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Tesla details the process for reserving a Model 3

Tesla details the process for reserving a Model 3


$1,000 upfront, then you wait

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Tesla just published a blog post with some more details on reserving a Model 3, which is scheduled to debut at an event at the company's Hawthorne, California facility late next week. But "debut" is a lot different from "launch" — the car won't actually be on the road until late 2017, a time frame that Tesla reaffirms in this latest post.

If you want to put your name down for the car, you'll need to either visit a Tesla store on March 31st, which is the date of the unveil, or wait until reservations go live on Tesla's site around the time of the announcement, 8:30PM PT. You'll need to put down $1,000 upfront to get your name on the list. That sounds like a big chunk of change — and it is — but the waiting list is likely to fill up quickly: Tesla is still working through reservations of Model X, which first went into production late last year. Existing Tesla customers will get priority, and Tesla says that the best way to get an early reservation slot will be to go into a store when it opens on the 31st — if you wait until reservations go live on the website that evening, you'll be pretty far behind the curve.

The Model 3 won't launch everywhere simultaneously. The car — Tesla's first mass-market vehicle, and an absolutely critical launch for the company — will first be available on the American west coast before moving east, eventually crossing the pond to "Europe, APAC, and right-hand drive markets."

"We recognize that everyone wants to get their Model 3 as quickly as possible. Our overarching goal is to maximize total customer happiness within the bounds of what is physically possible," Tesla says. And even if you're in the first batch — late 2017 delivery — that's going to be a pretty painful wait.

We expect to know much more next Thursday.

Our first look at the Tesla Model X