Tesla Opens Model 3 Orders to Reservation Holders

For an additional deposit, reservation holders can now place their orders.

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Tesla Model 3 reservation holders have received an email saying that the time has come to design and order their cars, reports CNBC.

"Design and order your Model 3 today for delivery in as soon as 2-4 months," says the email. 

Upon placing the order, an additional $2,500 deposit will be required, in addition to the $1,000 reservation already paid. Both of these will be put toward the purchase price of the car, and are not added fees. Additionally, once the order is placed, the $1,000 reservation is no longer refundable. Buyers can cancel their orders within three days for a full refund, but no refunds will be issued after that.

Some have criticized Tesla for demanding more money from reservation holders, even while Model 3 production remains far short of the 5,000 car per week goal CEO Elon Musk desires, despite running the production line 24/7. But a Tesla spokesperson told The Drive that this two-step process, charging one fee for a reservation plus a second fee to actually place the order, has been Tesla's standard practice with its other models as well. When the more expensive Model X was introduced, a $5,000 reservation deposit was required, in contrast to $1,000 for the Model 3. As early demand for any new Tesla model is met, reservation deposits are no longer required. The Model S and X also require the same $2,500 deposit to place the order as the Model 3.

In all cases, these deposits go directly toward the purchase price, the spokesperson emphasized, and are not additional charges. Every Tesla is custom made to each owner's specification, and these deposits help fund this customization process. There are no "off-the-lot" Teslas. This practice isn't much different from other auto manufacturers who require a deposit for a custom-built car rather than one bought straight off their lots.

Reservation holder response was positive, despite the delays and long wait to place their orders. To them, the Model 3 so far seems to be worth the wait. Plus, some orders are already being fulfilled. I've personally been seeing more and more Model 3s on the road lately in the suburbs of Boston, far from the Fremont, California factory.

The email also teased the Model 3 Performance, a fully loaded, twin-motor, all-wheel-drive version of the Model 3 that can do zero-to-60 in 3.5 seconds. There's no word yet whether this will offer a Ludicrous Mode or go to plaid.