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Tesla Slaps Down Model 3 Speculators, Cancelling Excess Reservations

Tesla is updating the look of the Model S to make it more closely align with the Model X SUV. It announced Thursday, June 9, 2016 plans to offer a cheaper option of the Model S.Tesla is updating the look of the Model S to make it more closely align with the Model X SUV. It announced Thursday, June 9, 2016 plans to offer a cheaper option of the Model S.
Tesla is updating the look of the Model S to make it more closely align with the Model X SUV. It announced Thursday, June 9, 2016 plans to offer a cheaper option of the Model S.Courtesy of Tesla

On Friday, skeptical analyst Anton Wahlman announced that he had successfully placed 20 reservations for a Tesla Model 3, apparently defeating the 2-per-customer maximum set by the company. Yahoo! Finance found they, too, were able to order more than the limit, simply by submitting multiple orders on separate forms.

This suggested, according to Wahlman, that some of the 400,000 refundable deposits reported by the company could have been made by speculators, possibly inflating the impression of huge demand for the car.

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Elon Musk leapt to action quickly, taking to Twitter to reassure everyone that a system scan showed only 0.2% of orders indicated duplicates over the limit, and that excess preorders would be cancelled.

That should help reassure observers of the integrity of Tesla’s preorder numbers, which are being widely interpreted as a huge win for the company. Tesla (TSLA) stock jumped nearly 10% in the week after preorders opened, and it’s up nearly 70% since February.

For more on Model 3 preorders, watch our video.

Of course, there’s something a little funny about the idea that speculators piling in to the Model 3 preorder should be a cause for skepticism in the first place. It’s a great sign for a company, after all, that mere spots in line for a product are considered to have value.

If anything, it seems Tesla’s big problem is not too little demand, but too much. The company says it won’t start shipping Model 3s until late 2017, and between likely-inevitable delays and a still-growing backlog, some preorder customers could lose patience.