At least 13 here order Teslas

The Model 3 is estimated to cost under $150,000 here when it arrives in 2018. The 13 who have placed orders for the car are part of a newly created Tesla Enthusiasts SG group.
The Model 3 is estimated to cost under $150,000 here when it arrives in 2018. The 13 who have placed orders for the car are part of a newly created Tesla Enthusiasts SG group.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

At least 13 people in Singapore have placed orders for Tesla's Model 3, contributing to an estimated global order bank of more than 270,000 since Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the new electric car last Friday.

According to IT specialist and Tesla owner Joe Nguyen, 13 people among 123 who joined a newly created Tesla Enthusiasts SG group on Facebook have each placed a US$1,000 (S$1,350) deposit to book the car online. Said Mr Nguyen. "I expect there are many more outside this group."

All who booked a Model 3 - which is estimated to cost under $150,000 here when it arrives in 2018 - have never owned a Tesla, are unsure of how they will recharge their car (very few live in landed properties), and have no assurance at all about after-sales support.

Mr Michiel Verhoeven, 49, said he is not discouraged even though he lives in a condo. "Condo associations need to be influenced, and I am willing to lobby and pay for charging. Charging starts with one person at a time," said Mr Verhoeven, a vice-president at software giant SAP.

Mr Tim Shim, 36, an IT professional, said by the time the Model 3 arrives in Singapore, "I'm pretty optimistic that we would have ironed out our regulatory issues."

Mr Glen Tay, 43, a director at an IT consultancy, said: "I was among the first to use the iPhone back in 2007, because I believed in the founder, Steve Jobs. It's the same with Tesla."

Mr Nguyen, 44, booked one himself. "My wife's car will need replacing in a few years," he said. "And my oldest son, who's 16, will be driving in a couple of years."

Mr Musk announced on Twitter that the Model 3 had garnered 276,000 bookings by Saturday.

The bookings may not all translate to sales, though. The US$1,000 deposit is refundable.

A Tesla spokesman said: "The reservation holder will get notification from us if he or she would like to proceed with the production."

If the customer takes the next step and production is under way, the order is deemed confirmed and there is no refund.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2016, with the headline 'At least 13 here order Teslas'. Print Edition | Subscribe