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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor - Is the wait too long?


Like 400,000+ other people, we have a Tesla Model 3 reservation. And now we're excited to have an official delivery date estimate from Tesla. As you can see above there are three options for a delivery date window. One, if we select the initial configuration (long range, premium package), we could have our car this year. Two, if we want to save some money, we can receive the base model about 2 months later. And finally, if we want the dual motor all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle, we can expect it to arrive in Q3 of next year.

For clarification, we are day-one reservation holders, on the west coast, and current Tesla owners. This gives us a pretty good place in the queue.

We are interested in the AWD, so my question is: if we wait for the dual motor option, will we receive the full federal tax incentive?

The way the incentive works, the full incentive will remain in effect for 3 to 6 months after Tesla sells their 200,000th car in the US. If Tesla sells their 200,000th US vehicle in Q1 of 2018, then the incentive will be halved on July 1st, 2018. This means that the AWD vehicle will effectively cost us $3750 more (half the US federal incentive). If, however, the 200,000th vehicle is sold on or after April Fools' Day 2018, then we'll qualify for the full incentive.

So, waiting for AWD is a $3750 gamble. For us, it is more important to have the vehicle that meets our driving needs than to qualify for an incentive. So we're planning to wait for the dual motor vehicle and let the incentive chips fall where they may.

That said, I'll continue to watch Tesla's vehicle sales and attempt to project the 200,000th US sale. It is possible that as the 200,000th sale is approaching, Tesla will stockpile vehicles for delivery. If they do, they'll impact their revenue for that quarter, but they'll quickly make it up in the following quarter and they'll have many more happy customers.