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Hundreds of Parked Teslas Raise Many Questions

The 'New York Times' delves into monthslong mystery
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2018 11:05 AM CDT
In this May 27, 2018, photo, a pair of 2018 Model 3's sit at a Tesla dealership in Littleton, Colo.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(Newser) – It's a mystery that's been brewing since July: Various locations around the country—including lots, garages, and industrial sites—each have anywhere from dozens to hundreds of Tesla cars parked there. Photos and videos of the numerous parked cars started popping up online back in July, and a group of amateur detectives calling itself the Shorty Air Force has taken to tracking down the various locations where they've been stashed, the New York Times reports. Members of the sleuthing group use drones and even, in one case, an airplane to get the photos. The sites have been found in California, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Illinois, Texas, and New Jersey. They raise quite a few questions, and though a Tesla spokesperson tells the Times they're simply "logistics transit hubs," the SAF members who spoke to the paper anonymously aren't so sure.

They say they have their doubts about how candid Elon Musk is being when he discusses Tesla's sales. One big question: Is demand for the vehicles as high as he says? Some worry the parked cars represent an overflow of vehicles Tesla has produced that it doesn't have enough customers for; Business Insider noted in July there was talk of Model 3 pre-order cancellations. When confronted by customers waiting for vehicles for which they've put down a payment, Musk has said Tesla is encountering difficulties delivering cars to customers due to a shortage of car-hauling trucks, but experts say no such shortage exists and that other automakers are shipping their cars around the US just fine. There's also the possibility that, as some reports suggest, there's a shortage of replacement parts for cars needing repairs before delivery. But even if it's just a logistics issue, one expert points out that Tesla should have anticipated all of these needs: "It's not like this is unexpected demand." (Read more Tesla stories.)

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