Who stood in line for hours, who paid the $1,000 deposit without even a sneak peek of the car, and, well, why are so many people buying into all the Tesla Model 3 hype?

Pre-orders began rolling in before the Tesla Model 3 was even unveiled: 115,000 people put the $1,000 pre-order deposit down without even so much as a peek at the car itself, reports The New York Times. (And for some quick math, this earned Tesla more than $115 million in the same amount of time.) Now, orders are nearing 400,000.

The Model 3 has gotten a huge reception, and the first ones won’t even ship until the end of 2017, and even then only to certain customers (West Coast first, then East, then overseas). Tesla promises they will be able to produce 500,000 cars per year, but that would been increasing production to 10 times what it is now. Tesla did an excellent job building hype and getting buyers interested, and reservations far outstripped what they were expecting.

So why why have so many people put money down on something that won’t go into production until next year, and that they won’t receive for another two years at best? 

Tesla Model 3 silver

What Is It About the Tesla Model 3?

Never one for understatement, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk said at the unveiling that the Model 3 is “the final step in the master plan, which is a mass market, affordable car,” reports The New York Times.

The Model 3 boasts impressive stats: 215 miles between charges (with free charges at Tesla stations), zero to 60 mph in under six seconds, five-star safety rating, seating for five, and it’ll include Tesla’s autopilot software. And at $35,000 base price, the Model 3 is the first affordable option for the company.

Who Was First in Line for Tesla’s Model 3?

Tesla showrooms across the country began taking reservations at 10 a.m. PST on Thursday, March 31, and they opened online orders one hour before unveiling the actual car: at 7:30 p.m. PST. Folks seeking to purchase a reservation began waiting in line at many Tesla locations the night before, and they’ve been posting photos on Facebook and Instagram ever since.   

The enthusiasm is palpable: in New York City, Tesla owner hopefuls posted pictures of the line that stretched down the block, in Seattle the queue was over three blocks long by 8:30 a.m., and declarations from those who’ve secured their spot are nothing short of ecstatic.

Based on our unofficial, anecdotal examination of social media, many of the people who made it their mission to be first in line across the country appear to be looking to purchase their first-ever Tesla. That the most excited folks are ones who’ve never owned a Tesla speaks to both the company’s brand power (who else, besides maybe Apple, has people lining up in droves, camping out the night before, to purchase a product they haven’t even laid eyes on?) and their stated mission with the Model 3: to bring electric vehicles to the masses.

The most excited folks in line were those who’ve never owned a Tesla before.

In Seattle, one couple ensured their first-place-in-line status by beginning their wait at 5:45 p.m. the night before reservations opened. They told The Seattle Times that they planned to purchase two Model 3s—one for each of them—and they were excited about not having to gas up their cars, get oil changes, or emit fossil fuel by-products into the air. The pair believe Tesla’s Model 3 marks a turning point in history, telling The Seattle Times: “There’s a lot of talk about everyone wanting to be green. This is proof. People want electric cars.”

At the Tesla showroom in Burlingame, CA (the company’s home base) hopeful buyers began lining up the evening before reservations were to begin the next morning, and well before the vehicle was to be unveiled the following evening reports Fortune. The first person in line? Toby Nitzsche, who set up at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and told Fortune he was looking forward to owning his first Tesla because, “it’s about supporting the technology and keeping it going.”

A line around a Tesla dealership in Gothenburg, Sweden

A line forms in Gothenburg, Sweden (Photo from Electrek)

Do Early Adopters Just Have Tesla Model 3 FOMO? 

The Zebra’s own Matt M. opted to put $1,000 on the line for a Tesla 3, and shared his experience. Matt said he was motivated to get in the reservation line primarily by “FOMO,” or “Fear of Missing Out.” An early adopter with a penchant for gadgets, Matt says he’s been impressed by Tesla vehicles so far. Matt purchased his spot online after a few days of deliberation and without ever seeing the prototype in a showroom; he says photos online were enough for him. Matt estimates he’s about 300,000th in line—a number that doesn’t seem to faze him.

As for what he’s expecting: Matt says he doesn’t care about the Model 3’s performance—he says he dislikes the act of driving, and he’s hoping the Tesla will make the experience bearable for him—particularly the gadgets and autonomous features. Though the Model 3 is listed at $35,000, Matt says he expects (and is willing) to pay up to $50,000, but he’s realistic. “I’m not sure I’d get everything I’m hoping for at that price.” Though he’s excited and does want the Model 3, Matt says if there was a legal way to sell his spot in line, he might also consider going that route. Currently, spots in line are refundable, but not transferable.

Estimates as of now have Tesla shipping 12,200 vehicles by the end of 2017, and another 64,660 by the end of 2018, reports Fortune, so that puts Matt’s delivery at the end of 2019 or early 2020, if all goes as planned.

At Quoted, we’re excited to watch the Model 3 story unfold, and we’ll keep a running tab on forthcoming details about the vehicle, ship dates, and buyer feedback as the first Model 3s roll off the production lines late next year.

About The Author

Julia is a writer living in New York City. She's written hundreds of articles about the auto industry, from demystifying car insurance to exploring the latest vehicle technologies."

  • Haggy

    Ten times what they are making now? What they are making now is 250 times what they were making in 2012 when people questioned whether they would ever make 20,000 cars total.