By David Z. Morris
February 25, 2018

Tesla has started inviting some Model 3 reservation holders who aren’t already part of the Tesla family to configure and order their cars. The company says the cars will be delivered four weeks after the orders are placed.

The first of these invitations, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, went out last Thursday. They’re a positive sign after months of bottlenecks that have left Tesla well behind its production targets for the new mid-priced electric sedan. The first wave of Model 3s went to employees — who received the cars from a Model 3 launch event last July — and customers who have already bought a Model S or other Tesla car.

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Plenty of customers who placed a $1,000 deposit on a Model 3 still have a long wait ahead of them, though. Tesla has accepted around a half million reservations for the car. The company has revised its target date for producing 5,000 of the cars per week, which it now hopes to accomplish by the middle of this year.

But even that only adds up to about 250,000 cars per year — so buyers at the tail end of that 500,000-reservation line could be waiting well into 2020 to get their car. Plenty of would-be customers are already frustrated, in part because the delay could deprive some of them of a $7,500 tax credit. There’s also a growing number of competing electric car options, including the Nissan Leaf, which could benefit from Model 3 frustration.

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