Early demand for the Tesla Model 3 is unprecedented, as the company has already received close to 300,000 reservations for a car that won’t be available to drive for at least a couple of years. Given this, you may be wondering why so many people have decided to shell out $1,000 for something they won’t get to enjoy for a long time. In a recent Quora thread, several Tesla fans explain their reasons for preordering the Model 3 and they demonstrate the intense loyalty that Tesla inspires from its customers.
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Joshua Dance, for example, said that his decision to preorder a Model 3 was just as much about believing in the company’s mission as it was about the product itself:
The biggest deal, and the reason it is worth it, is I truly believe in not only what Tesla is doing but the need to transition our energy system. Climate change is a huge problem, and if you don’t think it is, pollution from cars is a huge problem. The Model 3 gives me a way to put my money where my mouth is.
Moharyar Ali, meanwhile, says that the lines that formed around Tesla dealerships last week were different from the lines that we typically see forming around Apple stores during new iPhone launches:
Unlike people that line up for an iPhone because they want the latest and greatest toy, or some Model S owners who can afford to buy a $100K Tesla as a second car, people waiting to buy a Model 3 (approx. $35K) were actually lining up their lease terms to end when the model 3 is going to launch (approximately 2 years from now). Everyone who was there seemed to have done their research.
Eugene Kuznetsov acknowledges that there’s some risk in putting down $1,000 for a car you’ve never even driven before, but he says these risks are outweighed by the substantial rewards of being among the first to get a Model 3:
There is not a lot of downside. The only real downsides are: 1) the risk that Tesla Motors might go under before the end of ’17, since the deposit is not held in escrow; 2) loss of 1.5 years worth of interest on the $1000 deposit, which is, given current interest rates, something like $15.
The potential upside is that you get yours before Tesla hits 200,000 vehicles sold in the US. Which is when the federal $7500 tax credit begins to phase out. Given model S/X sales trajectory so far (~50k sold through the end of ’15, plus perhaps 40-50k projected to sell in each of ’16 and ’17), there is a real chance that anyone who didn’t reserve their model 3 on the day of unveiling would be too late to get full tax credit.