Model Years

Model Years

Hi all,

Long time lurker, first time poster. Very excited prospective Model S buyer.

I'm wondering if Tesla has made any announcement about their plans for Model S's model year progression. The reason I ask is that I spoke with a Tesla rep today and asked when I would get my car if I were to reserve today. Her answer was that, given the number of reservations they have now, it would probably be early in 2013 unless I reserved a signature model.

If this were a regular car company, I might say to myself "Well, if I'm waiting for 6-8 months after the release of the 2012 model year, I might just wait until the 2013 comes out just a few months later."

Any thoughts?

Much appreciated,

MTriantafelow | September 23, 2011

They don't really do "model years" like a traditional car company. Instead, they use version numbers (e.g. v1.0, v1.5,, ect.) to signify major and minor updates to the vehicle.

My guess is (and this is completely speculation) that by early 2013 they may do some minor updates to fix any "issues" that showed up with the very early adopters. So you might nab a Model S v1.1 or v1.2.

I wouldn't expect a v2.0 (major revision) until at least 2014. Remember, 2013 is really the first full year of production, and they are going to be busy getting the international Model S's out the door. I doubt they are going to be spending much time updating it before they even really started fully selling it.

petero | September 24, 2011

I do not see significant body or interior changes on the ‘S’ for at least four years. The biggest changes will be in improved quality, battery, and higher pricing. Remember how Lexus bought market share by pricing the original LS400 at under $40K. Lexus built its’ name on quality and value.

In my opinion, Tesla has 4 short term goals: get the ‘S’ into production, update and refine ‘S’ problem areas (most will probably be production line and software oriented), increase production volume, and get the ‘X’ into alpha testing.

When the magazines and newspapers drive the’ S’ they will go crazy and it will create huge demand. The ‘S’ will blow away ALL of its competition. Since Tesla will not add “market adjusted valuation” the demand for new and used “S” will skyrocket. When this happens Tesla won’t be able to met demand. Non believer owners will sell their cars for substantial profits and ultimately Tesla may raise their price. Supply (available production capacity)-Demand-Price. If history is a guide to market demands on pricing look at the introductions of the Miata, Prius, VW Bug, and yes the Volt.

If you think you may want an “S,” my advice is pony up your $5K. I personally would not want an early “S” so they have time to correct and improve the production line and software. My reservation is around #3,900.

Good luck and Godspeed.

Nicu | September 24, 2011

If there are no price overruns, they will not increase the price - they want to build a wonderful brand, free of business as usual gimmicks. Cutting corners will not build a long term trusty and strong relationship with customers. They want the whole experience to be flawless : from reserving online to recycling the car 20 years or more later.

They will increase production as fast as they can (more sales bring more money in which helps increase speed / production). Do not forget that normally they could make 20k Model S per shift in 2013 which goes to 60k / year with three shifts.

MTriantafelow | September 24, 2011

Right, Elon has made a big deal out of the fact that they are building 20k Model Ses on a single shift. If demand far outstrips supply they will simply add a second shift.

I would be shocked if 40k a year is not enough in this economy, at this point in time. Word just doesn't travel that fast.

Brant | September 24, 2011

Here is how the competition (BMW 5) has been doing over the last 2 yrs

Sales of 5 series in North America during December (I assume a good month for sales?) around 4-5K units.

I think 40K Model S cars/year will likely be enough
But if demand get crazy it is good to know they have the capacity to handle it.

jfeister | September 27, 2011

It's an interesting problem. My guess / hope is that there are a lot of "lurkers" out there, waiting to see what the production car looks like before making a move. With that in mind, the line for getting your Model S is already 18 months long. Will that line get longer or shorter? Hard to say. Production rates will increase, but demand may increase as well. And certainly one would expect there to be an update to the car after the first year. If it were me I would just plunk down the 5k. You can always change your mind if you see an update on the horizon soon after you expect to take delivery, and this way you cover yourself if the line keeps getting longer.

As far as timing for the updated car, even though Tesla has not given the traditional year label to the Roadster, instead opting for version numbers, the updates have come around once every year if my memory serves me. Of course, who knows when exactly the first Model S will actually roll of the assembly line. There are just to many unknowns to make an accurate prediction. I say go for it. Of course I am a shareholder so what do you expect? :)

Robert.Boston | September 29, 2011

The "model year" treadmill of the major car companies is a strange business model, guaranteeing the obsolescence of inventory and provoking needless changes each year -- and mounting expectations for some new tweak or gadget. I hope Tesla continues to resist that trap and keep with its "version number" approach.

Brian H | September 30, 2011

Good point, Robert. Hard to resist the "model year" labels, tho'.

VolkerP | October 1, 2011

"Is that a 2012 Model S"
"Yes, but no longer than the next five minutes."
"I'm just downloading the new 1.2 firmware version to the car. When activated, it will improve the rebalancing algorithm of my battery pack, making nearly all 300 miles of range available in standard mode. That's the most important change for the 2013 model."
"Err, what were you talking about?"

Brian H | October 2, 2011

The firmware defines the car! Download next year's model.

jbunn | October 3, 2011

One of the speakers at the Tesla factory on the 1st of October said if it's built in 2012, it's a 2012. If it's built on January 1 of the next year, it's a 2013. He said something about none of this fooling around with model years like the other manufacturers. He also mentioned like software, they would use a version number to denote significant model changes instead of the standard model-year. People out of habit will still look for the year, but you could have a V1.0 crossing over multiple years.

Kallisman | October 4, 2011

That should mean that you can actually upgrade the car to a more recent model by changing the improved parts and software.

Robert.Boston | October 4, 2011

This approach makes sense for resale purposes -- buyers want some benchmark of years-in-service, which is neatly summarized by the model year + mileage.