A detail photo of the Tesla Model 3, at the L.A. Auto Show, at the L.A. Convention Center, on Nov. 30, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Here's the quickest way to get behind the wheel of a Tesla Model 3
By PETER HOLLEY
The Washington Post
There are three ways to get into the driver’s seat of Tesla’s Model 3, the mass-market electric vehicle that Elon Musk has bet his company’s fortune on:
1. Go back in time, get a job at Tesla and become one of the lucky Tesla employees granted access to the car months ahead of everyone else.
2. Shell out the $1,000 for a Model 3 reservation today, taking your place at the back of a half-million-person-long line.
3. Rent a Model 3 on car sharing services like Turo.
The last option is probably your best bet. Known as “Airbnb for cars,” Turo is a San Francisco company that allows people to rent out their vehicles for cash, a practice known as peer-to-peer car sharing.
The company already has at least six Model 3s available for rent now in Florida, Colorado, California and Virginia. But that number will climb to 20 by the end of the month, according to the company’s director of communication, Steve Webb, and an additional 116 Turo members have signed up to rent out their Model 3s upon delivery.
Capitalizing on the car’s rarity, people are renting out their Model 3s for a pretty penny. Rental prices range from $213 to $700 a day.
Webb said demand is high for the vehicles, some of which are booked months in advance. “One guy hasn’t even been able to drive his Model 3 yet because from the moment he got it, he’s been renting the car out on Turo.”
But people are finding that the early versions of the Model 3 have some bugs.
“I am making this car available for Turo rentals so that more people can experience the EV revolution,” writes a person who goes by the name Joseph on Turo in his vehicle’s description. “Note that the Model 3 software still has some minor bugs and quirks, so only technically savvy renters willing to be patient with a car that is still somewhat in ‘beta,’ please.”
In some ways, Tesla owners opting to use a car-sharing network is hardly surprising. They tend to be early adopters, according to experts, and — aside from the Model 3 — Teslas are more than two times as expensive as the average new car in 2017.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has touted the benefits of car sharing, noting that the practice offers car owners the chance to monetize a depreciating asset that often sits idle for large chunks of the day.
That is one reason Musk has said he wants to create the Tesla Network, a ride-sharing fleet of autonomous Teslas that owners rent out when they’re not in use. General Motors, BMW and Fiat have already launched similar ride-sharing programs in limited areas, while Ford, Toyota and Honda have invested in ride-sharing companies in recent years.
Webb said that the company’s marketplace includes about 850 different makes and models, and the average owner makes about $500 a month, which significantly offsets the costs of owning most vehicles on the road.
“If you rent out a Tesla S seven times each month, that pays off the monthly financing fee,” Webb said, noting that some Turo users are generating enough revenue using the service to purchase a second vehicle.
Tesla is expected to report new Model 3 production numbers during its quarterly earnings call in February.