Tesla is beginning to offer its first Model 3 test drives in the San Francisco Bay Area to US customers that placed a reservation deposit on the all-electric compact sedan. The Silicon Valley electric carmaker chaperoned Model 3 test drives on Friday from its Dublin-Amador Plaza, Corte Madera, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto showroom stores, and expected to extend the test drive program to its San Jose, Burlingame, San Francisco, and Palo Alto store in the Stanford Shopping Center soon after.
The first Model 3 test drives in the Bay Area come ahead of Tesla’s nationwide summer rollout, where Model 3 reservation holders will be able to set appointments for test drives from Tesla’s official website.
Tesla’s test drives are available for individuals with a valid driver’s license who are 21 years old and above. If the Tesla showroom is located in a shopping mall, individuals are first required to check in at the showroom and given a brief overview before being directed to a Tesla product specialist. Tesla’s official website states that test drives are usually 15 minutes long to demonstrate the capabilities and performance of its electric cars, although anecdotes from the online community state that Tesla’s test drives could, at times, extend well beyond the 15-minute mark.
Considering that Tesla still has hundreds of thousands of Model 3 customers and high demand to experience the vehicle first-hand, it’s presumed that Model 3 test drives would be held to a strict time-boxed schedule.
Although first test drive vehicles in the Bay Area are the non-Performance variant, the company will introduce Model 3 Performance into its test drive fleet soon.
Model 3 Performance order page progressively rolling out to reservation holders over the next week or so. It’s a really great car. Not saying that lightly. Test drive is a mindwarp. Aiming to have these as our first test drive Model 3 cars in stores within 4 to 6 week’s.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 3, 2018
Having the Model 3 Performance as the test drive units for the compact electric car could be seen as a strategic move for Tesla, which is currently attempting to hit profitability this third quarter. The Model 3 Performance, after all, is the top tier variant of the electric car, with the vehicle starting at $64,000 before options. With all options including white seats, the “Performance Package,” premium paint, Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, the Model 3 Performance costs $80,000, a significant premium over the vehicle’s base price of $35,000. With this in mind, every reservation holder that upgrades their order to the Model 3 Performance after test driving the car is another drop in the bucket for Tesla’s revenue this Q3 2018.
Tesla has managed to hit its ever-elusive target of producing 5,000 Model 3 per week by the end of the second quarter. With this milestone achieved, Tesla finally seems ready to start taking in more reservations for the vehicle. As of date, Tesla expects deliveries for reservations of the Model 3 to be delivered in 2-4 months. Orders for the Long Range RWD variant are listed with an estimated delivery time of 3-5 months, and reservations for the $35,000 base model with a standard battery are listed with an estimated delivery time of 6-9 months.