Tesla Model 3 orders jump to $A18.5 billion – biggest product launch ever

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Tesla says Model 3 orders mean it is biggest ever product launch, and says this has been the week that took electric vehicles into mainstream.

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Tesla Motors says reservations for its new Model 3 electric vehicle have jumped to 325,000 at the end of the first week of the product launch, making it the biggest ever such launch with $US14 billion ($A18.5 billion) in implied sales.

“A week ago, we started taking reservations for Model 3, and the excitement has been incredible,” the company announced in a blog on Thursday (US time) titled “The Week that Electric Vehicles Went Mainstream.”

“We’ve now received more than 325,000 reservations, which corresponds to about $14 billion in implied future sales, making this the single biggest one-week launch of any product ever.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet only five per cent of sales had come from people ordering two vehicles. The company noted the interest had spread “completely organically”, with no advertising or paid endorsements. Given the power of its brand, it hasn’t had to.

“Instead, this has been a true grassroots effort driven by the passion of the Tesla team that’s worked so hard to get to this point and our current and future customers who believe so strongly in what we are trying to achieve,” the company said.

“Most importantly, we are all taking a huge step towards a better future by accelerating the transition to sustainable transportation.”

Musk responded to one tweeted question about the “sustainability” of the battery storage that Tesla vehicles use. He replied that there were no rare earths, and the main ingredient was nickel.

musk nickel tweet

 

Tesla’s reference to EVs going mainstream is the first admission by the company of the scale of what it has achieved. Analysts have written that the response to the Model S, which won’t even enter production for another 18 months, “has changed the game” and signalled the demise of the petrol car. Some say this could come as early as 2025.

Michael Liebrich, the former head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and now the chair of its advisory board, doesn’t think it will happen that quickly, but put the launch into some context at a presentation at the BNEF conference in New York this week.

tesla product lauch

Liebrich noted that – even with earlier figures – the launch of the Model 3 had outstripped the iPhone 6, and the first weekend box office of Star Force Awakens.

Liebrich believes the “cost parity crossover” point for electric vehicles will occur in the early 2020s, based on a continued fall in battery pack price, which will have fallen by 77 per cent from 2010 to widespread Model 3 availability in 2018, and will continue to fall.

bnef ev cross over

Most analysts agree. The different forecasts in uptake depend on what extent people will continue to buy petrol cars, even if there is no economic reason to do so. Tony Seba, for instance, suggests they won’t and believes there will be few if any new petrol car sales beyond 2025.

Liebrich notes that OPEC, representing the big oil exporters, still believes that electric vehicles will only account for one per cent of total car sales in 2040. Yet even on BNEF’s more modest forecasts, the oil industry faces losing 13 million barrels of oil a day in demand, mostly from China and the US.

In the meantime, Tesla says it is focusing on ramping up production rates to meet the huge demand. Already, France has offered Tesla the use of a nuclear generation site that is about to be closed.

On Thursday, we suggested that Malcolm Turnbull, himself an avid fan of the Tesla Model S, and an admirer of Tesla’s ability to replace “industrial relics” with new technologies, offer Tesla the use of one of Australia’s growing industrial relics as a stamp of his true commitment to innovation and the new economy.

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30 Comments
  1. Pfitzy 3 years ago

    Are we going to see Mal move on anything? Is he still trying to appease the right until he escapes the orbit of ignorance, through winning an election?

    One thing holding Australia back is simple economics: we have a high labour cost, and a big price tag attached to any logistical effort to ship cars offshore.

    That said, the Tesla cars require a high degree of QA, so will probably have difficulties finding favour in a low-cost labour environment where mass is more important that quality.

    The Model 3, in these numbers, and probably half a million booked by the time production even begins, will need to also live up to the quality promised in the S and X.

    • Chris Fraser 3 years ago

      It’s entirely doable (hoping Malcom will notice). We might have a well paid workforce, but the automakers provide good employment and this industry was still sustainable. The demise of the industry is not for lack of skills, nor lack of upstream parts and service, nor lack of resources, but the Australian cars were not as desirable as imported offerings. Surely with EVs they could fix that ?

      • Steve159 3 years ago

        Agree. Tesla would drive QA sufficient for export. Our low dollar will likely help in that regard.

      • john 3 years ago

        I do hope this happens however there has to be enough demand to enable the endeavor.
        A trained work force from engineering to assembly is available.

      • Chris Fraser 3 years ago

        Export would add to the industry’s viability. Nice to have, possibly not essential.

    • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

      An alternative take on our high labour costs is that other countries’ labour costs are too low.

  2. Rob 3 years ago

    Move your bloomin’ arse Malcolm and invite Tesla to manufacture its EVs in South Australia. Christopher Pyne as well.

    • Steve159 3 years ago

      That would require some vision — conservatives (by nature they “conserve the past” … it’s difficult to “conserve the future”) have trouble with being visionary (forward/future focused). Which is why they’re believed to be better economic managers (which requires past-based knowledge, not future-focused creativity).

      it’s simply not in their political DNA.

    • Geoff 3 years ago

      if the government open a Tesla factory in South Australia – then I’m moving down there!

  3. john 3 years ago

    Elon Musk openly stated his aim to help change the direction with the use of energy.
    His making the IP available for his product to startups or manufactures free is part of his commitment.

    • Steve159 3 years ago

      Well said.

  4. john 3 years ago

    It will be interesting to watch stage 2 of the story on Model 3.
    Some are hoping it relates to the battery which may be better than at present at a reduced cost even.
    In any event as Elon has said before these huge numbers of reservations ” We will have to make sure we meet our commitments on time and as promised. ”

    I feel after the M3 is sold for a few years the next product will be a sub $20 k vehicle with similar range or better aimed at the single’s market.

    • Steve159 3 years ago

      Agree. What some fail to appreciate is that Tesla has been leading the EV market for 10 years. Anytime BMW or VW or whoever get close, he will revert to form — which is to lead the market through leading-edge technology, vision, commitment.

  5. suthnsun 3 years ago

    I would love to hear a Tesla estimation of embodied emissions in the 3

    • Steve159 3 years ago

      I was directed by one anti-Tesla person to the following site https://www.prageru.com/courses/environmental-science/are-electric-cars-really-green

      The fault in their argument is that Teslas cause higher CO2 emissions than ICE vehicles because of mostly coal-fired power stations supplying the electricity to recharge them.

      So, estimation of embodied emissions will be highly dependent on the recharging source, which in time will be less and less fossil fuels. Same goes for the mining and manufacturing processes involved.

      • suthnsun 3 years ago

        Did you realize you were sending me to Lomborg?

        • Steve159 3 years ago

          As explained, the link to that site’s video which I watched was given to me by an anti-Tesla climate denier. I’m unfamiliar with Lomborg and affiliated naysayers. That video could be considered the extreme (negative).

          The point of my reply is that “embodied emissions” is a moving target. Base assumptions would need to be thoroughly elucidated.

          Furthermore, if said base assumptions are clarified by conservatives, their assumptions (present/past-based) can be entirely undermined by “disruptive technologies” which by their nature are … not foreseen, or predicted (the future is a foreign, frightening land to conservatives).

          So in that light naysayers can be ignored with the benefit of “big identities” — creative entrepreneurs who initiate said disruptive technologies (aka Musk et al).

      • Phil 3 years ago

        Quite Right. Tesla as a company could do better by offsetting 100% the carbon based on the source of energy of their charging stations.

        Here are the Co2 emissions from each source https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=73&t=11

        It’s up to the individual how they offset their home charging

        But keep in mind that an EV is far more efficient than an ICE as far as energy in and Kilowatts out.

        So every Tesla on the road should be far better than an ICE vehicle as far as ongoing Co2 ( and other) emissions

  6. trackdaze 3 years ago

    Smart move by Tesla. Additionally its now got 300 thousand leads for its
    Battery storage and associated solar Co’s

    It would be fair to say most investment in vehicles will be in electrification from here on in.
    It would also be fair to say there will be a’few’tense meetings in vehicle marketing and product planning.

  7. onesecond 3 years ago

    You wrote: “to the Model S, which won’t even enter production for another 18 months”
    Clearly you must mean the Model 3 since the Model S is in production since 2012.

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