Elon Musk has warned that Tesla – the world’s biggest producer of electric vehicles – may stop taking orders because delivery times are starting to stretch to more than one year.
“Demand is now exceeding production to a ridiculous degree,” Musk told the Financial Times Future of Cars conference in a 90-minute long interview.
“We are actually probably going to limit or just stop taking orders for anything beyond a certain period of time because some of the timing (for delivery of new orders) is more than a year away.”
The news will be a shock to many and highlights the frustrations of many consumers, particularly in Australia, where those who have finally decided to switch to EVs are facing a dramatic shortage of supply and long wait times.
Nine to 12 month delays in Australia
In Australia, Tesla already warns of a nine to 12 month delay to deliveries of any of its Model 3 EVs, the only one it currently offers for sale in Australia.
The popular Model Y is not yet on offer in Australia, and it is not clear when it will be given that several anticipated launch dates came and went without comment from Tesla.
Tesla, of course, is not the only car maker unable to meet EV orders, with consumers in Australia competing to get one of the few cars offered by the likes of Hyundai, Kia and others for popular models such as the Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6.
The global production of EVs has been slowed by shortages of key materials, including semi-conductors, but Musk said the demand issues had been present before then.
“Our issue is not demand”
“Our issue is not demand, it is production,” Musk said. “Even before there was supply chain issues, Tesla’s demand exceeded production.”
Musk repeated Tesla’s long term “aspiration” to deliver 20 million EVs a year by 2030, compared to just over one million in 2021.
“I think we need to replace at least one per cent of the (global car) fleet per year to really be meaningful, and that’s where the 20 million units comes from,” he said.
“Let’s try to replace 1 per cent of the global fleet of 2 billion cars and trucks per year. I think we’ve got a good chance of getting there.”
Musk did warn of looming raw material constraints, such as for lithium and nickel. “It’s not a question of a shortage of rare elements, it’s really just the lithium mining and especially the refining capacity.”