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Preorders for New Tesla Could Begin Any Day Now

By Daniel Sparks - Jul 24, 2015 at 7:03AM

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If Tesla's Model S launch offers any clues to the timeline for the launch of Tesla's newest vehicle, pre-orders could begin any moment.

In March 2012 Tesla Motors (TSLA -3.68%) customers with reservations for the company's Signature Series Model S received a message saying, "It's Time to Build Your Model S." Is a similar announcement coming for Model X reservation holders soon? Probably. In fact, if Tesla's Model X really is just two months out, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said, the company may begin letting Model X reservation holders configure their all-electric SUV any day now.

Model X prototype. Image source: Tesla Motors.

Time for Model X orders to begin
Going into 2015, Tesla said it had about 20,000 deposit-backed reservations for its Model X. Requiring customers to put $5,000 down to make a reservation, these reservations certainly have some substance. Still, these reservations are not orders -- not until customers configure their vehicles and confirm their order. Up until customer orders are confirmed, customers can easily withdraw their reservation and get their deposit back.

But the first customer reservations should begin converting to orders soon. If the timing for when Tesla began letting the first reservation holders configure their Model S vehicles offers any indication of how things will play out with Model X, preorders for the vehicle are overdue. The company began letting its first customers configure their orders by phone more than two months before the first Model S vehicles were delivered. And about a month before the first Model S deliveries began, Tesla launched its online design studio where customers could build their vehicle and choose specs on Tesla's website.

On Friday, July 17, when Tesla announced new options for Model S, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also said Model X "is on track for first deliveries in two months." This could put the first deliveries for the vehicle as early as Sept. 17 -- just shy of eight weeks from today. With first deliveries coming soon and considering the timing for the first orders for Model S, Tesla will likely unveil prices and options for its Model X any day.

For the first Model S deliveries, Tesla held an invitation-only event at its factory in Fremont, California. Will the Model X get a similar event?

New details on Model X
Even before Tesla launches an online design studio for Model X, new details on the vehicle are surfacing.

Model X prototype. Tesla says the production version will ship with falcon wing doors. Image source: Tesla Motors.

During the company's phone press conference on July 17, Musk said Tesla's new, 90 kWh battery was designed with the Model X in mind and that the larger battery is an "important element for the X." But it's still not clear what other battery size options will be available for Model X and what sizes will be the minimum and maximum sizes for the vehicle.

Furthermore, Tesla said during its July 17 phone press conference it would offer its new "Ludicrous Mode" upgrade option for Model X. Musk predicted the upgrade would reduce the flagship Model X vehicle's zero-to-60 time to 3.3 seconds -- well ahead of the 4.4-second zero-to-60 time Tesla predicted the performance version of the Model X would have when the Model X was first unveiled.

During Tesla's recent quarterly conference calls, the CEO made it clear that the number of Model X units shipped in 2015 is difficult to predict. But by piecing together comments from management and projections for total vehicle deliveries in 2015, it's likely Tesla's best estimate for Model X deliveries this year is around 5,000 units. Of course, with over 20,000 reservations, actual X units shipped this year will most likely be a matter of how fast Tesla can ramp up supply -- not a function of demand.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article stated that first deliveries for Model X could come as early as Aug. 17 rather than Sept. 17. The Fool regrets the error.

Daniel Sparks owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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