Tesla Model 3 Orders Hit 276,000

Orders for the Tesla Model 3 reached 276,000 late Saturday, among worries the electric car company may not be able to deliver the cars until well beyond its target date.

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) delivered only 14,073 vehicles in the final quarter of last year.

Experts already have started to voice their skepticism about the pace at which Tesla can produce and deliver cars. Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Autotrader wrote:

The reaction to the Tesla Model 3 – a quarter million pre-orders is remarkable. Now comes the hard part – delivering the car. Meantime, Tesla must manage expectations of those customers who plunked down deposits regarding the car’s actual arrival on the market and the delivery to driveways of those who placed orders. Tesla also needs to build capacity to deliver and service the Model 3, the promised highest volume vehicle for the electric car maker.

Two years ago, Tesla management said its Gigafactory would produce enough batteries to deliver 500,000 cars — by 2020. At the current rate of orders for the Model 3, which probably will hit 300,000 this month, Elon Musk may have overpromised on the way to underdelivering. That will test how loyal people who may have to wait until 2018 to get their Tesla 3 are.