Tesla Model S Waiting List Is 11 Months
When I saw Nissan's Mark Perry a few weeks ago, he referred to the Nissan LEAF introduction as "the launch that never ends." In other words, passing over the keys to the first customers is only the beginning of a long slog: producing one vehicle after the next, responding to issues brought up by early adopters, and educating the market over and over again about how a EV is different than an internal combustion car. That's the first stage that Tesla now finds itself after the successful into of the Model S.
Last Friday, Tesla Motors delivered its first Model S. For quality-control purposes, according to the company, Tesla is now building only one salable Model S per day at its factory in California. Tesla execs anticipate that production will slowly ramp up to a rate of 80 per day by the end of 2012. Company officials anticipate the plant will ramp up to a production rate of 80 cars a day by year's end. In a perfect world, that equates to roughly 1,600-plus Model S electric sedans rolling off the lines per month. To date, Tesla has built "at least 20" Model S sedans, said Gilbert Passin, Tesla's head of manufacturing.
Until production reaches a decent level, the waiting list for the Model S will continue to grow. George Blankenship, Tesla's vice-president of retail experience, told Automotive News that reservations for the Model S ($5,000 deposit required) hit 9,800 by the end of the first quarter of 2012. "Our first quarter was stronger than our fourth quarter [of 2011], which was stronger than our third quarter. We continue to have strong reservations," says Blankenship. Tesla said reservations now exceed 10,000.
A potential Model S buyer who reserves one today could take delivery of their electric sedan in May 2013. Tesla hopes to cut the wait time from 11 months down to three months, but with reservations pouring in and production currently moving at a slow pace, there's no way to determine exactly when Tesla will be able to catch up and reach that three-month mark.
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