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Tesla will prioritize Model 3 reservations for current Tesla owners over non-owners

tesla model 3 event teaser

Tesla sent an email blast to owners and revealed a few more details about its Model 3 unveiling event and the reservation process for its highly anticipated mass market electric car. Aside from the obvious logistic details, the most interesting information that Tesla shared is that it will prioritize Model 3 reservations for current Tesla owners over non-owners.

In the email, Tesla wrote:

“As a current owner who has supported Tesla and our mission, your reservation will take priority and be placed ahead of non-owners”

This news follows our exclusive report that Tesla also plans to prioritize Model 3 reservations for employees. It now adds up to two groups of people who will have priority on the Model 3 reservation queue.

If there are two groups of people deserving of a preferential treatment here, it’s definitely the people making the cars and the early adopters who kept Tesla afloat long enough to be able to make its third generation vehicle, but it could also add up to a significant backlog.

Tesla has now around 15,000 employees worldwide and a base of over 100,000 owners.

Beyond creating a backlog before the public can get in around the world, the process will create a particularly interesting situation in the US where the $7500 Federal tax credit for electric vehicles is capped at 200,000 units sold per manufacturer. Tesla is expected to hit its limit in 2018, which means that an early reservation can help ensure the availability of the full tax credit the vehicle.Estimated and Projected cumulative Tesla Sales in the U.S.-1It could virtually ensure that US employees and Model S/X owners will have access to the $7,500 tax credit, if they are eligible of course. While depending on Tesla bringing the Model 3 to market on time, the rest of the public, even with a reservation, might not have access to the credit, or at least not the full credit.

Under the current law. once the  200,000 cap is reached, customers will have access to the full credit for a full quarter with no apparent limit on units. They will then receive $3,750 for the following 6 month. It will again go down to $1,875 for the following 6 months. That means that for most of 2019 Tesla buyers won’t likely have much federal incentive to buy cars. By 2020, the Federal Subsidy will have likely run out.

It is certainly shaping up to be a very important vehicle reservation process, and not only because it will be for a compelling long-range and relatively affordable electric vehicle.

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  1. Jens - 7 years ago

    On the one hand, I can understand Teslas reasoning to prefer previous backers.
    On the other hand: The only reason I did not “back” Tesla by buying a Model S is, that I can’t afford it. And I feel quite set aback by Tesla selling first to all those people already owning an S or X, instead of those, who are eager to get hold of a Tesla the first time.
    Secondly – though not as important for me in Europe – it means, that it will be the rich people, who profit from the tax credit, who do not need it. Not the average people.

    • Howard Simon Marks - 7 years ago

      Most of the people who own an S and an X are not going to be buying a 3. But some people who own an S will be buying a 3 for another family member many of those people are not rich. I actually don’t think a massive number of the high end car owners will be buying. I know two guys who will sell their S and get the top of the line version of the 3 because they want more range and a smaller more cosy car. People with families who are accustomed to the size of the S or X will not be going for a 3. If your family is used to more modest cars then the MODEL 3 is likely a step up not down.
      I hope TESLA workers and employees get most of those early cars they deserve them,

      • Jens - 7 years ago

        Yes, I totally agree, that employees deserve the priority.

      • BEP - 7 years ago

        Selling the S and get the 3 to have more range? This would make sense only if they have a 60 (or even a 40).

      • Howard Simon Marks - 7 years ago

        The top of the range MODEL 3 will have more range than a current 70D MODEL S and certainly within a couple of years after the launch the top of the range MODEL 3 will match the top MODEL S on range.

    • EVKarma - 7 years ago

      The tax credit is very important for the world. This some how is the seed money for the whole EV to take off, for the battery technology to go main stream, evolve, etc…so that the cost of the EV will be at par with the combustion engine in the near distant future. The Goverment and the people who are able to fund these cars are insuring the future is EV viable. Tesla has single handledly insured that EV has a future… is a bummer, the tax credit for the rich. Ironically I never understood that whole selling point for the tax breaks for the rich billionaires, in the EV case it makes sense to me.
      My main hope is for the charging technology to be globally a similar platform. More better than the present Tesla Supercharger one, where full mileage could be charged is less than and hour and should be available every where, for all EV’s instead is destination chargers, etc. this I think should be provided by the Goverment to speed up the EV implementation and make our streets more cleaner…..

      • Howard Simon Marks - 7 years ago

        It is simply not true that most TESLA owners are Super Rich. I agree that a rich guy who buys a P90D with ludicrous mode should not get the tax credit. However the Tax credit for someone buying a 70RWD or 70D TESLA or the prior 85RWD TESLA was needed as this helped people afford the lower end of a high price vehicle. Also you only get as much as your taxes allow. If you pay less taxes you can only claim a portion.

  2. Frank - 7 years ago

    The Model ≡ silhouette does not provide a lot of indications, it appears to be a ‘blacked out’ Model S…bummer!

  3. Jerry Heasley - 7 years ago

    Model S owners are not all “rich people.” Some Model S owners sacrificed to buy a Model S. I think early adopters deserve priority.

    • Jens - 7 years ago

      Okay, that might be different in the US than it is in Germany. I’m slightly above average income, and even the 70D with cold weather package and air suspension is more the 2 years family income. I could not afford that stretch.

      If what you say is true for many Model S owners, I would give them a priority too.

      • Howard Simon Marks - 7 years ago

        Yes for us in UK and Germany a 70D cost the same as a 90D in USA but you need to think in terms of 10 years and far more expensive petrol
        in UK and Germany. If you drive a lot the 70D will save you half the cost of the car in fuel over 10yrs plus a much nicer driving experience. Germany
        has Superchargers and Chademo and 3 Phase AC chargers etc.

  4. ag80911 - 7 years ago

    Not terrible – even assuming all 110+ place order (which they won’t) they will still be over 90 thousand eligible for the credit. While credit is nice to have, people that have been waiting will buy regardless.

    • Fred Lambert - 7 years ago

      The 200k is not for the 3, but all of Tesla cars.

  5. hobowankenobi - 7 years ago

    While I understand the customer and employee loyalty angle….I don wonder if it would pay better long term dividends to get as many new EV drivers and converts on the road as possible, as soon as possible.

    Which is more compelling to convince the average consumer to it is time to switch:

    1.  Seeing few upper class neighbors or coworkers with 2 or 3 Teslas in their family
    2. Seeing a Tesla employee with a Tesla
    3.  Seeing many middle class neighbors or workers with 1 Tesla in their family

    For me, #3 is the best, most compelling scenario.

  6. BEP - 7 years ago

    It makes sense to start shipping cars to people who are already familiar with Tesla and their customer support. Especially in case of Model 3 “teething troubles”.

  7. fromNY2LA (@onestopnyc) - 7 years ago

    I have been loving the S but by the time the 3 comes out my S will be 4 years old and out of warranty, I will pre order and hopefully by then trade in will cover the cost. A few things to consider. The 3 will be made of metal no aluminum. It’s a much easier material to work with if you have dents or issues (which means it’s cheaper). Also, as long as the options are good and the range is over 200 I am fine with that. I have heard rumors that the 3 would not include superchargers free for life, wondering how they will bill for supercharging or if a $2,500 option to include it will be available.

    • hobowankenobi - 7 years ago

      You mean: steel, not “metal”. Aluminum is metal too.

      But point taken. Yes, I would expect mostly steel, but perhaps some aluminum panels to save weight. Many brands have had aluminum hoods for many years….for example.

    • Howard Simon Marks - 7 years ago

      People underestimate the range on the MODEL 3 the entry will be around 230 miles equal to the current 70kWh MODEL S…not sure if they will have only two battery sizes or three…two is easier for mass production but they may decide 3 choices…a mid choice would be around 260 miles but you can be sure that be it 2 or 3 battery sizes the top of the line MODEL 3 will break EPA 300 miles with the new chemistry, gigafactory and a smaller car they can do this.
      Also if the CHEVY BOLT has a 60kWh battery then TESLA’s entry MODEL 3 cannot have less than 65kWH they will not be outdone by anyone.

  8. Jerry Heasley - 7 years ago

    Tick tock, Model 3 production is two years away.

    Deposits are non-transferable – can’t sell a position in line.

  9. Electric feel - 7 years ago

    Bad choice if this is true.
    People will see it as an elitist company.

  10. ianstuart - 7 years ago

    I suspect that demand will be far greater than most observers think. Besides those who want to save money on gas there is another untapped source: those of us who are fed up with the existing car companies’ greed. I just gave away a ten year old VW Passat to Goodwill because their mechanics could not find what was wrong with the electrical system. Almost all of us have had similar experiences. Elon Musk does not impress me as being greedy. Imagine, no planned obsolescence, no internal combustion engine and hence no emissions tests, radiator, cylinders, ignition system etc.

  11. Roland Laurens - 7 years ago

    I am a model S owner. I read about the priority reservations of the model 3 and do not feel good about that. As Jens stated, it might very well mean that Tesla enthusiasts, that cannot afford the model S or X, but are waiting for the model 3, will be very disappointed and maybe even turn their back on Tesla. It’s not a welcoming gesture of Tesla. Also, you could not call this a wise marketing strategy as I think it would be better to welcome as much new owners as possible instead of having many already owners have a second Tesla….


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