The company also said orders for the Model 3 will be fulfilled in priority order based on a mix of factors including: whether or not a customer had a reservation, the date of their order, their selected vehicle configuration and the location of delivery, the company said.
When it makes new Model 3 options available, Tesla intends to give reservation holders priority to buy those cars first. Some reservation holders are waiting for the base version of the Model 3, which Tesla promised to sell for a very accessible price of $35,000. Others are waiting for Dual Motor and Dual Motor Performance versions of the Model 3.
So far, Tesla has produced versions with premium features, such as longer range, a higher top speed and all-wheel drive, which cost between $49,000 and $72,000.
Tesla ended the first quarter with a cash balance of $2.7 billion. It said then that it still expects to spend $3 billion.
Deposits for Model 3 vehicles could give Tesla some of the cash that it needs without having to further dilute earnings through stock sales or by issuing debt. Encouraging customers to commit to higher-priced, premium Model 3s could also help Tesla in its quest to attain profitability this year.
In its most recent quarterly filing, Tesla noted that “Customer deposits are included in current liabilities until refunded or until they are applied towards the customer’s purchase balance.” Tesla recognizes deposits as revenue only once the customer picks up their car and the full purchase is made, or when they cancel their order, if it’s past the point when they’d be able to get a refund.