Things aren’t going well for Tesla right now. Not that long ago, Elon Musk was having to defend the company’s quarterly earnings and then there was talk that the Model 3’s price point was going to be far more expensive than they had originally intended. But now, Tesla is saying that they’re pushing back the delivery date of the Model to 2019. Sure, they are delivering some Model 3 units outside the US, but they’re not doing a full-scale international rollout.
Elon Musk has indicated that launches for left-hand drive Model 3 variants in Asia and Europe are now expected in the first half of 2019, or months later than the second half of 2018 target it mentioned when production began last July. And if you live in the UK or other countries where right-hand driving is normal, you may have to wait longer — your Model 3 is “probably” arriving in the middle of 2019, Musk said.
Is this a surprise though? Probably not. As I mentioned, Tesla has been having some issues lately, but they have also spent the last few months attempting to overcome production challenges. That said, Tesla is almost reaching it’s 2017 production goal of 5,000 units per week. Tesla likely wants to focus their efforts in the United States before hitting markets abroad. One reason for this might be to take advantage of the $7,500 federal tax credit in the United States. Once they hit the 200,000 car mark, they aren’t able to get the same tax breaks as they can before that number.
Once they get to that large-scale international launch phase, they will likely have the production capacity to deliver the cars quickly. But will the $35,000 model still be available? The short answer is no. Instead, you will be able to get a “performance” model, which will cost $78,000 and is anticipated to be 15% faster than BMW’s rival M3. This is kind of a crummy thing to do, as I imagine that there are many people who could afford the $35,000 model, but no longer can at the new price point. Owning a Tesla is a status symbol, I completely understand that. But Tesla promised a $35,000 vehicle in the first place under the guise of mass market. And for some, a $35,000 car is still expensive, so why get people’s hopes up like that?
Tesla still has more than 450,000 reservations for the Model 3, each secured with a $1,000 refundable deposit, which will take years to fulfill and proves there is strong demand for the electric car. Which makes me wonder who was really after the Model 3’s, to begin with? My guess is that its people who can still afford the $78,000 vehicle. Not the “average Joe” who could afford the lower price point. I’d like to go on record and say that I think Tesla’s are a really great vehicle and they are likely to change the industry, but it just feels like Tesla needs to get it together sooner than later.