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Reserving your Model 3 (teslamotors.com)
228 points by uptown on Mar 21, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 194 comments

Reading the fine print of the reservations, I am a little surprised to see how non-binding the $1000 reservations are. A few tidbits: It can be canceled by you (this is a good thing) or Tesla (not great...), it might be an input to your "order on the list", but the final order is only decided by Tesla, etc. If it can be canceled by anyone at any time for any reason, and doesn't necessarily bind your "place in line", what is the point of the $1000 reservation?

I made a $5000 reservation for the Model S long before it was available, and they told me a number that was my place in line, and that they'd contact me when it's my turn. I chose the color and everything.

It's funny because they still haven't contacted me, nor did they contact anyone else I know who placed the reservation. Worked out fine for me, I've been mostly in Japan, and now that I'll be back in Seattle I'm planning to contact them and really curious what they say.

Everyone else got their car eventually but had to call and check multiple times. To each person they apologized and said it must be an oversight.

The whole thing leaves a really bad impression of the company. I wonder how they account for the money on their books over the past four years.

They've been sitting on $5k of your money for four years, and you haven't contacted them for it back?

Look at the man's profile. He has quite a bit of money, I speculate.

That's an awfully nice interest rate on that loan he made to Tesla (from Tesla's perspective)

Tesla also makes a tidy profit on each car sold.

The Model S has been out for a long time now, it looks as if that's a pretty bad way to deal with downpayments.

Here in nl the law is pretty strict about downpayments, if you accept a downpayment you have to keep the item in reserve for that particular customer. That's easy enough to check with a vehicle (they have a VIN after all).

At a minimum you should get some compensation for financing them to the tune of $5K over a longer period of time.

Tens of thousands of people have successfully used Tesla's reservation system.

I'd bet that if Tesla took reservations in NL at all that they complied with the local law. For example, in the US it doesn't turn into a firm order until you go through the final feature pick right before production. Before that either side can cancel for any reason. That might make it not a downpayment in NL.

Is it a down payment? Or an option?

Cars they don't exist yet funny have Vin yet

That's bizarre. I put my 5k in around the end of 2011 and got my car at the end of 2012. I didn't have any weird trouble. they must have lost your money. when you log in at tesla motors.com and look at your account, what does it say?

Almost assuredly it's a liability on their books, meaning they haven't recognized it as an income or asset.

Just a quick technicality note: they would have it on their books as both an asset and a liability. The cash they received would be the asset, and the money owed back as a liability.

Have to keep "assets = liabilities + equity" balanced!

Thanks, been a long time since accounting classes.

To gauge the interest in the Model 3. The 1000$ is a large enough sum to dissuade non-serious buyers and thus get an accurate assessment.

The sooner you reserve, the sooner you get your car. If you don't like the terms then you can wait, but you'll get you car after the people willing to put money down right away.

Part of op's point is that they explicitly don't guarantee that the sooner you reserve the sooner you get your car.

Reminds me of paying more for faster internet, yet the contract states they have to provide UP TO what ever speed. You can technically get less speed while paying more. Just another way companies write the contracts in their favor.

It wouldn't surprise me if this becomes the norm in any 'place in line' list with high value items. Companies would love the ability to offer the chance to consumers to put a down payment for a place in line while at the same time removing any liability in case they have to break that agreement.

Are there preorders where this isn't the norm? Whether you're camped out for the latest iPhone or preordering some hot new game, it's always understood that your place in line is a major factor in when you get your product but it's not a guarantee and the ordering isn't strict.

I'm baffled at why anyone would think it should be otherwise. Guaranteeing a strict order would be essentially impossible, and it would mean that a problem with a single unit would delay the entire group of people behind it.

They want a list of people who've got cash to burn and who don't read the fine print?

I know. My point is that even if it's not guaranteed, it still works that way for the most part.

That is how it should work and people generally believe that's how it works. But if that is the case, why are they saying it might not be? And further up in this thread someone is saying that it was most definitely not how "it worked" with the model S.

Because they want flexibility, for example to push a VIP to the front of the line, or prioritize deliveries based on proximity to the factory, or to avoid holding up the line if you suddenly decide to sail around the world solo at the time your delivery is due.

Since this flexibility goes both ways (you can cancel at any time for any reason and get a refund), I don't see what's so weird or upsetting about this.

Well in the original Model S reservations they moved up folks who had bought the high margin ones to the front of the line so that they could show a profitable quarter early on. If you looked at their build orders for that first quarter or so it was waaaay slanted towards the more exotic versions. I would expect them to do the same for the Model 3. While it frontloads the profit, that can bootstrap the rest of the system.

They're doing the same for the Model X. P90DLs got priority, then P90Ds, and now I believe the 90Ds are starting to show up. 70D orders will probably be waiting until the second half of this year.

Grouping builds based on common configuration I don't see as being terribly odd - reduces the chance of errors and increases efficiencies.

But that said - there's been 70Ds been showing up for a while, so I suspect it was just just done for the initial rush of orders.

Do you mean S 70Ds? According to modelxtracker.com, no X 70Ds have been delivered yet. That's not a comprehensive list, but I'd expect to see some there if they've been making deliveries.

Ah, apologies - misread that as the Model S.

I'd imagine they're just leaving legal wiggle room for "we bumped you down a spot so we could give the next car to a VIP".

Or more likely "we bumped you down a spot (or removed you entirely) because you criticized us or our CEO on twitter."

Anyone ordering this has to be careful what they say online about Tesla using their real name. Tesla has historically gone after critics pretty heavily (both professionals, and random members of the public).

In particular if it is delayed and you call them out, expect to be removed.

As far as I know, they canceled exactly one person's reservation like this. Are there other instances, or are you extrapolating a bit too much?

They also tried to sue Top Gear for criticising them, and had a massive battle with the New York Times, because the NYT instead of publishing a puff piece published an article critical of Tesla's Model S.

It is just a company (and a CEO) that doesn't like criticism and doesn't handle it at all well. They overreact and you don't want to be on the receiving end of that.

And let's talk about the specific case: Tesla started an event either 1.5 hours late or 1 hour late (depending on who you believe), didn't apologise, and then when someone criticizes them for it the CEO cancelled their pre-order and "banned" them from owning a Tesla.

All of the Tesla fans love to blame all of this stuff on everyone else (the person who got banned, Top Gear, NYT, etc) but ultimately the point still stands that Tesla actively goes after people who offend them. My only point was that it could happen to YOU or ME if we're not careful.

> They also tried to sue Top Gear for criticising them

Considering Top Gear[1] scripted it out to make the car seem shitty why would you be surprised that they tried to sue?

> had a massive battle with the New York Times, because the NYT instead of publishing a puff piece published an article critical of Tesla's Model S.

Um, yeah, the review wasn't good from a review-standing-on-its-own standpoint. There was much back and forth but ultimately the review was inaccurate / imprecise in many areas[2].

> All of the Tesla fans love to blame all of this stuff on everyone else (the person who got banned, Top Gear, NYT, etc) but ultimately the point still stands that Tesla actively goes after people who offend them. My only point was that it could happen to YOU or ME if we're not careful.

Yup, fair enough. But also keep in mind that, as an owner of a company, you have the right to "fire the customer". After working in retail there were plenty of times when a customer, even rightly so, criticized things you do but ultimately you can't just keep them around because they're disrupting others (one reason among many, many reasons). I'm not sure if there was ever more to the story than was published or not (I've seen plenty of people tell a completely different story after leaving our store to other people). It didn't seem like a nice thing to do but I also don't care that much that Musk did it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Gear_controversies#Tesla_R...

[2] http://www.poynter.org/2013/elon-musk-on-new-york-times-tesl...

> Considering Top Gear scripted it out to make the car seem shitty why would you be surprised that they tried to sue?

Top Gear is a scripted comedy show. Tesla thought (and you seem to think) that Top Gear is a serious car review program, it hasn't been that for at least twenty years.

Of course Top Gear are going to make a joke about an electric car running out of juice, that's the obvious go to joke to make. You cannot sue someone because you don't find them funny.

It just comes across as petty or out of touch on Tesla's part.

> Um, yeah, the review wasn't good from a review-standing-on-its-own standpoint. There was much back and forth but ultimately the review was inaccurate / imprecise in many areas[2].

There was a lot of back and forth, follow up articles, a rebuttal, a Tesla piece. But even after all of that a lot of the issues still remain. The way Tesla reacted to the article was completely over the top however, that was more the issue, they could have issued a rebuttal but instead they went nuclear right out of the gate.

> It didn't seem like a nice thing to do but I also don't care that much that Musk did it.

I don't care either, I just don't like what it represents. Tesla does something wrong (which even they admit they did), someone criticizes them, and they're banned from buying a Tesla.

You can argue there is more to the story, but Musk/Tesla never said there was and the blogger directly said there wasn't. They just said they got a call notifying them to the ban/cancellation out of the blue. Boom, done. Musk hasn't gone on record saying he was rude on the call, or whatever, people just make that up to justify why Tesla/Musk is right.

It's obvious that Top Gear has some intentionally funny parts, but it's not obvious that they actually lie in order to support that. I didn't realize it until this Tesla thing blew up. Top Gear certainly doesn't broadcast that fact. I think it's reasonably misleading.

Have you looked at the NTY piece? They flat out lied about a ton of things(which is why Tesla added logging after the TopGear incident).

> Have you looked at the NTY piece?

Yes, and the rebuttal, and the follow up. Have you?

> They flat out lied about a ton of things(which is why Tesla added logging after the TopGear incident).

I suggest you go back and look at it. It isn't as black and white as you seem to believe. Tesla muddied the water, in particular as few read the rebuttal or follow up, but ultimately the original article is still an interesting look at what owning a Tesla was like in 2013.

Plus the Top Gear thing was OBVIOUSLY comical. Since Top Gear is a comedy show after all. Tesla just had an incredibly thin skin about it or didn't understand what Top Gear was, the segment was entirely predictable.

> Plus the Top Gear thing was OBVIOUSLY comical. Since Top Gear is a comedy show after all.

This is not obvious to a casual viewer of the show. I've watched a few episodes from time to time and it seemed like a show about reviewing cars to me.

> I suggest you go back and look at it. It isn't as black and white as you seem to believe. Tesla muddied the water, in particular as few read the rebuttal or follow up, but ultimately the original article is still an interesting look at what owning a Tesla was like in 2013.

According to the NYT themselves they were imprecise and made mistakes[1]. Considering that I don't know why a flawed review from 2013 would be a good indicator of anything.

[1] http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/problems-wi...

I am talking about Tesla's behaviour. Some of the original NYT article's claims did get knocked down, but many remained. Tesla went full on nuclear against the NYT for the original article calling it "fake" and the writer a "liar" when ultimately most of the article turned out to be largely true and factual.

It is the classical "let me nitpit tiny details and then claim your entire point is wrong" arguing technique. Go look at the original NYT article, then read this rebuttal, and tell me that most of the major complaints in the NYT article don't stand.

Yup, I've read both. He failed to charge multiple times and then even tried to kill the car when it showed zero miles remaining.

There's a huge difference between 60,70 and 80 mph when it comes to efficiency. I can drop from 60-70 and see a 30% increase in my range due to v^2.

I was specifically addressing this: "In particular if it is delayed and you call them out, expect to be removed."

Again, as far as I know that happened exactly once. Are there more examples, or not?

There's an ongoing pattern of behaviour. Tesla gets criticised and Tesla attacks the critics instead of the argument.

That has happened more than once, yes.

Attacking public figures who criticize them is so far removed from canceling the reservations of ordinary customers that I see no reasonable way to make the inference that you can "expect to be removed" if HN readers criticize them publicly.

So what you're saying is that the ONLY difference between Tesla acting right or wrong in that case is if we classify the victim as a "public figure" or not?

First off, they're not a public figure, they were privately buying a Tesla vehicle for private use and posted on a personal Twitter account.

Secondly, that's a really weak line. Why is there even one rule for mistreating "public figures" and another line for everyone else? Why do you assume someone with less social power will be treated better?

Honestly all you just did was admit that Tesla was in the wrong. Claiming they are allowed to act badly because "public figure something something" is nonsensical.

I'm not talking about right or wrong here, that's you. I'm just talking about the possibility that Tesla will cancel your reservation for being critical of the company, which you claim is high, and which I believe is essentially zero.

It's pretty obvious from the conversation here that you don't really care about Tesla canceling reservations, you just have an axe to grind, and saw the cancelled reservation as a wedge you could use to insert yourself into the conversation. You posted under the guise of warning people not to be critical in public, but you don't care about that, you just want to point out Tesla's bad behavior towards the New York Times and Top Gear.

Note: I'm not defending Tesla's behavior towards NYT and Top Gear. I just don't see any justification for your claim that it's "more likely" you'll lose your spot because of public criticism on Twitter, and that you should "expect to be removed" if you complain about delays.

> I'm not defending Tesla's behavior towards NYT and Top Gear. I just don't see any justification for your claim that it's "more likely" you'll lose your spot because of public criticism on Twitter, and that you should "expect to be removed" if you complain about delays.

I do. They have previously done exactly that. That's my only point, Tesla has a history of attacking critics including cancelling pre-orders.

My only "axe to grind" is for Tesla to stop attacking critics and to instead go after their argument. If Tesla disagrees with a negative review/experience, that's fine, but don't try to punish people for raising issues.

They don't have a history of cancelling pre-orders. They have a history of cancelling pre-order, singular.

I get your overall point, I just think you're going too far with it and being rather disingenuous when you warn people that their reservations will be cancelled if they complain.

In summary, you are extrapolating from one invent involving a celebrity.

I think you are treating tesla unfairly, or you are perhaps carrying a grudge against them. the nyt piece was really slanted against them - not charging in the night when its freezing, the battery will go down. there are plenty of reasonable things to argue against them (availability of shop manuals, huge delays from when they are supposed to start delivering cars). but that nyt piece was not fair. I and many other tesla owners had great experiences buying, owning, and dealing with the company.

What random member of the public have they gone after?

Stewart Alsop.

They were acting as a private individual who turned up at a Tesla event, it started late, they complained and got banned.

Their job happens to be venture capitalist but they weren't acting in that capacity. The vehicle was private purchase for private use, and they complained on a personal twitter account.

And the guy has a history of being a douchebag. BMW did the same thing to him.

> BMW did the same thing to him.

Do you have a source on that? Considering how many BMW dealerships there are I am highly skeptical.

For those like me who didn't realize you could get to the reservation agreement by clicking to see the currency amount, it's accessible here: https://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/model_3...

I imagine that even with of the possibility of cancellations, the number of reservations is still a good proxy for interest. Using that they can set up their production lines without worrying too much about over- or under-investing in tooling. It'll probably be an even better metric this time since they can use the data from Model S and X cancellations.

I think its fair and clever that the order is non-binding and the deposit fully refundable. But requiring the deposit to place an order prevents or at least reduces any "fun" ordering or ordering for resale on ebay. Anyone seriously wanting to buy a Model3 should have little problem with the deposit.

It is like a car rental reservation.

No rental car reservations (in the US)(that I know of) require a deposit...

I think they do. They place a hold in your credit card. Years ago I got rejected at Hertz because the total amount + hold was greater my credit limit

It's called an "authorization hold" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_hold

Right, that's once you have the car.... but not when you're making the reservation.

Most rental car companies (Budget, Enterprise, Thrifty, etc) require a deposit which is held against your credit/debit card. It's typically >=$200, but they usually require a larger deposit if you use a debit card. I've been required to put down $400 in the past. They often don't make this deposit obvious, but you will definitely see it reflected in your card's account activity.

Would genuinely love to hear about companies that don't require this deposit.

What you said is true after you rent the car.

No rental car reservations in the US require a deposit while reserving a car.

To get in line and reserve a car.

> what is the point of the $1000 reservation?

If you want a Model 3 the $1000 deposit is the fastest way to accomplish that goal.

Not exactly: "[...] the fastest way to buy a Model 3 is to buy a Model S or Model X."

Existing customers will get priority. I have to say, I did lol when reading that but it makes sense to give a little goodie to your existing customers.

Not exactly either. Tesla says that they'll roll out in US first (west coast to east), then EU & the rest of the world; priority will be given to more expensive configurations first and existing customers will only get priority within given price tier.

Therefore, the fastest way to buy a Model S is to live in the US, immigrating as necessary, buy a Model S and order the most expensive Model 3 you can configure ;)

Yes, but you will still need to make the $1000 deposit...

if you have a Model S or Model X $1000 is probably nothing

I wouldn't say "nothing" and it's less clear-cut when you lease, but if you have a Model S/X and want to buy Model 3 presumably as the 2nd car, yeah, pretty much.

Whats the point of signing a contract with Comcast? You can't sue, you are not guaranteed a service level, ...

But in 95% of cases, it works out such that you have a slow but working internet connection. So even though you are not guaranteed a spot, chances are you will still get it sooner than someone who didn't reserve at all.

Model S and Model X have/had the same terms.

Seems safe to predict that unless you're waiting in line on the West Coast on 3/31, you won't be getting the full $7500 tax credit. They've sold about 50k Teslas so far (Roadster/S/X); the credit goes to 50% for 2 quarters after they hit 200k total vehicles from one manufacturer sold.

I'd be expecting another 50-100k S/X delivered between now and 2017-12-31 when I predict Model 3 will start shipping. Probably every Model 3 shipped in 2018 will be to either an existing Tesla owner, or someone who does an in-person deposit on 3/31. I would be amazed if they don't do 200k units on 4/1 alone.

Note that the credit continues at 100% until the end of the quarter after the quarter where the 200,000 mark hits, so there's a bit more of a delay there. Not sure just what that means for the prospects of getting in before.

Is it rolling quarters, or would Tesla be screwing over thousands of people to ship first car on 2017-12-31 vs. 2018-01-01?

Maybe they'll be awesome and as soon as they start shipping, allow anyone with a valid deposit to immediately pay the full amount? Or does it go by delivery?

Ultimately it's not really worth doing too much over $3750 one-time in 2 years, but I'm still willing to wake up slightly early for it.

If US Tesla #200,000 is sold in Q3 2017, then yes, the last date for the full tax credit would be 2017-12-31.

They've probably sold around 60-70,000 in the US so far. I think the current rate is around 50,000/year (they project 100,000 in 2016, and the US is roughly 50%). Even if 2017 is a substantial increase, it seems unlikely that they'll hit the 200,000 mark before 2018.

Ah! I forgot it was only US sales. Maybe they can shift a little more production to non US markets to ensure they hit 200k US units at the beginning of a quarter.

What's this? Do consumers have to check their purchase ordinal to know whether they get the credit? That's a horribly unfair and overcomplicated tax structure.

The deposit doesn't even count as purchase, so you don't particularly know. Plus the deposits aren't 100% deliveries -- people ahead of you might drop out.

Seems worth sitting outside with an iPad for a few hours in a week to maximize my chances of $7500 vs. $3750 in 2 years, though.


It is by quarter when purchased, not by ordinal.

If they hit 200k in first quarter of 2018, you are fine as long as you purchase during that quarter (or the next I believe).

The next two quarters it goes down to 50% and down to 25% for the next two.

> When production begins, we will begin deliveries in North America starting on the West Coast, moving east.

If California is getting them in late 2017, it'll be years before I might be able to buy one in Pennsylvania. Bummer.

Looks like it'll be a Chevrolet Bolt replacing my Leaf later this year. Same price tag, same 200+ mile range, can't be too upset.

We're considering pulling the trigger on a Leaf, but have theoretical anxiety... How's it been for you?

I loved the test drive and love the idea of going electric for 95% of my use (and possibly just renting a car for longer road trips).

I love the car. It's fun to drive -- smooth, quiet, and zippy acceleration from a stop. I haven't paid for gas or any kind of maintenance in over a year.

But I would definitely not buy a Leaf unless you're a 2-car home and have something else for a backup and long trips.

If you have any fun with your car, as opposed to driving in eco-mode all the time, never accelerating hard, coasting down hills... you won't get the rated range. If it's cold out, you won't get the rated range. If you like to blast the heat and A/C, you won't get the rated range. Which means you will limit yourself to a 20-30 mile radius to feel safe, which is much less than the 80-100+ miles the sticker says you'll get.

The battery also degrades pretty fast. You can't tell what you're buying used unless you buy a copy of Leaf Spy Pro for your phone and hook up a bluetooth OBDII scanner to the car to actually find out how much of its battery life is usable. My 2012 model has 16kWh of the original 24kWh available for driving, though the dashboard shows 11/12 battery life "pips" remaining. That means I get a max of 70-some miles driving conservatively in good weather. It'll only go down the longer I own it, which is why I'm looking forward to that Chevy Bolt, hopefully before winter when my usable range drops even more.

Glad you love it. I work from home and commute sometimes to downtown DC (about 25 mi each way). So I am thinking the 107 mi would be more than enough even being conservative and expecting a 60mi range.

But from what you're saying, it sounds even worse!

We really aren't expecting to do any road trips with the car, instead opting to rent a car for that occasional weekend trip. Seems like a good balance. Why choose a car for the 3 road trips you take every year?

I bought a 2013 new. Haven't had any issues. Range is only about 65 miles on an 80% charge (recommended for battery life). I live in Atlanta GA.

I lease a 2013 LEAF (in 2014). I've now got 17K miles on it. It is my first and only car I ever will lease. I did so because I want a larger range and I knew that such cars would be available "soon", but not soon enough. I also keep my cars for over 10 years. I didn't want to have a 80 mile range LEAF for that long. Thus, I was planning that by around 2017 I'd have better options.

I already didn't expect the Model 3 to really ship to 2018, and since I'm in Massachusetts, if/when we get them they will be maybe a year later than the west coast.

I have the option of extending my lease a bit, but I don't think it will go out far enough to include the Model 3. If the Bolt arrives and is as good as the Volt has been, I will likely get that instead.

FWIW, driving electric has been incredible. Quiet, smooth, and really get acceleration (100% torque when you step on the accelerator). We've got a dozen charging stations at work so I do almost all my charging there. There's been no maintenance cost on the car so far; $0 total in almost 2 years.

Like the sibling poster, I regularly get 65-ish miles without any worry, and have done in the mid-90s (no HVAC, very modest speeds and acceleration).

My normal commute is 16 miles round trip, and I regularly get 4 days out of a charge in the summer and 3 in the winter before deciding (not "needing") to charge.

We also have my wife's 11 year-old CR-V, so I've never felt really "stuck" with the range. The one day I needed the 90 mile range for 2 factory tours, I drove carefully and extra-economically, but also had several charging stations picked out to bail out to.

I'm happy with mine, but would be less so if it was our only car.

The Leaf is awesome if you live in a warm climate like California and have a free charger at work. Otherwise, not so much.

Indeed; from what I heard there will be a 2-year waiting period for PA.

If people further east have to wait until 2019 or 2020 to buy these, it could run into phase outs of the tax credits. $7500 off a $35000 is a pretty nice deal. Hopefully those of us out east can still take advantage of it.

I really doubt it'll be that long. If you're on the east coast, you're probably looking at waiting months, not years, after west coast deliveries before you get your car.

It's basically just a game to bump up quarterly numbers. If you're delivering cars that only take a day or two in transit before delivery, your numbers look better than if they spend days or weeks on a truck or train making their way to the other side of the country. This game doesn't pay off as much if you're making people wait years.

How about other countries?

I've wanted a Tesla for a while, but being someone who repairs and maintains their own car, I can't see myself ever buying one as they seem heavily opposed to allowing anyone but themselves to work on their cars.

You should probably not get a new car at all, they are all going that way. With electric/hybrid cars it's probably a good idea, there's a lot of current in those batteries.

History keeps repeating itself. That is what they said about those new fuel injected motors and control systems. It's just lag as the knowledge of how to fix new things spreads to the aftermarket. The stories about the Prius/Toyota battery pack corrosion and the DIY fix (instead of a complete battery pack replacement per Toyota standard operation) are an example of this. There is always a group that resists change and says it's the end and then within a few years, people adapt and figure out how to fix things all the same.

Admittedly, if completely locked out of the control system, what Tesla is doing may be more effective at blocking the aftermarket. But at some point, someone will just rip out the whole processing unit and replace it with a homegrown solution. The refrain has been "oh, all these sensors and who knows and ...". But the aftermarket keeps getting smarter.

There is a bit of evolution going on in batteries for RVs (caravans) and boats at the moment. Everyone wants to move to LiFePo batteries but most of the charging systems onboard are designed for traditional lead acids. Most lead acid chargers use a complex 3-4 stage charger. Lithium-ion is much simpler, 3.6V/cell until full. But actually getting a charger that will do this simple job has proved to be quite difficult.

People are starting to learn and there are still a lot of hold outs who believe charging Lithium-ions will burn your boat/RV/car down unless you are super, extra cautious.

I am not sure the fuel injection analogy will hold up here. There's nothing in a fuel injected car that will kill you unless you shove your arm into an exposed engine and try to run the starter or something, in which case you'd probably need two people and you'd have to be dumb enough to have left the battery connected. And even then you'd probably survive despite your crushed or amputated arm.

Electric cars are easily very lethal just by touching the wrong thing, or accidentally piercing a battery pack.

Working on vehicles has always been dangerous when they weigh 2,000+ pounds and are often supported by flimsy equipment. I don't disagree that batteries are lethal but it's just one more thing in a long list of things that can kill you while working on cars.

Yup, last I checked the P90DL was around 500kW(!) at peak, that's 1,250A @ 400V.

Someone accidentally steps on the brake pedal while your near a HV line(400V can jump a bit) to one of the two motors? Yikes.

The Tesla has contactors in the battery that isolate the HV and a facility to lock them out - and they'd better be reliable even if someone accidentally steps on the brake pedal and the car's in pieces, because rescue workers have to rely on them in order to avoid electrocution when extracting people from crashed and mangled Teslas.

Besides, a lot of the failures are in low-voltage systems like door handles that are covered by a much shorter warranty than the drivetrain and HV.

There are two wiring loops you can cut which will cut power to those contactors and isolate the battery. If the car is sufficiently mangled, the first responders' first order of business will be to cut those loops, which will render the car safe no matter what controls people activate.

But if you haven't cut those loops and you're taking the car apart and haven't isolated things yourself, there's nothing preventing the car from closing those contactors and energizing the high-voltage system while you're elbow-deep in it.

Not quite...

When you step on the brake(with weight in the seat) you can hear the HV contactor engage(it's a soft thunk). In the case of emergency workers there's one of 3 specific places they must cut through in order to close the contact, otherwise the car is live.

I think the chances of some random joe forgetting to safe the system are higher(I'm just doing a door repair, I don't need to safe the system).

The Ludicrous version was enabled by fancy computer-controlled pyrotechnic fuses, because traditional melty-wire fuses have trouble past about 1200A. I think the new ones are good for up to 1500A.

Yeah, I was being a tad conservative. Either way that's a hell of a lot of power.

I'm surprised we haven't seen someone killed yet with a few of the battery pack teardowns that's happened.

I think the (very small) mismatch between your numbers and the 1500A figure may be a partly due to power going beyond 500kW, and partly due to voltage sag when drawing that much current. In any case, I didn't even mean that to be a correction, just an interesting related note.

As for people getting killed, I think the pack is hard enough to get into that people who don't know what they're doing are mostly discouraged before they get to the dangerous part. Maybe.

A standard car weighs 4000 lbs, that's a lot of weight to crush you if it falls on you while you're working on it.

People shouldn't be allowed to go under vehicles to repair them. In fact changing a tire with a jack is very dangerous too.

Oh come on now.

Your car doesn't go from weighing light as a feather to 4000lbs at the speed of light when two pieces of metal that you can't see connect.

There's a reason you should have a healthy respect of high voltage lines, there's no visual indicator that they are energized. At 400V anything that's unshielded will also jump a non-trivial distance.

I can't imagine wheels/tires, brakes, and suspension disappearing from future cars. That type of maintenance is something that can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in repair if you learn to do it yourself.

Ford Focus seems pretty maintainable as far as I can tell. And there seems to be plenty of competition there...

>I've wanted a Tesla for a while, but being someone who repairs and maintains their own car, I can't see myself ever buying one as they seem heavily opposed to allowing anyone but themselves to work on their cars.

Do you also watch an old Bakelite valve operated UHF television because Samsung says you can't open up their 70" OLED Flatscreen without voiding the warranty? Valve TVs were always burning out and needing repair. Much like internal combustion engine vehicles.

If its a hobby, sure, buy a '66 Mustang. Otherwise "I buy internal combustion engines and transmissions, rather than electric cars, so that I can save money on repairs and maintenance" seems somewhat problematic.

That seems to be the fate of most every consumer goods, isn't it?

The reality is that car repair is going to be a thing of the past. When Cars are nothing but an electric motor, chassis, and battery, there's nothing left to fix. Electric motors are orders of magnitude more reliable than internal combustion.

The "agreement" is a joke. If you give them your money next week, you may or may not get a place in line that may or may not exist, to eventually maybe or maybe not buy a car. The date and time which you may or may not make a decision to possibly but probably not buy a car may or may not be known, and the price may or may not be what you think it is.

I think most agreements look as bad as this one. I bought an original, upgraded for auto drive and will probably get in line for this to replace my wife's car. Since they struggle to make enough to meet demand, they seem to make many of the same car with the same options at a time, delaying various combinations of features. They already announced that people who previously bought one would have a priority in the queue this time. I'm pretty certain I'll put my 1k in.

I am so nervous/excited for this reveal! I can only imagine the butterflies and sleepless nights for the actual team involved. Good luck everyone!

I'll go to a Bay Area store to put in my reservation on 3/31. Not really feeling up to camping out overnight, but showing up at 0600 or so seems reasonable (since they open up at 1000).

Now...which store? Burlingame is probably the most convenient for me, but driving down to the Fremont factory seems maybe more appropriate. Not sure which locations would be most amenable to "arrive hours early" -- probably not Stanford Shopping Center. There's a 24h Safeway a couple blocks from the El Camino Palo Alto location.

It would be entertaining to have some kind of HN meetup in line at a Tesla store.

Imma guess the Monterey Tesla store is your best bet. But that's probably a long way from you, given what you've already written :)

There is also a nice one at Santana Row.

And near wolfe and el camino intersection in Sunnyvale

On one hand, I really want a Tesla car. On the other hand, I live in a city and take electric busses and trains everywhere.

Maybe I'll trade in my 15 year old SUV for a Tesla Model 3 when they hit used car lots.

Consider this guy's opinion. The used Tesla market might not look like it does for other cars.


Once there are enough Teslas, there will be aftermarket repair howtos. This is inevitable.

I guess you could argue that Tesla will try to do the Apple thing and not support older versions of devices, but 50000$ cars and 500$ phones are different beasts.

Generally speaking, highly integrated ICE cars are quickly approaching the complexity of Teslas anyway.

On the other hand, a tesla is basically 1-2 motors and a big battery bank. No engines, crankshafts, pistons, sparkplugs, radiators, alternators, exhaust pipes and sensors, catalytic convertors, oil pans... I still have some faith that the fundamental simplification of electric drivetrains will result in longer lived vehicles.

I'm not sure I agree here.

A car is network of serious computing, including proprietary API's, busses, and signed firmware. You might change the tires yourself but you won't be putting a third-party sensor in there. The talk of bricking your car is no joke.

See also John Deere giving its farmer customers a hard time about self servicing big tractors.

The only question is, does the customer have the right to tinker?

It isn't even a right to tinker. Do you actually own the car - which means you should have the right to do whatever you want to it - or are you borrowing it from the manufacturer?

If Tesla keeps their cars as draconian DRMed as they have been, then you never actually own the Tesla in the exact same thought process that you don't own an iphone.

Somewhat off-topic to your point of "the used car market might not exist like that," but isn't this the direction automobiles have been going since they were invented? In fact, this trend has existed in every piece of technology.

It's a tautology: as technology becomes more complex to build, it becomes more complex to rebuild. Of course, a portion of the advancement of a technology should be dedicated to reducing that growth in difficulty – the constant self-inspection being one example.

Even if it seems a bit presumptive or shocking now, do we have any reason to believe that this isn't the inevitable future of hyperadvanced cars?

No that is not the direction automobiles have been going since they were invented. Cars unlike many objects are built to last longer today than they were in the previous decades. It used to be people expected 100,000 miles or so out of their vehicle and now its over 200,000 miles.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2013/03/14/cars-tha... Whether by necessity or choice, U.S. motorists are holding onto their cars for longer than ever, with the age of the average vehicle on the road at a record-high 10.8 years, according to the research company R.L. Polk in Southfield Mich. By comparison, the average life expectancy of a new car in 1930 was a scant 6.75 years. Fortunately, today’s cars are more than up to the task of going the distance.

But that's not the argument the article is making.

It doesn't actually argue that the Model S won't be able to have a longer lifetime than its predecessors (we don't know because there aren't any old ones).

The article says that the lack of DIY maintainability implies that the lifetime will be limited, but DIY maintainability has always been going down and the cost of service has always been going up – yet the lifespan of vehicles has also always been going up.

Edit: And as an aside, some of the stuff brought up here is pretty ridiculous sounding. Like the lack of diagnostics sent to the OBD-II.

"Why I think Tesla is building throwaway cars"

I'm sorry but the article is a lot more than just DIY mechanics...

>According to the US DOT, the average age of cars on the road in 2015 was 11.4 years - and this has been steadily increasing over time. So the question shouldn't be, "How easy is it to maintain a Model S in 4 years" - it should be, "Can they be reasonably maintained to survive 20 or 30 years on the road?"

It is definitely more difficult to work on a new car than one from the 60s or 70s, and despite that the Average LifeSpan of a Vehicle has increased.

I think the newer cars are easier in some ways and harder in others. The design commonality, use of common subcomponents, on-board diagnostics (fallible, of course), fuel injection, electronic ignition, and closed-loop ECU controls make a lot of maintenance activities easier.

Plug in, pull the codes, replace a part, clear the codes is a lot easier than the old days of diagnosing carburetor issues, changing/adjusting points, etc.

Where it's harder is when you need something that is now locked down, but for regular maintenance activities (as opposed to modifications for more power), that is fairly rare in my experience, wrenching on my own cars for about 30 years.

Right, which is exactly why I'm asking why the Tesla is seen as such an exception. It's definitely a large leap, but it's a whole new architecture for a vehicle.

It's more difficult and expensive to work on a new car than old ones, yet the lifespans have been increasing.

It's more difficult and expensive to work on a Tesla than a non-Tesla, therefore the lifespan will decrease? This is where I'm confused.

OBD-II doesn't really get you much though(aside from maybe speed).

99% of the things that an OBD-II outputs(RPM, O2 sensor, timing, intake temp) just don't exist on a Tesla. Look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OBD-II_PIDs there's about 3-4 that actually make sense.

Ah, that's fair I suppose. It just seems like a blatant regulatory workaround to put in a port that literally provides power and ground. It would've been less weird but, you're right, not monumentally meaningful, if it had included the things it can include (like speed).

Sounds like we need an ODB-e standard for electric vehicles that has more appropriate data and takes modern mobile LAN security into account. Maybe it would help open up the third party service market, against Tesla's intent obviously.

Considering how hard it's been to build a standard DC-FC standard that seems like something that would be hard to do pull off without formal regulation(like OBD-II).

Wow. That's crazy. I too agree that these cars should just be leased.

Is there, somewhere on that page, information about the price of the car we can make the reservation? Are they taking reservations without stating the car price at all?

It was stated a while ago that the pricing would be $35,000 before incentives. They probably don't want to say a specific price if incentives aren't nailed down yet.

Wouldn't it make more sense for non-Tesla owners to get priority in the queue? Seems like a better way to get more people driving EVs.

That would be a pretty dick move. "You gave us a ton of money buying a ridiculously expensive car, and as your reward you have to wait longer than people who we've never even seen before."

I could see just not giving priority. As it is, they're rewarding customer loyalty, which is a pretty common thing to do.

But the model 3 is supposedly the 'affordable' one, so prioritizing rich folks who already own one of the pricey models seems a little backwards.

Well, either rich people want "the affordable one" or they don't. If they do, why not reward their loyalty? If they don't, then it doesn't affect anything.

In any case, I don't think it'll be a major factor. All current owners already have a car, after all. How many need another one? Out of ~120,000 current owners, how many head-of-line orders will that translate into? I'd think it would just be a couple thousand, which won't make a particularly big difference in the timeline for others.

If it primes the money pipeline full of customers that will 100% buy one sight-unseen, it's a no-brainer to take their money first.

The ones waiting for the 'affordable' model can still get one, just a little later on.

No, you want to reward your loyal and die hard customers. They will continue to pay dividends by recommending Tesla to their friends and family and buying more products.

Which doesn't do you any good on a marketing front because the people that want your product can't get it, so it means practically no new sales for you.

Most people don't buy cars on a whim - they buy them when they need them - and if your car is not available in the window where they need one they'll go somewhere else. Very few but the die-hard will buy a $900 beater to tide them over until their Model 3 reservation comes in.

The Model S costs $75k. The kind of people who think that's a reasonable price for a car absolutely can and will buy on a whim. They can also tide themselves over with a BMW or the like, not a beater.

Normal car-buying doesn't really apply when you're looking at a six-figure pricetag.

Yes, your loyal customers who already have your $75,000 car can buy one on a whim, but the point of a $35,000 car that can net $7,500 in federal tax breaks and even more in state tax breaks is that it appeals to people who are in the market segment for, say, a Nissan Leaf or a Toyota Prius.

Most people that buy those cars, while they can afford to spend a little more than your average car buyer, cannot and do not buy cars on a whim. They buy them when their previous car is giving up the ghost and they need a new one. Paying $1,000 to be on a waiting list for two years behind those that can buy a car on a whim is not appealing to that crowd and does nothing to engage their demand, especially since they can go down to their local Nissan/Toyota dealership and drive off the lot with a Leaf/Prius today.

So expecting the enthusiasm of your Model S customers to spur demand for your Model 3 works if and only if the people the Model 3 is targeted at can get one, and if the Model S customers are ahead in the queue when the delivery target is over two years out then their evangelism won't mean anything if the target audience needs to replace their car in the short term (< 2 years) and medium term (> 2 years and < 5) because you're too busy prioritizing your customers for a car that is below their segment.

I think people are assuming that this prioritization is going to cause way more delays than it really will.

There are about 120,000 Tesla owners out there right now. Maybe 130,000 by now, my facts are slightly out of date.

How many of those will be reserving a Model 3? These are people who 1) already have a car 2) which is still pretty new, since most Teslas on the road have been sold in the past couple of years 3) are now used to driving a large, powerful, luxurious car.

Why would they be buying a Model 3? It'll either be because some other car needs replacing at the right time, or they need an extra car, or they don't like the Model S and want something smaller. I don't think that's going to make up a huge proportion of the current owners.

I'd guess a few thousand at most will be reserving a Model 3. That's going to push other people's deliveries back by, what, a month or two? When the wait time is already a year and a half for the first person in line, I don't see this making much of a difference.

> the point of a $35,000 car that can net $7,500 in federal tax breaks and even more in state tax breaks is that it appeals to people who are in the market segment for, say, a Nissan Leaf or a Toyota Prius.

The car is coming out 2017 in California, and will be rolled out for the next 2-3 years afterwards nationwide.

For people who live in say Virginia, that means you might wait till 2019 to get the car.

I'm not sure what audience of people exists that (a) can only afford a Leaf/Prius and (b) are willing to wait perhaps 3-4 years to have a car.

If this audience exists, Tesla absolutely should give them affordances because they are die-hard, potential evangelists who have never owned a Tesla before.

However, I wouldn't count on their numbers being that big.

Someone's getting the car regardless -- either Seamus McVC's teenage child, or Hilary MiddleClass. The cars will sell out.

I think they're trying to be a luxury brand (or even with Model 3 be that "fancy" mainstream brand). Luxury brands (like Lamborghini) often reward current owners for loyalty. For example, some limited models are only available to those that already own several other cars by them.

It also may push some more Model S and X's out the door?

What would be the reaction to? "Hey loyal customers, yeah fuck you, you have to get in line behind everyone else."

Going out of business cause you treat customers like crap won't get more people driving EVs either.

They might want to favour the second-hand market. Makes car appear cheaper.

Tesla owners are either buying the new car for another driver, or to replace an old Tesla going to resale. Vanishingly few people are buyign M3's to store in their garage.

Is there any chance that putting the $1,000 USD down for reservation will qualify as purchasing the EV and getting the EV Tax Credits before they are all used up? Or is the Model 3 most likely going to be out of contention for those credits as the Model S is well over 100,000 units sold already.

Only sales in the US count, and the Model S is not over 100k here. Most estimates I've seen agree that the tax incentive probably won't go into phase-out mode until the latter half of 2018.

Awesome, thanks for the clarification on US only, I was not aware of that part.

Your reservation does not qualify as purchasing an EV.

To be specific, the relevant date is when the car was "placed in service." That is, when you take possession of it.

You need a VIN to claim the credit.

Will Tesla put out the specs and pricing details before the Reservation date? It would be fair, because unlike their other two products, Model 3 has a competing product, and it would be only fair for TSLA to give more details so the consumer can compare it with Bolt EV and choose what fits them.

It's a refundable $1k deposit. Seems like there's very little risk.

The reservations start the day it's revealed, albeit a few hours before.

Any idea what forms of payment they'll accept for a deposit? Will a debit or credit card work?


Edit: they also accept PayPal, of course. ;)

Credit card worked for me for the S

Any idea on the cost yet? Is this still expected to be around the $35k range?

Yes, they've said that it'll start at $35,000. Exactly what you get for that is still unknown, besides some sort of car with a 200 mile range. It's a pretty safe bet that things like autopilot will be an option on top of that.

So does anyone know , even though the event is at - March 31st at 8:30pm PT... Are they accepting reservations that morning the day of ? Or will they accept reservations after the announcement ?

Is it the height of a normal car yet? :/ I am kind of tall (6'3.5"), and it is comical just how poorly I fit in a Tesla. I can sit more safely (which is the correct word, not "comfortably": my head bangs up against part of the ceiling in a way where even a very minor collision would cause me serious head trauma) in a Miata. I would love to get a Tesla, particularly this new cheaper one (as I can't really justify >$100k; I waste a ton of money on my current car scheme, but it is still cheaper than a Tesla), but it feels like trying to buy a trendy shirt and realizing they don't bother making it in my size as my size simply isn't as trendy as their shirt :/.

I noticed this too. I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that several inches of the floor are taken up by the batteries. I would not expect the Model 3 to be any better in this regard, and if it's a smaller car, as is rumored, I'd expect it to be worse.

That's odd, I am nearly as tall as you and had no problem fitting in a Tesla (the fact it didn't cross my mind probably means there was plenty of buffer space left).

It's perhaps the difference between leg-tall and torso-tall.

I'm in the latter category and to this day I can't safely drive in most cars with a sunroof. Things have improved a lot over the last 20 years or so: it used to be I couldn't fit into any sedan less than full-size, whereas now many sedans other than subcompact are okay.

I don't know what to tell you: this is an incredibly common complaint on Tesla forums, though "your mileage may vary" as people are proportioned in all sorts of different ways. Here is a thread that is particularly verbose and well-researched (showing comparisons to another car based on technical measurement specifications).


Though that person claims to have managed to have found a "comfortable" position with the seat moved entirely back: that doesn't fix the safety issues. I can also feel comfortable, but if I rock my head even slightly to the left it slams into the frame of the car, as the only reason my head fits is because some of the models have a divot in the top of the car.

I have a friend with a Tesla S (who is a major major fan of the company) who adamantly didn't believe me until we finally had an opportunity to go out to his car and have me sit in the driver's seat: he shut up pretty quick ;P. (He had wanted me to drive us to our destination, so as to fall in love with the car, but instead I ended up in the passenger seat with the seat extremely reclined, feeling only slightly claustrophobic.)

This is almost funny. The reason I have a LEAF (see my post above) and not a Model S is because it doesn't fit small people. Everything about that car seems to be built for the 6' tall person with no thought about those of us not that tall.

I'm 5'6. My wife is 5'1. When I test drove the Model S I found there was nearly 3' of foot room behind the driver seat. That doesn't really bother me, but it told me the car was made for taller people.

When my wife test drove the Model S, after adjusting the seat so she could reach the peddles, the drivers should belt went right across her neck. After 15 minutes of driving she had a noticeable red mark there. She was unhappy to say the least. We went to adjust the seat belt anchor to make the belt not cross her neck.

We were surprised that an $80,000 car doesn't have adjustable seat belt anchors. ($80K as we would have configured it)

The "salesperson" (are they called that?) in the Tesla store suggested we get some kind of cover for the shoulder belt to avoid it irritating my wife's neck. My wife was "you mean I need to jury-rig something to make this $80K car comfortable to drive?"

We've never bought expensive cars; a Honda minivan was the most we'd ever paid for a car. That was comfortable and cost 1/3 the Model S. My wanting to buy one was already stretching reasonable limits. The seat belt issue made the Model S a non-option as far as my wife was concerned.

I'm 6'3 as well with a long body and don't fit in 80ish % of cars and I fit wonderfully in a Model S even with the sun roof. Heck, I could even pull off sitting in back if a 'normal' sized person was driving.

I am very pessimistic I will fit into a Model 3 though, especially with a car seat in back. My hope is to find a used S in a couple years.

My friend is 7 feet tall and he mentioned to me that he fit better in my model S than almoat any other sedan.

It would be cool if you could make your reservation by buying TSLA shares.

The beauty of this (for them!) is that this seems to take away all the negotiation about pricing, terms and taking used cars in.

But aren't they leaving money on the table with such a long wait list? (Granted - creating artificial shortages can work if you have a monopoly)

> The beauty of this (for them!) is that this seems to take away all the negotiation about pricing, terms and taking used cars in.

This is because they don't have a dealer network. If you don't like their price you can't go down the block and make an offer to the next dealer. Probably necessary because dealers normally make their money on maintenance and there just isn't much to do for Tesla vehicles.

Some warranty work to replace defects for new cars isn't the same as a reliable maintenance schedule for ICE vehicles.

What artificial shortages?

Producing less than the market clearing amount.


- Nike selling less shoes than would sell in the market.

- Nintendo selling less of the latest game console.

The shortage (as defined by needing a waiting list) is artificial if the seller can either raise the price or increase the amount provided. (Tesla is probably more the former than the latter)

I know what artificial shortages are in general, but I don't understand how it could apply to Tesla. They've been building as many cars as they can as fast as they can for years now, and there's no sign they're going to stop any time soon.

You missed the previous poster's first option: raise the price until demand equals supply.

They plan to ramp up production to meet demand, and they think their pricing is at the correct point for that. What should they do, start out with a higher price for early orders, then bring it down? I don't think people would like that behavior at all, and it sure doesn't seem to me like an "artificial shortage" to keep the price at the level where you think it should be in the long term.

If their pricing decision creates a shortage, that meets the technical definition of an artificial shortage. The term doesn't necessarily have a negative connotation.

In the steady state a market 'naturally' balances supply and demand through pricing. If you choose not to do that, the effects you create are 'artificial'.

It doesn't make sense to me to apply the word "shortage" to a situation where you're taking reservations for a product that isn't yet released. Their steady state for the past couple of years has been a wait of a month or two from order to delivery (for American customers, people overseas have to wait a lot longer for transportation) which doesn't seem like it would be in the realm of "shortage" for a car.

So few details on the car itself though...

Details will be discussed as part of the unveiling on the 31st.

I will go with the Chevy Bolt.

It's a shame they didn't call it model E. But S3X is close enough. And now i take my head out of the gully

Ford has the trademark on 'Model E' - they contacted Telsa when the name was floated and warned them off it.

Elon Musk has joked several times that 'Ford killed off SEX'

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