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Actual number of Tesla Model 3 reservations lower than presumed but still sizable

Since March 31, after Tesla Motors first showed off its entry-level Model 3, the numbers of confirmed reservations have been all speculation and rumor based on company statements and press releases. In a Security Exchange Commission filing, however, Tesla stated the real numbers, a net total of 373,000 reservations, according to Electrek.

Tesla filed with the SEC in support of its bid to raise $2 billion to finance the  Tesla Model 3 production. The company has already said it wants to expand its Fremont, California, factory to be able to build 500,000 cars a year by 2018.

Related: Elon Musk confirms ‘Ludicrous’ mode for the Tesla Model 3

In earlier statements the company had implied it took 400,000 orders in April alone. CEO Elon Musk also said in early May that combining the end of 2017 first shipments and the full year 2018 cars, anyone who wanted to be sure to be on the list for 2018 delivery should get their order in soon.

To be sure, 373,000 units of a car for which the engineering design isn’t even quite finished and that won’t ship the first production models for at least 18 months is not a shabby number at all. But it’s also not 500,000, which was a fair assumption for the last week or so.

But the real numbers do matter and they stand at 373,000. In the prospectus for the capital offering, the company stated: “On March 31, 2016, we unveiled Model 3, a lower-priced sedan designed for the mass market, and as of May 15, 2016, we held deposits from about 373,000 customers who had made reservations for this car. This reservation total is a net number after customer cancellations of about 8,000 and after about 4,200 reservations that we canceled on the belief that they could have been duplicates from speculators.”

The company also believes it would be easy to get more reservations, a lot more. “We have obtained this level of reservations without any advertising or paid endorsements, with only a few social media posts leading up to the March 31 unveiling, without anybody but those who were in attendance on March 31 having had an opportunity to test drive the car, without yet publicly disclosing numerous features about the car, and with almost no attempt to drive customers to make Model 3 reservations since the week following the March 31 unveiling. If we wanted to, we believe that we could further increase the number of Model 3 reservations with minimal effort, but believe it is better to guide customers to purchase products currently in production.”

So, reading between the lines, it sounds like Tesla is OK with the number of Model 3 reservations, for now at least.