How accurate is Bloomberg’s new Tesla Model 3 tracker?
With some 400,000 buyers impatiently waiting for their Model 3s, and stock-market pundits predicting that the slow pace of deliveries will shortly bring about the demise of Tesla, if not all of Western civilization, a lot of people are eager to know how many Model 3s are out there, and how quickly they’re being produced.
Above: Tesla's Model 3 (Instagram: b.sac)
A couple of volunteers at the Tesla Motors Club created a crowdsourced Model 3 Tracker that relies on owners to submit their information. Now Bloomberg, which has long been a solid source of Tesla-related news, has created its own tracking tool that estimates the number of Model 3s rolling out of the Fremont factory by using Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs).
Bloomberg’s Model 3 tracker uses two methods to gather VIN data. The first source is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) web site, which reports how many VINs Tesla has registered for Model 3s at any given time. The limitation of this method is that automakers register VINs in large batches that anticipate planned production, so some of the numbers represent cars soon to be produced, but not yet on the road.
Above: A look at the Tesla Model 3 key card (Instagram: paulrsx)
For a second data set, Bloomberg scours the internet for VINs posted on social media by Tesla customers and fans. Some hard-core fans report the VINs of any Model 3s they see in the wild. Bloomberg also invites owners and spotters to report VINs directly to its tracking system.
Bloomberg’s data gurus compare the two datasets with Tesla’s reported production and come up with their best estimate of current Model 3 action. So, what’s the verdict? As of this writing, Bloomberg believes that Tesla has manufactured 8,670 Model 3s, and is now building around 1,052 per week.
Above: Tesla Model 3 being displayed at this year's Canadian International Autoshow in Toronto (Instagram: hellooooworldandlife)
InsideEVs, the go-to source for monthly EV sales data in the US, has long had its own methodology for estimating Tesla sales (unlike legacy automakers, Tesla does not provide monthly sales figures). The InsideEVs team recently examined Bloomberg’s tracker to see how closely its estimates match their own.