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Proposed Model 3 Reservation Process Solutions

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by tenstringer009, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. tenstringer009

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    I apologize in advance for the long post. I needed something to distract my mind while I went on a long(ish) run this afternoon, and solving the great problem of the Model 3 reservation process is what my mind settled on. Here are the possible solutions that I came up with. Feel free to critique them and prove to me that I really shouldn’t try to solve any problems while I’m running in the future.

    Option #1 (as of right now, this is what it seems like Tesla is going to do).
    On March 31[SUP]st[/SUP], each gallery/store will start take reservations once their doors open. The obvious issue with this approach is that those galleries/stores on the East Coast will have a 3 hour head start of those on the West Coast, so even if you’re #1 in line at the Fremont factory, you may end up with reservation #2,000+ due to all the reservations that happened in the other time zones.

    Option #2
    Tesla creates additional reservation categories for each time zone. So, you could have RN-E (Reservation Number-East), RN-C (Reservation Number-Central), RN-M (Reservation Number-Mountain), and RN-P (Reservation Number-Pacific). The category you end up in is dependent on which time zone you reserve in. Obviously, there’s the possibility of someone reserving in the East zone, but in two years, now lives in the Pacific zone; however, these are fringe cases that could be ironed out on a case-by-case basis. This would solve the problem of East Coasters getting a 3 hour jump on those on the West.

    Option #3
    If Tesla doesn’t want to create additional reservation categories, I’d then bucket all galleries/stores into 3 approximately even groups based on geography (roughly all stores east of the Appalachians, all stores between the Appalachians and the Rockies, and then all stores west of the Rockies). You would then do a random lottery within each group to determine which store would get reservation spot #1, which would get reservation spot #2, etc. Given the East Coast doesn’t get as much love as Tesla (and most likely those on the West Coast will get their Model 3s first anyway), I’d say that the East Zone should get reservation #1, Central Zone get reservation #2, and the West Zone get reservation #3.

    Given this approach is a bit more complicated, and I’m sure I haven’t explained it very well, here’s a simplified example. Let’s say that Tesla only has 6 stores in the US. New York and Miami in the East, Dallas and Minneapolis in the Central region, and Seattle and Los Angeles in the West. Tesla would then randomly select one store out of each region to hold position #1 in their zone. Let’s say that ends up being NY, Minneapolis, and Seattle (meaning Miami, Dallas, and LA would hold the #2 position in their respective regions). That would mean whoever was first in line at the NY store would get RN#1, the first in line in Minneapolis would get RN#2, and the first in line in Seattle would get RN#3. Then, the first person in line at the Miami, Dallas, and LA stores would get RN#4, #5, and #6, respectively. Then, the people second in line at the NY, Minneapolis, and Seattle stores would get RN#7, #8, and #9, respectively.

    Ultimately, I think Option #3, while certainly the most complicated and would probably result in the most administrative overhead, would neutralize any store-by-store variances. What if one store has 5 employees taking reservations, while another only has 1? Would it be fair that someone who is #100 in line at Fremont ends up with a lower reservation number than someone who is #10 at the Santa Barbara store just because Fremont had more people on hand to process orders? What if one of the stores has a power outage or connectivity issues? What if one store is late to open? By basically pre-defining the spot each person in line at each store will get, regardless of any of these variables, I think Tesla would avoid a lot of potentially frustrated customers.

    I would also release the lottery positions about 3 days before the reservation start date so people could make judgment calls based on whether they want to take a chance going to the store that holds one of the earlier lottery numbers in their region. As it stands now, I don’t know if I should head to Santana Row, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Stanford, Burlingame, Fremont, or Dublin to put down my reservation (certainly not a bad problem to have…I know some people are planning to drive 2+ hours to make their reservation).

    At the end of the day, there’s certainly no perfectly equal way for Tesla to issue reservations. However, they should at least try to make the process as fair as possible for as many people as possible. To me, Option #3 fills that objective.

    Then there's the whole issue of batching and people jumping in line due to a more highly optioned vehicle, so ultimately this all probably won't matter, but let's not think about that quite yet...I'll save that issue for one of my longer runs in a couple of years :wink:
     
  2. rneugebauer

    rneugebauer Member

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    You forget that Tesla has stores in Asia, Europe etc.

    Their solution must include rules for those as well.

    Many best guess is that they will all start taking reservations at the same time, which will be the middle of the night in some places.
     
  3. EMP40

    EMP40 Member

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    The time zone can easily be adjusted based on location to equalize.
     
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Member

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    I think time of production will be weighted by three factors. Delivery location, options chosen, and reservation time. I see those breaking down as follows:

    West coast > Rest of the USA > Overseas (Forex dependent)
    Highly optioned > Lesser optioned
    Reveal party > In store reservations (time zone dependent) > Online

    Based on that model, I think your Option B above is the most likely. The ratio of ease of implementation and fairness is much better than the other options.

    The gulf of time between deliveries for a CA resident who reserves at the reveal and orders a max optioned vs the person in China who reserves online and orders base model... whoo boy

    That kind of went off topic... :biggrin: but yeah, Option B
     
  5. hobbes

    hobbes Active Member

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    True, but EU reservation numbers are a separate set from US numbers if I remember correctly (unlike VINs), and they will deliver US#1 before EU#1 (if they do it like for the S and X), so they don´t have to worry about the time zone "advantage" there.
     
  6. rnelsonee

    rnelsonee Member

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    What about Option 4: Create one list based on local time reservations. No zones, no complicated scheduling.

    If EastCoastPersonA reserves at 10:03:05 EST, and EastCoastPersonB reserves at 10:03:54 EST, and WestCoastPersonA reserves at 10:03:15 PST, then the order goes: EastCoastPersonA, WestCoastPersonA, EastCoastPersonB. Then build the cars in whatever order they want, and deliver them in whatever method they use now.

    Given the software talent at Tesla, this is child's play to add a few lines of code to sort their database by local time zone and assign adjusted reservation numbers.
     
  7. DMage

    DMage Member

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    This. Simplest solution is generally always the answer. Probably will store the times as UTC and ignore the dateline.
     
  8. Gerasimental

    Gerasimental Member

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    I've posted this elsewhere, but will say it here again:

    I have learned from a European Tesla source that stores in Europe will only start taking reservations on April 1st.

    I guess they wil adjust for timezones within the US too. While #4 works, I'm sure the Silicon Valley crowd will be annoyed if the east-coasters are first to gloat on social media.
     
  9. houdini

    houdini Member

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    #9 houdini, Mar 8, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
    Correct. Elon stated Global launch and reservations on the 31st. It's not all USA you know Mr. Op. If my Store, Melbourne, started taking reservations at opening on the 31st it would be the 30th in the US and also Manu hours before the launch. If they start taking orders after the launch and the launch is sometime during the day of the 31st it may still be possible to align with a time when the non-US stores are still open. I think from memory the Melbourne store opens until 8pm on a Thursday. The 31st is a Thursday.
    Means we won't be able to queue in a deck chair from opening but rather just turn up around the launch time to the store.
     
  10. MichFin

    MichFin Member

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    I really don't think they will take orders until after the reveal in California. So it's probably going to all start at the same time.
     
  11. vjason

    vjason Member

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    Is this really an issue given that highly optioned cars will ship first? Like any board where enthusiasts gather, I think we forget that we represent a small number of the actual customers out there.

    Assuming that the current plan is to accept reservations at store open on March 31, I personally do not see Tesla trying to "fix" anything. The number of people who are concerned about this is probably so small that it just isn't that big of a deal.

    Remember that Tesla is setting up to build a lot of these things, and even if there are 1000 people on this board who are A) truly concerned about this B) on the US west coast and C) intend to buy highly optioned cars do you really think the wait will be that much longer?

    I'm just a noob around here, but once you decide to build a mass market product the only thing that matters is cranking them out as fast as possible (without sacrificing your reputation of course). This is especially true when your business is burning significant amounts of cash; the faster you move product the faster your balance sheet turns green, your stock skyrockets, etc.

    Now if Elon comes out and says we can only build 50 3's a day for the first 2 months of the release I could understand the frustration, but that probably isn't going to happen.
     
  12. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    And all the CA buyers will end up getting cars built in the 3rd month of a quarter, so skip ahead of buyers from other locations. Just go in on the 31st of March and enjoy the company of fellow enthusiasts, or go online April 1st and then go (back) to bed. Either way, (except for those where escrow applies) hope that Tesla doesn't sink and take your reservation fee with them.
     
  13. Jhsq

    Jhsq Member

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    UTC solution is clearly the best considering that April 1st the online reservations start to pour in all over the world, easier to continue the database from unified set. Besides it has been mentioned numerous times that the individuals with higher feature orders will be shipped before the basic ones. Still if you are looking for the base model camping out could mean you get it a year before your lazier neighbor does after he ordered the car online (if you have the same configuration and country)
     
  14. tenstringer009

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    I apologize for not adding a note regarding international reservations. As some have mentioned, the international markets (e.g. Europe and Canada, even) already have their own distinct set of reservation numbers, and Tesla typically doesn't start delivering vehicles to those other markets until well after deliveries have started in the US (very similar to how Europe often gets the new models from European manufacturers well before the US...the Jaguar XE comes to mind). Therefore, admittedly, I'm not too concerned what reservation process Tesla takes in those markets; however, I should have mentioned that in my original post. Ultimately, whatever process Tesla applies for the US they should apply in all other reservation sets (e.g. I'm sure our neighbors to the north want a fair process whereby Quebec doesn't get a huge head start over Vancouver).

    My apologies if I offended anyone with my US-centric solutions/examples.
     
  15. rnelsonee

    rnelsonee Member

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    I see this a lot, but to me, it makes it more of an issue. If I was going to drop $60k on a fully-equipped Model 3, I'd be pretty sure I'm getting in the first half of 2018, when I think the Federal tax credit is in full effect. So I'd order the Model 3 at home.

    But if I'm only spending $45k on Model 3 (which I think is what most people will do), now all of a sudden I'm in a huge crowd of people so now it's 2019 territory, but maybe Q3-Q4 2018 - if I have a low reservation number. And I want that tax credit. Ordering on the 1st could easily mean a 6 month difference in getting the car, which could make a $3,750 difference in the tax credit.

    Even if ordering on 3/31 only has a 10% chance of making this theory/scenario possible, then the Expected Value EV= 10%*$3750 = $375. So basically, is it worth $375 for me to stand in line with all you other crazy people? And get the benefit of getting a Model 3 before most of the other <$45k buyers? Absolutely (to me)!
     
  16. tenstringer009

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    This option crossed my mind as well. The only potential issue that I saw with this approach is that people won't get their specific RN# right when they reserve. I'm sure Tesla could just tell people that official RN#s will be issued 24 hours later so that they can compile and order everything properly, but I'm just not sure what people's reactions would be. Personally, I'd certainly prefer the instant gratification of getting a specific RN# after getting up early, waiting in line, etc., but maybe I'm in the minority on that. I could also imagine someone who is second in line at a given store, feeling like they scored big time, head back home and 24 hours later find out that they're RN#250+ for some reason, and have a 'WTF' moment. Wouldn't be a great experience for those new to Tesla.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I completely agree that, if history is any indicator, your reservation number is pretty pointless once production begins given Tesla's propensity to build-out higher-spec models first, those located closest to the factory get priority, etc (that's what the last sentence of my OP was getting at).

    However, this will be a lot of people's first interaction with Tesla, and they won't necessarily understand all of that. That's why the RN# that they get assigned will be very important to some of them. On top of that, you throw in the issue of the $7,500 tax credit potentially expiring during the first run of Model 3s, and this could turn into a huge headache down the line for Tesla. That's why I think they really need to very careful/considerate on how they go about doing this. Quite frankly, if they're going to continue to prioritize certain regions over others (at least in the beginning) then they should create distinct reservations lists based on time zones. Can you imagine how upset an East Coast customer would be if someone in the West Coast with a much higher reservation number got their Model 3 before them, and as a result that West Coast customer got the $7,500 tax credit, but the East Coaster did not? That just has bad news written all over it.
     
  17. Model 3

    Model 3 Active Member

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    Well, if not exactly this, something like that is what I do expect. The will start the production-run slowly and ramping up to the ~300-350k/y in 2020. For the first few weeks I do expect way lower then 50 3's a day.
     
  18. roguenode

    roguenode Member

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    I was under the impression (just from reading these forums, but seems to make sense) that the highly optioned models are built first as they are the highest profit vehicles and help recoup line and supplier costs of a new model release as quickly as possible and that West coast is generally first to keep the early builds closer to Tesla's home base to make access to them easier in case any early issues are encountered.
     
  19. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    Those are already in other buckets. Tesla has always maintained different reservation lists for the different regions, because the cars ship at different times.
     
  20. larmor

    larmor Member

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    What will be institutional or large company orders for M3 be? Conceivably it begins with something like Evercar:

    About Us | Evercar
     

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