Tesla now requires a $3,500 non-refundable deposit to reserve a Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 $ 1,000 refundable reservation program is going away. Starting this week, anyone in the U.S. or Canada who wants to order and configure a Model 3 will need to put down a $ 3,500 non-refundable deposit, according to Electrek and as confirmed by Tesla for the Los Angeles Times.

Tesla’s Model 3 order backlog has not disappeared, despite reports of reservation refunds. With the new system in place, however, now you’ll be able to tell roughly how long you’ll have to wait to take delivery of a Model 3 from Tesla’s website.

It’s all about the configuration

New model delivery times for the Model 3 vary depending on the drive, motor, and battery configurations. The shortest wait, currently 2-to-4 months, is for the Performance version. Long-range dual-motor, all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive Model 3’s have a 3-to-5-month delivery schedule.

If you’d like to stick as close as possible to the $ 35,000 base price, you’ll have to wait for 6-to-9 months for a rear-wheel-drive Model 3 with the standard battery.

More about the Tesla Model 3

When the new system debuts on Tesla’s website, potential customers will be able to run the Model 3 Configurator to choose options and colors. Previously only reservation holders could access the Configurator when notified it was their turn.

After you make all your Model 3 choices and your deposit transfers to Tesla, you’ll see a more precise delivery time, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Say goodbye to the refundable reservation

When Tesla began taking reservations for the Model 3 on March 31, 2016, would-be customers lined up at Tesla showrooms across the country to place their orders. Reservations were limited to two per person, and some few were returned after Tesla determined they were placed by speculators.

The day after Tesla started accepting Model 3 reservations, an exuberant CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “Model 3 orders at 180,000 in 24 hours. Selling price w avg option mix prob $ 42k, so ~$ 7.5B in a day. Future of electric cars looking bright!”

The number of announced reservations grew to 420,000, after which Tesla stopped publicizing the total.

Many people believed their refundable $ 1,000 reserved a spot in a first-in-first-out delivery priority order, but it was soon clear that would not be the case. Tesla employees who lived close to the Fremont, California factory were at the top of the list. Subsequent deliveries rolled out by location.

Key fobs for the first Model 3’s off the production line weren’t placed in owners’ hands until late 2017, with only 1,550 delivered in the fourth quarter of the year. The first models were long-range versions with dual motors and all-wheel-drive.

During 2018, Tesla’s focus has been on increasing production, only recently reaching a 5,000 vehicle-per week goal. At that time Musk sent out company email that stated, “I think we just became a real car company,” Reuters reported.

With the demise of the refundable reservation fee and with the new deposit program in place, it appears real customers will be able to place orders with greater confidence in their delivery dates.

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