Even the most optimistic of Tesla enthusiasts couldn't have predicted how high demand for the Tesla Model 3 would turn out to be. In what would clearly be a sign of things to come, Elon Musk, when unveiling the Model 3 last week, said that more than 115,000 people had already plunked down $1,000 to reserve a car they hadn't yet even seen.
In the days that followed, Musk would periodically take to Twitter to provide reservation updates. First the reservation tally hit 200,000, then 276,000, all with no signs of a slow down. Yesterday, Musk said he would provide an up-to-date reservation count sometime today. That said, Tesla earlier today put out a blog post boasting that reservations for the Model 3 have already topped 325,000.
A week ago, we started taking reservations for Model 3, and the excitement has been incredible. We’ve now received more than 325,000 reservations, which corresponds to about $14 billion in implied future sales, making this the single biggest one-week launch of any product ever. This interest has spread completely organically. Unlike other major product launches, we haven’t advertised or paid for any endorsements. Instead, this has been a true grassroots effort driven by the passion of the Tesla team that’s worked so hard to get to this point and our current and future customers who believe so strongly in what we are trying to achieve. Most importantly, we are all taking a huge step towards a better future by accelerating the transition to sustainable transportation.
Clearly, Tesla has a good problem on its hands. The question now isn't whether or not the Model 3 can become the mainstream EV Elon Musk always envisioned. It's now whether Tesla can handle production to ensure that reservation holders aren't waiting until 2020 to receive their cars. As a point of interest, remember that Tesla has already promised that early deliveries of the Model 3 will begin in late 2017.
To address production concerns, Tesla earlier today also confirmed its plans to increase production plans to minimize the wait time for the Model 3. Just a few days ago, Musk indicated a similar line of thinking via the following tweet.
Definitely going to need to rethink production planning...— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2016
While this is undoubtedly encouraging for reservation holders, it's worth mentioning that Tesla has never been able to ship a new vehicle without delay. Hopefully the Model 3 can stand as an exception to that rule.