A few weeks ago I finally got the invite to configure and order the Model 3 and I wanted to share my thoughts.

I was early in the line on 3/31/16 to place a $1,000 deposit down to reserve my place in line for the Model 3. I finally got the invite to configure my Model 3 on 1/5/18. I’m a current Model S owner on the East Coast (Boston area). There’s been much conjecture on the timing of these invites but

First production

Configuration starts with making it clear that these are first production cars and not all options are available yet.

In my case, the missing feature I really want, All Wheel Drive (AWD) is listed as coming soon in Spring 2018. If I’m waiting (I am) then I click “Hold my place” and fill in a short form to tell them why:

Just to show the rest, I went through the configure screens. You can do this without losing your place as long as you don’t actually place an order

Base Price

The first thing you notice is the price starts at $49,000 for first production cars, and then you can add on extra options. The first production cars require you to take the long-range battery (a $9,000 option) and the premium upgrades option (a $5,000) option. Eventually, you’ll be able to strip those out and get down to the $35,000 base price Elon promised, but not now. If you want to strip those out you need to wait.


Color and wheels

You start with picking the color and the wheels. Solid black is included, everything else is an extra $1,000. You can upgrade from 18″ aero wheels (which have a polarizing look to them) to the 19″ Sport wheels for $1,500.

As a sidebar, you can buy aftermarket wheels from TSportLine for $1,500 that are really nice looking. So for $1,500 with Tesla you can swap the wheels, but for the same price with TSportline you end up with 2 sets of wheels and then can use one set as a spare or sell it.

Battery and Drivetrain

On the next page, you get to see (but not change) your battery and drivetrain. You can see at some point you’ll be able to make a choice here, but currently, these areas are locked.

Tesla teases with future options.


On the next page, you get to see your interior choice which is black or black. Again, no choice but the potential for a change in the future. Unlike the prior page, you don’t even see what options may be available in the future. In my case, if they only ever plan on offering white or black then I’d go with black. But if they’d eventually offer tan or cream I’d want to wait for that. They’re not tipping their hand here.

You can have any interior color you want as long as its black.


Next, I finally get a page I can make some choices on as they’re unrelated to manufacturing but related to enabling software features for the hardware I’m purchasing.

Every Tesla comes with basic safety features (emergency braking etc) which they call Autopilot. Enhanced Autopilot (AP) is a $5,000 option (which you can add later for $6,000) which adds Autosteer etc. AP is something I really want so I’d tick this option.

Full Self Driving is another option you can add for $3,000 or $4,000 at some later date. This is a software feature they’re offering to sell you that hasn’t been written yet. They’ve been selling it to suckers owners for well over a year and have yet to have any kind of details/timeline/public plans around this. For all you know they’ll never finish this functionality before you move on to your next car. I don’t think this is a good “investment” or use of money. If I want to invest in Tesla as a company I’ll buy some stock.

Paying for Full Self Driving now makes no sense.


That’s it, time to pay. For me, the configured car came to $55,000 (paint & AP added). In addition to the $1,000 deposit I made back in 2016, there’s an additional non-refundable $2,500 payment due now and then the balance at delivery. They’re promising delivery within 4 weeks and I think they’re hitting those dates from what I’ve read elsewhere.

The only problem is the Model 3 doesn’t yet have my minimum requirements. I want Autopilot (available) and All Wheel Drive (not available).

As you’d expect from Tesla, the ordering process is very simple.

So I’m not pressing the order button but I will remain near the top of the line for when AWD becomes available. Below is their current estimate for me showing a Summer 2018 delivery estimate for a Model 3 with AWD.

Summer cant get here fast enough!