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Tesla will begin Model 3 test drives in ‘late 2017’, but there’s a catch

Model 3 Release

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, mass production on Tesla’s Model 3 will kick off sometime next month. And though Tesla has missed every production deadline it’s ever set — first with the Roadster, and next with the Model S and Model X — Elon Musk has assured analysts, investors and consumers alike that the company has learned from its past mistakes and that Model 3 production and deliveries will remain on track.

During Tesla’s recent earnings conference call, Elon Musk said that reservations for the Model 3 has continued to “climb week after week.” Tesla hasn’t issued an official reservation tally, but it’s currently believed that it falls somewhere in the 400,000 range. What makes the interest in the Model 3 all the more impressive is that Tesla hasn’t advertised the car at all. On the contrary, Musk has said on a few occasions that Tesla is actually anti-selling the Model 3.

“We anti-sell the Model 3,” Musk said last month. “But our net reservations continue to climb week after week. No advertising, anti-selling, nothing to test drive, still grows every week.”

Tesla, however, may soon be tweaking their anti-selling strategy.. According to a new report from Electrek, Tesla has begun contacting Model 3 reservation holders and informing them that test drives will become available beginning in late 2017. Notably, there’s no indication or reason to believe that non-reservation holders will be able to take the company’s mass market EV for a spin once deliveries begin. In fact, it stands to reason that Tesla will prioritize test drives for existing reservation holders rather than open up the floodgates to what would undoubtedly be a swarm of curious consumers interested in the Model 3 experience but not seriously considering making a purchase.

As to why Tesla has been keen to anti-sell the Model 3, the reality is that demand for the car is already far beyond what Tesla is currently able to manufacture. That said, Tesla’s top priority at the moment doesn’t center on attracting new buyers, but meeting existing demand in a timely manner.

As for what the Model 3 will bring to the table, the company a few weeks ago confirmed a number of key details. Notably, the Model 3 will sport a 0-60 MPH time of 5.6 seconds with the entry-level model boasting a range of 215 miles. It’s also worth mentioning that the number of possible configurations to the Model 3 will be less than 100, in stark contrast to the 1,500+ configurations currently available on the Model S. While this may frustrate some buyers looking to personalize the Model 3 to their liking, keeping the number of configurations to a minimum will help Tesla streamline the production process and lessen the chance of any production hiccups bubbling to the surface.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

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