2016 Tesla Model X: A Buyer's Timeline
by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor on April 22, 2016
Buying a new Tesla model requires faith in Elon Musk, a chunk of money upfront and a lot of patience. As former Tesla Model S owners, this wasn't our first electric-car rodeo with Elon. We knew exactly what we were getting into when we ordered our 2016 Tesla Model X.
But if you're someone who's never plunked down a deposit of a thousand dollars — or 40 times that — for a just-past-the-concept-stage Tesla, here's a diary of what you might expect:
February 2012: Shortly after Tesla shows the Model X concept to the public, it begins taking deposits for the SUV. Folks are impressed when the company gets a whopping 500 reservations in the first 24 hours. Contrast that with 2016, when people make 180,000 reservations for the Model 3 in 24 hours. What a difference a more affordable car (and years of hype) can make.
In 2012, we have our hands full trying to buy a Model S, which we didn't get until 2013, so the Model X isn't even on our radar. The situation stays that way until early 2014.
January 17, 2014: We finally order a Model X. We have the option to put $5,000 down for a standard Model X, or $40,000 down for the Signature edition. We opt for the Signature to ensure we'll have one of the first 1,000 vehicles delivered. Good thing we do: We now know that non-signature cars are not scheduled for delivery until mid-to-late 2016.
February 2014: A month or so after we write our $40K check to Tesla, we start to see reports that the Model X could be delayed.
June 2014: We receive a letter from Tesla confirming that the "falcon wing" doors are going to make it to the production version of the Model X.
November 2014: We see another report: The Model X is being delayed to Q3 2015.
Most of 2015: Months pass and no word from Tesla.
September 29, 2015: It's now 20 months since we placed our deposit. Finally, the silence breaks and Tesla emails us, asking us to configure our vehicle. This is the fun part. We take votes in the office on the color we'll get. We debate the size of the wheels and whether to get the six- or seven-passenger version.
December 24, 2015: For the first time, a Tesla "delivery specialist" contacts us to see if we need assistance with financing or handling a trade-in. We answer his questions, ask for an estimated time of arrival and if we can pick up the car from the factory. We figure if Telsa is contacting us on Christmas Eve, delivery must be close. Right?
January 2016: We call our delivery rep. He tells us the Model X is going through the last phase of production but he still doesn't have a delivery date for us.
March 11, 2016: We get an email from a different Tesla representative, telling us to log into our account to see the delivery window. Our dates are March 10-24, and that Tesla will be in touch to firm up delivery details.
March 17, 2016: Nearly a week into the delivery window, we email our Tesla rep, asking why we haven't heard from him.
March 18, 2016: We hear back: The Model X is finally ready for pickup! Tesla offers to ship it to the nearest delivery center, but we choose to pick it up at the factory in Fremont, California.
March 31, 2016: Because of our scheduling issues, we don't actually pick up the car until this date.
So there you have it. A 26 month wait for us. Sounds like a long time, but if we'd put down our deposit in 2012, it would have been more like 48 months. Either way, is the Model X worth the wait? Check back with us to find out.
Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor