Tesla’s customers will have to wait a little while before receiving their first Model 3, because the first one that rolls off the production line will go to the electric automaker CEO Elon Musk.
The Silicon Valley company has pulled in more than $500 million in deposits for the Model 3. Most of the people who made deposits for the $35,000 electric vehicle will have to wait more than a year before obtaining Tesla’s newest creation.
Tesla has yet to prove that it can consistently meet delivery dates. The company has missed several crucial marks in the past. Tesla sold 15 percent fewer cars during the second quarter of 2016 than forecasted, which was lower than the first quarter of that year. It sold 14,370 cars last year, down from the 17,000 it expected to sell, according to a letter sent to shareholders in 2016.
Tesla managed to deliver 22,000 vehicles in the second quarter of this year, fewer than many analysts expected. Deliveries slowed from 25,000 cars in the first quarter, partially because of a lack of battery packs. Batteries for electric vehicles are composed of rare materials that are not easily mined.
The company’s comparatively poor sales numbers compared to big hitters Ford and General Motors, both of which sell millions of cars a year. The California-based vehicle maker delivered fewer than 80,000 vehicles in 2016.
Still, Musk has promised to deliver between 100,000 and 200,000 Model 3s to the market in the second half of 2017. Analysts are dubious, though. Some believe the company’s autonomous driving feature is a better barometer for Tesla’s success than the Model 3.
Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, for instance, doesn’t believe that the Model 3 launch will help the company create value, nor does he value Musk’s other ventures: solar roofs, autonomous semi-trucks or Tesla Powerwalls. But he does suggest the car manufacturer’s rider-sharing project, which is currently in development, could kick the company’s value into overdrive.
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