Elon Musk is making sure that buyers receive their Tesla Model 3 before the end of the year. The CEO announced on Thursday that the company has acquired the trucking capacity to deliver the Model 3 in the United States by December 31 as long as it is ordered by November 30.
Musk explained that the company will skip the traditional rail step of deliveries to ensure these vehicles reach consumers on time, claiming that this will save over a month for deliveries on the East Coast. Tesla has achieved this by purchasing trucking companies and securing contracts with haulers, avoiding the “delivery logistics hell” from the previous quarter. Musk confirmed that Model S and X deliveries will use the same method. He also wrote that the company will use dedicated roll-on, roll-off ships for sending cars to Europe and Asia in the first quarter of 2019 as part of a new focus on minimizing time from factory to owner, stating that he “did not fully appreciate the working capital impact until recently.”
The shift comes as Tesla anticipates a new step in its Model 3 expansion. The $35,000 electric car entered production in July 2017, with a backlog of nearly 500,000 orders. This demand is set to skyrocket as the company starts deliveries outside of North America in 2019, with Musk telling investors in the third-quarter earnings call that he predicts global demand “probably in the order of anywhere from 500,000 to one million cars a year.” Musk said on Twitter Thursday that deliveries for China are likely to arrive in April.
These methods could all prove obsolete soon, as Tesla continues development of its fully autonomous driving system. Musk said on Twitter that the cars will “probably technically” will be able to drive themselves directly to consumers “in about a year,” with the big hurdle at the stage falling on regulatory approval. Musk said in October 2016 that the company’s cars would be able to drive autonomously coast-to-coast by the end of 2017, but the company missed this deadline.
With Tesla’s European launch events already underway, the shift in delivery methods is perhaps well-timed to avoid any bottlenecks.