One of the biggest downsides of ordering a Tesla is the gigantic gulf-like expanse of time that can occur between placing the order and putting down a $100 reservation and actually receiving your car on “Delivery Day.” Wait times in the past several months have been some of the longest on record, with people buying in late 2021 sometimes being told that their car won’t be delivered until June or July 2022.
Even more frustrating than just knowing it’s going to be a long delivery period is the fact that the scheduled or promised delivery dates seem to shift and change as the days and weeks roll on. Plenty of Tesla buyers have been disappointed to receive news that they’re imminent delivery date is being delayed for some reason.
In today’s blog, we’ll be exploring more questions around the Tesla delivery times, and whether or not there are ways you might be able to determine exactly how long your car is going to take to arrive. Let’s start with some background on delivery time problems.
Background: Why Are Delivery Times a Problem for Tesla?
From the very beginning, Tesla has had issues delivering vehicles on time and meeting its obligations based on orders and customer demand. Tesla sales have been consistently rising year on year, and the company has gone from selling just a couple of thousand units in 2012, to selling close to a million cars in 2021. Keeping up with soaring demand even under normal production conditions has proved challenging.
Factors That Slow Down Tesla Delivery
1. Chip Shortage and Production Delays
After the outbreak of COVID-19, many orders for semiconductors were canceled as OEMs realized there would soon be a huge drop in orders in the wake of tightening public health regulations and resulting lockdowns.
As it happens, demand bounced back much faster than expected, creating a massive backlog. On top of that, key factories in Taiwan and mainland China were shut down in the pandemic, and one major producer in Japan even burned down. The resulting chip shortage hit OEMs all around the world, including Tesla, and the effects continue to be felt even now.
2. Color Choices
In the early years of many Tesla models, as many as 10-11 color options were available, some of which were more complex to create than others. What’s more, the matter of resetting the painting chambers for different colors made the process very time consuming.
It got to the point where decisions were made to eliminate the least popular 5-6 colors, and now the models are down to just 5 color options each.
3. Model Type
The most popular models with the highest demand like the Model 3 were taking longer to ensure delivery than others. Numbers from Statista show that in the third quarter of 2021, the Model 3 and Model Y accounted for 96 percent of Tesla vehicle deliveries by model.
Generally speaking though, with production and sales up across the board, even if just one model stands out as the bigger seller, it impacts the delivery dates of all models as efforts are made to fill orders of that popular choice.
Tesla Deliveries – Receiving a VIN Number
Many who have been through the Tesla purchasing and delivery process point to the time when you get a VIN number attached to your car as a sign that delivery will be coming shortly.
After all, the application of a VIN number to a car surely means that the car is constructed or at least very near the end of production. An article on Electrek pointed out that Tesla can’t confirm VIN numbers for cars that are not complete.
Getting the VIN earlier is better for the customer, of course, since they may well need to use it when setting up their insurance information, which they can then use within their Tesla account to get their finalized MVPA (Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement) for final signature. It’s only when these steps are completed that Tesla would dispatch a car for delivery anyway.
But how does the VIN more concretely connect to your delivery date? The unfortunate fact is that it doesn’t, but it is one of the strongest indicators that you should be expecting the delivery date confirmation quite soon. In Tesla’s own 5-step process to delivery day, getting the VIN is the third step:
- Step 1: Place Order
- Step 2: Submit Profile
- Step 3: Receive VIN
- Step 4: Schedule Delivery
- Step 5: Delivery Day Arrives
Can You Calculate the Tesla Delivery Date With Any Precision?
There are often rumors that circulate online about buyers apparently being able to work out their own delivery date as long as they have received the VIN, but none of these are substantiated by any fact. Insideevs.com published a piece in October 2021 where they detailed the once-again extending delivery times of Tesla models.
They reported that the entry-level Tesla Model 3 would need about 10 months before delivery, but only 7 months if you ordered with the 19-inch wheel option. At the time of writing they were estimating that if you were to order a new Tesla in October 2021, you’d be waiting until (for select models, not every model):
- Model 3 – August 2022 for Standard Range Plus with 18” wheels
- Model S – June 2022 for Long Range (extended from April-May)
- Model X – September 2022 for Long Range; July 2022 for Plaid
- Model Y: July 2022 for standard wheels, and April 2022 with 20-inch wheels
What it shows is a pattern of extending delivery times, perhaps caused initially by excessive orders, but then exacerbated by the chip shortage and the effects of the pandemic. Such news is a strong indication that even if you had a formula to calculate the delivery date with some accuracy, you’d have to be recalculating quite often to take into account further delays that are happening.
Ordering From Existing Tesla Inventory
One YouTuber and Tesla fan, Matnetik, published a video on July 1, 2021 that could have created something of a stir with its click-baity title, “Tesla Order/Delivery Hack! Get Your Tesla Fast!”:
Such a title would seem to be the answer to many Tesla buyers’ prayers.
While Matnetik’s video is not technically false, the title is a little misleading. In the video he discusses at some length how he got his Tesla delivered in just 4 days. It sounds miraculous, but the way he did it is far from that. It does however present a viable alternative course of action, which is to pick a Tesla from existing inventory.
Matnetik proceeded to search Tesla’s inventory by playing with the various filter settings available for color, style, model, etc. He did so, continuously checking and refreshing the page over a weekend until he found a model that was exactly the specification that he wanted, and almost brand-new with just 50 miles on the odometer.
He then proceeded to put in a new reservation and order for the existing car, which came within 4 days. The only “loss” was his initial $100 for the other Tesla he’d ordered through conventional means that could have taken months and months to arrive.
Tips on Tesla Delivery Dates
Let’s finish today’s blog with a few key bits of advice regarding Tesla and delivery dates:
1. Complete all steps in your Tesla account and order to move things along. If you have unfinished paperwork or incomplete steps in your order, then Tesla won’t move forward to confirming a VIN and then a delivery date. So, make sure you check your account regularly and are sure you’ve completed all necessary paperwork and other steps when you need to.
2. Keep in regular contact with your customer service representative. It’s the representative who will be contacting you to arrange a delivery date and time. It’s imperative that you are always reachable by that person and that you remain in regular contact in order to keep things moving smoothly, and to ensure that your delivery date can be confirmed. If they can’t reach you about a particular time or date, they might postpone your delivery further.
3. Don’t get frustrated when deadlines come and go. Any dates that you get from Tesla are invariably just estimates and should always be taken with a pinch of salt. The waiting game requires patience and a level head. Just know that it’s not just you, and never feel like everyone is getting their Tesla but you. Numerous factors go into the precise delivery time and everyone just has to play the waiting game.