £25,000), although this is expected to rise for UK cars once import costs are accounted for, bringing the price nearer to £35,000.

The Model 3 will rival the likes of the BMW 3 SeriesMercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4.

All Model 3s will come with access to Tesla’s network of Supercharger stations, but unlike Model S owners, Model 3 customers will have to pay for their usage. Currently there are 3600 Superchargers worldwide, but Tesla wants to double this number by the end of 2017, while exceeding 7000 end-of-destination chargers by the same date.

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There will also be more than 441 Tesla servicing stations across the globe by the end of 2017.

In anticipation of the Model 3’s growing demand, Tesla wants to build 500,000 batteries a year. Its newly built Gigafactory, which has the largest footprint of any building in the world, will produce more lithium ion batteries than all other lithium ion battery production facilities combined.

Elon Musk on the Model 3:

“Why are we making the Model 3? Because we want to accelerate the transition to a future of sustainable transport,” Musk said at the car’s launch event.

“The world is now at record high CO2 levels and we recently passed 400 parts per million of CO2. To address this, we came up with the Tesla secret masterplan. It was originally a trilogy; now it’s a four-part trilogy.

“With any technology, it takes many iterations before you can make it low in price and high in volume. The Roadster was a low-volume, high-price car, and the Model S and X are mid-volume, mid-price products. The Model 3 is therefore our high-volume, affordable-price model. It’s only been possible to reach this after the prior models.”

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Join the debate


1 April 2016
Looks like a game changer - Fast, minimal running costs, spacious, lots of boot space, low C of G should translate into superb handling - what's not to like? I think its bland styling lets it down somewhat. To complement its technology, it ought to look as innovative and original as large Citroens: Traction Avant, DS, CX, XM, C6

1 April 2016
It'll have to cover 250 acres to beat the Aalsmeer Flower Auction building. Can that really be right? Were it to be a square building each side would measure substantially more than two miles.

1 April 2016
Bullfinch wrote:

It'll have to cover 250 acres to beat the Aalsmeer Flower Auction building. Can that really be right? Were it to be a square building each side would measure substantially more than two miles.

Dunno how you've come up with that more than 2 miles per side figure, the flower auction building is only 740m x 700m. Therefore it'd only need to be 0.75km on each side to have a larger footprint...


1 April 2016
I see the Tesla III styling as clean and elegant, not bland at all.

It also provides me with huge relief from the meaningless swoops and slashes adorning the bodywork of so many competitors.

The interior too, is calm and quiet - just right for the likes of me.

A pity though that the III won't reach the UK for so long - I'd lay down a deposit otherwise.


1 April 2016 my opinion the greatest put-off by many of the current (ha-ha) crop of ev/hybrids is the wilfully different styling: i3, Pious, etc. By shouting "we're different" they smack of trying too hard, which is never an attractive trait in any walk of life.

1 April 2016
Sorry, abkq, but I have to agree with TS7 and add that this is, IMHO, a fantastically clean, elegant and beautifully resolved design. It is not just leagues better than the wilfully odd ev/hybrid competition, but most other cars of its size currently on sale. If its "real world" range turns out anything like the numbers claimed, then it should be a great success. Well done, Tesla, a fantastic achievement for a young company, which puts the large "legacy" manufacturers to shame. Perhaps NOT having a history of manufacturing internal combustion engined cars has enabled Tesla to take a truly "clean sheet" approach? One point of concern remains the capacity of countries' electricity infrastructures to generate and distribute the power required to charge a large number of ev's, should we see a step-change in sales of such vehicles.

1 April 2016
The last thing I want is for the Model 3 to look like a Prius !!! But in the best of all possible worlds the Model 3 would have the body of an Audi A2 (or a larger version of it). The batteries would be placed in its sandwich chassis and the absence of an engine up front means a short bonnet. The A2 of 1999 manages to look so much more modern than cars of 2016 !


1 April 2016
I agree with you about the hideous new Prius, but the upright look of the old A2 doesn't really get me going. If and when Tesla does a city car, then an elegant version might be on the cards. Meantime of course, the Tesla III will have twin-engine four wheel drive available, plus two boots (trunks) and room inside for my surfboard and/or (I hope) a bike.


1 April 2016
I agree with your concern re electricity generation capacity. This will become an issue as the number of EV's and PHEV's climb..... in the UK alone difficult decisions aren't far away already in terms of what we have to switch-off at peak times.
Personally I don't see this as a game changer, other than it is (possibly) cheaper. The shape isn't offensive unlike the awful i BMW's, but it isn't anything exciting....clean lines yes, but could be almost any generic Euro box.
The dashboard is just ridiculous....there is so much data now that humans interact best with buttons rather than touch screens in a moving vehicle, and as with a smart phone the screen will be unreadable in bright sunshine.
Of course not having an ICE heritage allows 'clean sheet' thinking.... but range will still continue to be an obstacle - 250 miles will not be achievable in cold climates, and the number of charging points Tesla are targeting is tiny on a global scale...7,000 by end of 2017, that's nothing compared to the infrastructure for Petrol.
Finally, just because 115,000 sheep (may) have ordered one in 24 hours (Apple has equally loyal buyers), doesn't make this car the new messiah.
For me personally, having driven an EV or two, it doesn't have any appeal at all, and besides I need 4x4's which are off-road capable so I wont ever be owning one.....Water and electricity don't mix!

2 April 2016
Daniel Joseph wrote:

One point of concern remains the capacity of countries' electricity infrastructures to generate and distribute the power required to charge a large number of ev's, should we see a step-change in sales of such vehicles.

Surge pricing. They already do this to encourage high energy use businesses to switch off at certain peak times in the day. There is already plenty of excess capacity overnight, when a lot of owners are likely to charge their cars anyway. In the longer term, they will build more power stations.


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