Tesla Model S Waiting List Is 11 Months

By · June 27, 2012

Tesla Model S

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.


· 54mpg (not verified) · 5 years ago

Another example of the fact that electric cars will always be a niche player. Not many people would ever own an electric car. This is just waste of tax payer money.

· · 5 years ago

Once more people start taking delivery of these cars and start blogging/talking/writing about how great they are the waiting list will get even longer. It's amazing that there nearly a year what for a car that none of the reservation holders have ever driven, and built by a car company that has never even built a car from the ground up like this. What a testament to the demand for these cars!
I think I've just about convinced the wife to plunk down the $5k necessary to reserve a 60kW all wheel drive Model X ;)

· Sydney Dent (not verified) · 5 years ago

I wonder how quickly the first ICE cars were produced. One a day for a Stutz Bearcat seems unlikely. As a future owner of a Model S, I would rather the early cars were made carefully and with good testing to avoid the disaster that Fisker Karma has. 54MPG might be correct for now about being niche. But ALWAYS is a big word. Nissan, Tesla and others are showing that cars can be made in a production line. A lot of people who wouldn't have considered an EV are now seriously considering them. Electricity is cheap and the engines are more reliable. This is only the start. And won't it be nice to buy a fully American made car for once.

· Max Reid (not verified) · 5 years ago

Wow, thats wonderful. Seems all those who bought S600, IL760, LS600h are waiting for Tesla Model S. Nice to hear.

· E Ferris (not verified) · 5 years ago

I hope this car is a huge success. I look forward to the day in the not too distant future that I can drive an electric car. If I could afford a Model S today, my name would be on the list.

· · 5 years ago

@Sydney Dent,

The problem with releasing a small number of cars over a long period is you might not see any problems in the small sample set. That's why GM's and Nissan's initial releases where in the 100's. It's better to see a failure early in 200 cars (Karma) than 1600 cars.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Actually, I've been watching the waiting list, and it hasn't grown very much over the past several months, although the introduction of the vehicle may change that. The idea that EV makers are "educating the public" is pretty laughable - they are educating the public about
only those facts they want them to know. Discussion (or even mention) of battery prices and battery lifespans are to be avoided like the plague (Nissan Leafs are sometimes losing 15% capacity per year - an situsation Nissan is calling "normal wear and tear"). Tesla won't even tell the automags how much their batteries weigh. A state secret, no doubt. Tesla's 300 mile battery pack costs $44,000. Might last 8 or 9 years. Now what was that stuff about how cheap it is to drive an electric ? Between battery replacement costs and electricity, I calculate the Model S costs almost 45 cent per mile to operate. Fortunately our Federal govt has come to the rescue of the standard of living of those well-heeled folks buying the Model S - that $7500 subsidy appropriated from lower class taxpayers means they won't have to step down to an inferior quality of wine while they regale their neighbors as to how they are saving the planet.

· George Parrott (not verified) · 5 years ago

Our "family cars" right now are the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. We replaced a Camry Hybrid and Prius to move to these EV drive systems certainly NOT just for the initial economy or even the savings from not needing petrol, BUT because of air quality concerns in the greater Sacramento area. In many areas of this country (and other countries around the world), air quality compromised by vehicular emissions is a major health concern. Between my wife and myself, we have completed over 300 full marathons and those thousands of training miles showed us the importance of "clean air."

Going "EV" is often driven by environmental, technological AND certainly political values. It is also a major reward to virtually never need to support "Middle Eastern Oil Despots" when with the solar panels on our roof and the renewable energy sources in public power in the West provide us with a virtual "oil well and refinery" at our own home here in California.

And our Tesla S deposit WILL be made by the end of this Summer to have that vehicle replace the Nissan Leaf in our garage.

· Verde (not verified) · 5 years ago

I drove a Model S the other day at the factory event. It exceeded my expectations. I think once more people get a chance to actually drive this amazing car, the backlog will only get longer.

· · 5 years ago

The backlog might get longer, but there are only so many in line for a $57k+ car in the world. That's why it's critical to lower the price of good looking EV's why "enough" range and longevity.

· Verde (not verified) · 5 years ago

@Anonymous. Tesla is a car company, not a political organization. They make great cars for people who enjoy great cars. I am not buying a car to "save the planet". If I wanted to save the planet I would ride a bicycle. I also could care less how much the battery weighs (does BMW publish how much a full gas tank weighs?). I agree with you that I don't need a tax credit to incent me to buy a Tesla. I am going to donate an extra $7500 to charity this year because I don't feel right taking other hardworking Americans money for a luxury sports car. I also plan to keep drinking the fine Made-in-America wine from Napa Valley, USA and regaling my neighbors about what a great place we live in, where ingenuity, hard work, and perseverance continually build such incredible new things that change the world.

· Frank J Perruccio (not verified) · 5 years ago

Once people see what a Tesla Model S has to offer, orders will increase. Production will have to be scaled up to meet demand.

Six Model Ss showed up at Leguna Seca Electric Vehicle Races, only 1 week after the public launch, and dominated!


Place your order soon, or have to wait a lot longer.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Hear, hear, Verde and George P. With the Model S, Tesla is pushing the EV market more mainstream, not making it mainstream, by showing that EVs can be beautiful and functional. Tesla is out to make money, and I hope they will, but we'll all benefit from their efforts in several ways that will mitigate some or all of the tax credit -- environmental improvements (every bit counts), furthering a new industry in the US (hello, jobs), positive technological externalities (anyone want to debate that taxpayer dollars for DARPA's early internet work were well spent?).

I'm generally a small government Republican, but most things in life are shades of gray, and I'm happy to support a little government nudging to induce private companies/investos to take risks. There's no debate that Tesla's stockholders are taking way more risk than taxpayers. Each Model S is about 2/1000th of a penny for each American. Stockholders are the first wiped out in a bankruptcy, and last I checked Tesla was trading at around $30/share. This is not Solyndra, and we are not China dictating market outcomes. If the end result is that Tesla helps push technology and the market so that in 5-10 years "Joe 6-Pack" can buy a Hyundai Sonata EV with 200-300 miles of range for the same $21-27K they can by a gas-driven Sonata now -- mission accomplished.

We should applaud folks like Verde willing to gift the tax credit, rather than pocket it, but really, we shouldn't castigate those who do accept the credit as they are taking risks (like that possible expensive battery replacement) we should encourage. There is nothing more American than risk-taking, and we're still the best at it.

· SteveS (not verified) · 5 years ago

They're only making ONE a day? OMG, thats absurd. Duped! Looks like the "early launch" was not motivated by their advance readiness to stamp out some product in volume. I'm in the 2700's so it looks like I'll have one by Q1 or so. Anxious to see the seating in the production model. In the Beta version the seating was cheesy.. Definitely not that of a $50-90k car. I have no qualms whatsoever about accepting the $7500 tax credit. Its a microscopic give-back relative to my financial "contributions" to society. I also got two free chargers for my Fisker courtesy of the DOE, AKA John Q Public- $9k worth of chargers- thanks folks! No qualms about this freebie either. In fact, I get so few freebies I'm elated to get a little free cheese for once.
We've GOT to stop sending all our cash to the middle east. China gets enough of it already. Now we need to get to work reducing the # of coal-fired power plants. BTW, my EV's are powered by cheap, clean burning natural gas.

· · 5 years ago


Natural Gas is cheap because of hydraulic fracturing, which is wreaking havoc on the environment (most notably drinking water) in many places including here in upstate NY. As a result, it may be less dirty when burned (it certainly isn't "clean burning"), but it is disastrous when extracted. Solar is another semi-clean option. It is truly clean when used (unlike natural gas), but can also be highly polluting to produce. Solar does also have nice give-backs as well - I'm sure you'll like that.

There is no free lunch. There is no "clean" energy. There is only "less dirty" energy. EVs allow us the flexibility to choose less dirty energy, but they do not eliminate our impact completely.

On the topic of sending our cash to the middle east (and to a greater extent, Canada), I agree. We should definitely be working harder to keep our cash in the US rather than continue to live in the dream that we can keep on consuming like it's 1950.

· · 5 years ago

@ Anonymous,
>> The idea that EV makers are "educating the public" is pretty laughable - they are educating the public about only those facts they want them to know. <<

You mean like only those negative facts (cost of battery replacement, $7500 subsidy) that you'd like them to know? While you worry about batteries "only" lasting nine years and the cost of replacing the battery... and of rich people receiving tax credits - why aren't you complaining about all the public money being spent on gasoline? How a tank of gas only lasts a week or so, and how much it costs to replace THAT every week?

To the subsidies - you do realize that we spend more public money on gasoline than has ever been paid out for EV incentives to date?

· Mr. Detroit (not verified) · 5 years ago

I'm in the med-west (DETROIT) makers of the world greatest vehicles. The Tesla look good. I have a two-part question, why was the press only given 10 min in the vehicle and what is the TRUE range on a full charge?

· futureboy (not verified) · 5 years ago

This is great, I'd happily wait 11 months for a Tesla Model S (once I choose to buy one). Yes, there are some lingering issues about battery life and range anxiety, but the latter has been more or less debunked, and the former is a high priority for research nowadays -- not because of the return of the electric car so much -- but because of cell phones. I would be surprised if within 5 years we didn't see a significantly enhanced battery capacity with a longer life.

The reviews of the Model S are off the charts, even for gearheads who crave 0-60mph in <4 seconds. Although in terms of getting vehicles cheaper, the Lit Motors C-1 looks very promising as a commuter vehicle. I think by 2015 we'll have a lot of great options for electric drivers.

Of course the larger issues of global warming, such as cattle emissions, is another issue, but with 300mm people it takes a while to get those things sorted out.

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