What to Expect Before Delivery


So, you’ve finally taken the plunge after no doubt months of research and angst over options.  Should I go for the bigger battery?   Do I need the cold weather package?  Do I really need the fog lights?  All questions you’ve finally answered, and your order is finally confirmed.  Now, what comes next?

Unfortunately, what comes next is 4 to 8 weeks of pure agony.


  • Estimated timeline: 3 – 6 weeks

After your order has been confirmed, for the next 20 – 30 days your car sits in the purgatory known as pre-production.  The first step is VIN assignment.  This should occur approximately 24 hours after the order is officially confirmed although it could take much longer.  If you have selected fastest delivery and have not received your VIN within a week after your order has been confirmed you should contact your DS.

Once you have your VIN, you can start to approach insurance companies to get quotes and I highly recommend Geico and Progressive as they’ve consistently shown to have low rates on Tesla’s.  However your individual results may be different.  There’s some great threads on TMC about this topic.

It’s very important to understand that during this time window, your DS will not be able to accurately predict the delivery window of your vehicle.  The car must hit the next step (Production) before this is possible.  Any information you receive up to this point is simply tentative information and should be treated as such.  I also highly recommend asking your DS when your car will enter production, but again please remember this date may changed.

How long does Pre-Production last?  Well, this depends on many factors.  The largest factors seem to be:

  • Where do you live? – For those that live outside of the US, you may see your car entering into production quicker as Tesla likes to front-load quarters to ensure delivery by end of quarter due to long shipping times.  US residents can look forward to their car being built later in the 3 month stretch.
  • When did you order?  – As mentioned above, when you order in the quarter also affects production and delivery times.  If you live in the US but ordered early in a quarter, you could be in for a long wait.  As time progresses later into the quarter, cars tend to get built quicker as the company attempts to meet their quarterly delivery guidance.  Things like holidays can also slow down production as the factory shuts down for large breaks around Thanksgiving and New Years.
  • What’s your configuration? – No one knows for sure, but it’s been discussed that Tesla groups configurations.  Additionally there have been times where a supplier for a specific part have caused delays in certain configurations.  An example of this would be the Gray Next Gen seats that caused 9 month delays in some configurations.  Always pay attention to the delivery estimate when configuring your car!

Be sure to update the Model S Tracking Spreadsheet created by TeslaMotorsClub!

Entered Production

  • Estimated timeline: 4 – 7 days

When it’s time for your car to be built, you’ll receive an email notification and notice a change in your My Tesla account.  It takes an average of 4 days for your car to move through Production, but the whole process typically lasts a total of 7.  There have been reports of some cars moving through the process in as quickly as 1 day, and as long as 14.

The dreaded delay can be added if there’s an issue with your build.  This could be a simple fix that takes a few days, or in the worst scenarios an issue that requires a full re-build.  Your DS should have more information for you when you’re in Production, they have access to see all the details of your car being assembled in Fremont, CA at the factory.

Once Production has started, be sure to ask your DS about delivery windows.  They should be able to more accurately predict this than they were in the last step.

This is also the time to secure your financing if you haven’t already.  Your two financing options are Leasing or Financing.   A Tesla Lease has many nuances, but is a 3 year agreement that allows the car to be leased for 10k / 12k / 15k miles per year.  The Lease is done through US Bank.  For financing, Tesla works with many partners including Alliant who regularly has 1.79% for 60 – 72 months deals.  Good deals including 100% financing and 1.99% interest rates for longer terms can be had depending on many factors from various Credit Unions.  There’s usually a TMC thread going on about the most recent deals.

Vehicle In Transit

  • Estimated timeline: 1 – 3 weeks

Once your car has finished production, it will move to In Transit.  This means that the car is on its way to you.  If you’re in the US and not on the West Coast, you’ll be waiting on average between 2 – 3 weeks for the car to arrive.  Tesla most commonly ships their cars via train for most of the US.  If you’re on the West Coast, your vehicle can arrive at the service center in as little as 5 days.

Once your car enters transit, your DS will have very limited knowledge about its exact location until it arrives at a check point or the store itself.

For some, this is the toughest part of the wait!

Vehicle at Service

  • Estimated timeline: 2 – 5 days

When the vehicle arrives, you’ll be notified it’s at the service center and being prepared for delivery.  This typically takes 2 – 5 days.  During this time, your DS and the team will be preparing the car for you by doing a final inspection, a final detail, and some more small items.  If you’re traveling to take delivery, please request that they charge the battery to 100% for you before you arrive during this period as they use Tesla HPWCs and it could take a few hours for them to do so.

Confirm Delivery Appt.

Once your vehicle is ready your DS will schedule a time to pick your car up.

Delivery Day

Delivery day is finally here, you made it!  Be sure to bring the helpful checklist the Tesla community has put together.

At Tesla, you’ll sign your paperwork to finalize financing, pay for your vehicle (if you haven’t done so already online), get a quick 45 – 60 minute overview of the vehicle, get some cool Tesla free stuff like hats and pens, and finally pick up your car.  You’ll be able to drive it out and the entire process usually takes about an hour.

Remember to ask them to fully charge the battery for you if you’re driving home.

If there are any issues be sure to bring them up to your DS before you take final delivery of the car.  They will generally fix issues quickly and in most instances let you take the car home and bring it back later.

Be sure to leave your delivery stories in the comments!

5 thoughts on “What to Expect Before Delivery

  1. Hi
    Liking the site so far.
    Where you say this:
    “Delivery day is finally here, you made it! Be sure to bring the helpful checklist the Tesla community has put together.” …….,I think a link to that check list would be helpful.


  2. Thanks for putting this together. I agree with Simon about linking to the checklist. Not only would it be helpful to readers like us, it’ll give your site more search engine food ranking with links to relevant content. There are other places where things could be linked to as well (like when you reference threads discussing various topics), unless these threads are always changing. In that situation it would make sense for the thread to create some stickies. Thanks again.


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