All Tesla Model 3 customers in the US and Canada have been invited by the company to pay their $2500 (around £1900) confirmation deposits.
Customers are usually invited to configure their car when their build slot approaches, and the $2500 deposit is paid at this stage. Now, reports the Detroit News, all US and Canada customers have been invited to pay the deposit and configure their cars.
The move, which has prompted mixed reactions from analysts and critics, with suggestions that the production ramp-up means that the end of the wait is in sight for those having paid their deposits, along with the suggestion that it could be a fundraising exercise as the second quarter draws to a close.
The brand recently has ramped up Model 3 production on a third production line at its Fremont factory - the new line being a temporary structure that was set up in less than three weeks, according to boss Elon Musk.
Production, according to Bloomberg, has hit 3400 units per week, but is short of the 5000 per week targeted. A Tesla spokesman said: "Tesla has always required this deposit for all of its vehicle orders, including Model S and Model X, given that we build cars to our customers’ specifications, and that the deposit goes towards the purchase price of the vehicle."
The temporary production facility has allowed Tesla to start building the first all-wheel drive versions of the Model 3. This variant is one of the last to be built due to the company’s production troubles, although production of the entry-level $35,000 car has not begun yet.
It’s not yet known how long the temporary production line will be operational for or if it will be gradually converted into a full-time production line.
Tesla’s other production facility in Nevada is planned to become the largest building in the world, Musk announced at the brand’s annual shareholder meeting, with large-scale developments planned over the next five years.
This is likely due to the planned introduction of a C-segment hatchback model, which could become the brand’s best seller. It’s expected to be the cheapest car Tesla produces upon arrival, undercutting the $35,000 Model 3 to compete with the upcoming Volkswagen ID. The as-yet-unnamed hatchback will arrive within the next five years, Musk said.
Musk plans more factories globally to meet growing demand in non-US markets, with the next Gigafactory almost certain to be set up in Shanghai, China. A European production facility has also long been planned but will not arrive before the Chinese plant.