Tesla will run out of orders at the end of 2018?

A friend ordered a Tesla Model 3 five weeks ago. It is ready for delivery in Florida today. If we assume a two-week transit time to get from The Land of Virtue (TM) to The Land of Permanent Alimony, the factory backlog is only three weeks.

This is a “performance” model with an after-tax-credit price of about $70,000 (actually less because she is getting free super charging for life). Maybe Tesla will still have a backlog of orders for the basic Model 3, but I wonder if they will soon simply run out of orders and customers. If they’ve already sold a Tesla to every virtuous American, what then?


  • “The Least Attractive Cars for Sale in 2018” (Car and Driver) puts the Tesla 3 among the ugliest 10, along with the Toyota Prius and Mitsubishi Mirage. “Sure, the Model 3’s headlights and taillights and the shape of its side-window openings vaguely resemble those of the unassailably attractive Model S. Too bad they’re applied to a tall, bulbously shaped body caught somewhere between a car and a crossover. In lieu of a grille, the faceless front end features a grille-shaped scallop in its bumper that resembles a large dent.”

19 thoughts on “Tesla will run out of orders at the end of 2018?

  1. I am expecting certain upscale communities to ban gasoline cars. They can already keep poor people from living close to them. Now they won’t even be able to visit!

  2. There is a massive rush of orders right now because federal tax credit for $7500 gets reduced to something like $2000 at the end of the year.

    Only crazy people buy Model 3 – if you are spending this amount on car, you are really not that price- sensitive in this range, and might as well get X or S, which are way more practical cars.

  3. I am concerned about size of the market, as well. I think the demand at $35k would be quite large, but at $49k-55k for what amounts to a relatively small car, compared to the SUVs most Americans want, and I think the market is quite limited. We’ll see.

  4. Folks: Even if electric cars continue to gain in popularity, what advantage does Tesla have in building them? Can Tesla make a car like the Nissan Leaf, for example, at a lower cost than Nissan? Audi has great autonomous driving capabilities. Does Tesla have a cost advantage compared to whatever Audi is spending to build the e-tron?

  5. Tesla has their own enormous battery factory. They also have a massive head start in infrastructure. While the other car manufacturers, local governments, and charging companies all jokey to develop standards, Tesla now has 1344 nationwide supercharger charging locations. That’s a big deal. Perhaps most importantly, they have a prestige brand. That turned out well for Apple.

  6. Some thoughts here. Elon Musk is an inventor, not an industrialist, more like Leonardo Davinci than Henry Ford. He need to focus on what he is good at, inventing, and small scale production, and leave the high volume production to another company’s. Tesla needs to license battery tech and the name. They need someone like VW or BMW or maybe Nissan to actually build the entry level Tesla at low cost, and in volume.

  7. Fun fact: when the lads at Amazon’s “The Grand Tour” (nee “Top Gear”) crashed a Rimac electric super car while filming their tv show, it burned for 5 days because its thousands of battery cells kept re-igniting.

  8. Electric car buyers want cars that are unconventional looking (ugly) so that others know that they are not driving a polluting gas powered car. What is the point of virtue signalling if others cannot detect your virtue? The ugliness is like a banner – hey, look at me, I am virtuous, I drive an electric car!

    This is the same reason that Prius has been much more successful than other hybrid vehicles. You can produce a hybrid version of almost any car that is just as virtuous as a Prius but if the only detectable exterior difference is a little hybrid sticker then it’s not worth the price premium. But driving a Prius makes a statement to your friends.

    Saab used to be like this back in the day. The weird styling was a feature, not a bug. Once they got rid of the weird styling then Saabs were just another car (and not a particularly good one) and sales tanked.

    Almost all cars today are targeted toward a niche audience. The important thing is that your car is appealing to the buyers in your target niche, not to everyone. There are whole categories of vehicle out there that professional auto critics hate (almost all “compact utility vehicles”, pickup trucks for people who are not farmers) but the actual customers love them and they sell like hot cakes, so the car makers don’t care what the critics say.

  9. I saw a Model 3 here in Central FL over the weekend. It is really ugly. No way I would pay $70K for this car regardless of its virtue-signalling potential. An Accord (or Camry/whatever) and gas for 10 years is a better value with a bigger car. I haven’t kept up with the news. Do power plants still belch emissions from coal, or have we found a way to make electricity a zero-emissions business?

  10. Wind+Storage is cheaper than coal based electricity generation. https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/1/16/16895594/colorado-renewable-energy-future
    Tesla S, 300K miles in 2 years – saved $60k on Fuel & Maintenance. https://electrek.co/2017/08/30/tesla-model-s-hits-300000-miles-in-just-2-years-saving/ Hello transportation as a service.
    Tony Seba’s “Clean Disruption – Energy & Transportation” is ringing true since it’s cheaper than existing alternatives https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0

  11. I think @Jackie has a good point, about the virtue signaling and the styling cues. I always wondered why so many electric cars are so incredibly ugly and/or weird looking (Mirai, Prius, BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, etc). This is the best explanation I’ve seen so far.

  12. @Phil Seaman

    Given the cheap renewable energy you described, we expect the German electricity rates to dip and become cheaper than here in the US?

  13. Tesla has a real dilemma if the premium orders fall away, since they admit they cannot produce a profitable car at the $35k entry point (with the huge backlog).

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