Waiting for a Tesla

Before 6:00 this morning, I joined in line in front of a Tesla dealer in Palo Alto, California. At 10:00 Tesla would start taking orders for their Model 3, an electric vehicle that will sell for $35,000. The early people pitched tents. I brought a chair.

The dealer was well prepared for us. The manager provided coffee, and employees came through the line offering bottled water. But they didn’t open their restrooms until 10:00. Most of us declined the water, planning ahead.

The people in line were mostly men. A woman was in line after me. A man came up to her before the opening, and she told him she had put his name down on the list. A guy in line talked about his experience renting a Tesla three times.

At 10:00, the line moved quickly. The dealer had 13 stations to take deposits.

13 stations to take deposits
13 stations to take deposits

By 10:10 I was done. I had planned to put a deposit on a Model 3, but I didn’t do this. While I was filling out the online deposit form, the sales guy asked if I wanted one or two. I said one. But as I got out my credit card, I thought again. I called my son, who planned to make a deposit on a Model 3 after work. He didn’t answer.

I completed the form, and the sales guy said “Congratulations!” I texted my son that I put a deposit on two cars, with one for him.

Tesla didn’t give a paper confirmation for the deposit. The sales guy said they’d email a confirmation within 24 hours. Twelve hours later, I’m still waiting. My credit card has a pending transaction of $2,000 to Tesla for a deposit. This is the correct amount for a deposit on two cars, so it’s looking good so far.

This Model S usually sells for $100,000. See the line of people outside waiting to put $1,000 down for a Model 3. This is Silicon Valley, and Tesla’s headquarters is nearby.

Model S
Model S

Tonight, after 115,000 people had made deposits, Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO, did the online Model 3 unveil, where he drove one of the three Model 3s onto the stage. According to The Verge,

The base car will do 0-60MPH in less than 6 seconds, with versions that go “much faster.” Range will be at least 215 miles, but Tesla hopes to exceed those numbers in the final car. All Model 3 cars will include support for Tesla’s high-speed Supercharging network, because “it’s about going where you want to go,” according to Musk.

The Model 3 is scheduled to start shipping in late 2017.

April 1 postscript. Tesla confirmed my reservation for two cars by email at 2:30 am on April 1, and their website confirmed the features. 🙂 I’m happy with specs, especially access to the free Supercharger network. But we didn’t know these specs when we put down our deposits. I’m trying to remember the last time I spent so much, knowing so little.


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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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