Thousands of Model 3 vehicles are sitting in parking lots across the country, waiting to be bought.
Remember a few months ago when everyone was waiting to see whether Tesla Model 3 production would reach the ambitious target of 5,000 cars per week? After pulling out all the stops, which included building a makeshift production tent, Elon Musk finally reached his goal.
Since then, a number of analysts have pointed out that overall weekly production levels remain regularly below this figure. Regardless, the production side of things is at least on an upward trajectory. The next hurdle, it seems, is actually getting these cars to customers.
Musk has stated that his company was having difficulties shipping cars and that they were in ‘delivery logistics hell’. Blaming the issue on a lack of access to sufficient car haulers, Musk started building his own. This is a step up from the "production hell" he was in earlier in the year, but the Auto Haulers Association of America is unaware of any car hauler shortages and no other manufacturer is having a hard time shipping its cars.
Now, the New York Times has uncovered some information that could point to a third, potentially hotter hell that has been kept under wraps.
Calling themselves the Shorty Air Force, a group of internet sleuths have done some digging and found that there are thousands of Teslas parked at various storage facilities around the country, from California and Arizona to New Jersey and Chicago.
In itself, this may not be a strange thing and a spokesperson from Tesla said that these were merely logistics transit hubs. However, when you combine this with the recent sales event at Tesla’s Fremont factory where hundreds of Model 3s were offered to customers despite the backlog of people waiting for their cars, then it may warrant further attention.
Brian Johnson from Barclays Capital maintains that Tesla may have built more rear-wheel-drive Model 3s than it can sell, and also claims they have been telling customers that RWD Model 3s can now be delivered in as little as four weeks while the AWD models may take up to a year.
Tesla’s own website backs up the four-week claim for RWD Model 3s, as long as you are happy with the long-range battery and premium interior.
The AWD models have at most a four month lead time according to Tesla, although if you want the standard battery pack then you could wait for up to six months for either model. So what is the truth behind the hundreds of parked Teslas?
It seems to be a combination of too many cars with the wrong spec and a woefully inadequate delivery infrastructure that should have been sorted out months ago. Production levels are definitely higher but perhaps Tesla has not sold as many cars as it claims. Tesla's growing pains continue while the rest of the motoring world gears up for an EV onslaught. Let's hope that the Tesla machine gets on track before it gets overtaken.