For Model 3 reservation holders it seems like a lifetime ago that they waited diligently in line to be the first to get their hands on the vehicle that was going to change the auto industry. Fast forward nearly two years and only a small handful have actually taken delivery. Multiple production delays have slowed production to a crawl, all while competitors (namely, the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf) have started to eat into their market share. And yet, despite all the negative press and the consistently changing timelines, Model 3 reservation holders have nothing to worry about.
Production Hell Is Coming to an End
Back in November things were looking pretty bleak for the Model 3. While Tesla was able to release its first run of vehicles on-time they were in the midst of what Elon Musk called production hell. At that time the light at the end of the tunnel was pretty dim as production timelines consistently shifted further and further away. Nearly four months on and things are looking decidedly better. No Tesla is not out of production hell just yet, but the troubles of the past are starting to slip away.
Recently Bloomberg did an assessment of Model 3 deliveries and estimated that Tesla was delivering over 1,000 vehicles per week. At the current rate of production Tesla will hopefully have produced between 15,000-20,000 vehicles by the end of Q1, which is right on track with the company's most recent projection. This should have many excited as Tesla remains on track to be producing nearly 4,000/week by the end of Q2. By years end Tesla may actually deliver 200,000 vehicles in total and that bodes well for for the company and most importantly the patient reservation holders.
More than an EV, Tesla is an Ecosystem
Tesla has a lot going for it but perhaps the biggest is their 10 year head start on all other automakers. Sure, GM showed the learning curve is lessened for major automakers, but there is still a wide knowledge gap between Tesla and everyone else and you don’t have to look much further than the Chevy Bolt to understand why. First off the Bolt EV is a great vehicle, its pulled in a boatload of impressive accolades and has been given many shining reviews from both the public and critics alike. However, there is the vehicle and then there is the ecosystem and it's obvious that the Bolt is completely missing the latter.
The Tesla ecosystem is complete, where other OEMs have yet to even start
Tesla realized early on that it's not just about building vehicles it's about a completely new experience, one that is not married to traditional vehicles in any real way. When a traditional vehicle is built they already have mechanics, gas stations, and a whole host of services that make up that ecosystem, many of which are not owned or operated by the builder. What Tesla realized was they needed to build out this ecosystem on their own as third parties continued to build an insufficient ecosystem. Tesla now has thousands of charging stations meaning they can completely optimize and standardize that experience specifically for Tesla drivers.
The Supercharger network is the perfect example of this. These stations were not only strategically placed to ensure drivers could make nearly any city to city drive with ease but also designed to minimize the time spent at the station. Tesla Supercharger stations deliver 150kW of power only taking ~45 minutes to charge the car completely. Compare that to the average DC fast station which charges anywhere between 24kW-50kW (only a small few even reach 130kW). Not only that but they seem to be randomly placed and in short supply, even with massive efforts by multiple cities, states, and other OEMs. This means driving from Toronto to Montreal which typically takes 5 hours in a Tesla could take as much as 9 or more in a similar non-Tesla EV simply because DC fast chargers are hard to find, have inconsistent speeds and charge far slower than the Tesla Supercharger.
Waiting can be a serious pain, especially if you are in need of an automotive upgrade. While there is little that can be done to skip the line, patience will pay off in the end. Reservation holders have every right to be annoyed by the slow production but it'll be worth it in the end.