Model 3

How will Tesla Determine Model 3 Reservation Priorities?

Tesla Model 3 will be available on March 31st

Tesla will begin accepting in-store Model 3 reservations on March 31st but amidst the growing aura of excitement and anticipation leading up to the event, many within the community are questioning how the company will determine reservation priority.

Will Tesla take into account Time Zones when reservations are placed? How do I ensure that my reservation is placed into an early queue?

Those are some of the questions that hopeful Tesla buyers – especially those that have been priced out of the much costlier Model S and Model X – have been asking after having waited several years for the opportunity to purchase Tesla’s promise of a $35,000 Model 3 before incentives.

Some contributors within the forum community suggest that Tesla should factor in Time Zone offsets so that an order placed at 9:01 am in New York will receive the same priority in the reservation queue as an order placed at 9:01 am on San Francisco. Others think stores in the East coast shouldn’t open until noon, 11 am in Chicago, 10 am in Denver, and 9 am in San Diego. That way, people all across America will get an equal opportunity to have a low reservation number.

All of this angst fails to take into account a few things we know about how Tesla builds its cars, based upon its history with the Model S and Model X. Production at the Fremont factory is batched by like-kind configurations and geography in order to maintain the highest level of efficiency. For better or worse, that usually means cars destined for the West coast get manufactured first. Tesla also likes to fill a delivery truck with cars going to the same location whenever possible to avoid moving cars around en route. It’s more likely that 8 cars for buyers in Los Angeles will get built together and put on the same truck before a low reservation number car gets produced for someone in Aroostook County, Maine.

Also, keep in mind that Elon announced during the Q4 earnings call the most heavily optioned cars will be built first. So a person who plunks down a deposit on an entry level, no frills car will wait longer that the customer who ticks every box in the Model 3 Design Studio even if the reservation is received later.

More than a few people have questioned the purpose of taking reservations only at Tesla stores on the 31st and then opening the process to online orders the following day. Presumably, Tesla hopes to generate some media buzz if the line to reserve a Model 3 stretches out the front door, around the corner, and down the block. The company has not offered any explanation for the bifurcated ordering process.

Speculation is rampant about how many reservations Tesla will get on day one. The best guess is — a lot.

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