If you place an order for Tesla's forthcoming entry-level electric sedan today, you might have to wait until well into 2018 for it to glide into your garage.
On Tuesday, visitors to Tesla's website were greeted with a change in language that indicates new orders for the $35,000-and-up Model 3 will be filled in "mid-2018 or later."
A Tesla spokesperson tells USA TODAY that the website change doesn't reflect any delay in initial Model 3 production, which is still slated for mid to late next year. Tesla first began taking orders for the Model 3 back in March, and quickly amassed 400,000 reservations from would-be buyers plunking down $1,000 each.
Tesla is banking on Model 3 to vault the automaker from niche builder of around 50,000 high-end electric luxury cars a year (the Model S and X run around $100,000 well equipped) to a relatively mass-market provider of alt-fuel transportation. That tenfold growth is considered critical to Tesla's success, given that they automaker — currently valued at $29 billion — is taking on more financial challenges now with its proposed acquisition of rooftop solar provider SolarCity.
Musk is planning a new Tesla product announcement on Wednesday, which some analysts believe will involve a vastly upgraded computer vision platform that will edge the cars closer to self-driving status. Others have suggested the reveal could be a Model 3 interior, which has yet to be displayed.
Follow USA TODAY tech reporter Marco della Cava @marcodellacava