Tesla Discontinues the "$35,000" Tesla Model 3 by Raising the Price

Joey Capparella
Photo credit: Tesla

From Car and Driver

UPDATE 5/14/19: Tesla has increased the base prices for all Model 3 trims by $400. That means the "$35,o00" Model 3 is $35,400 before the required destination and doc fee (and $36,600 with it). That Standard Range model is still only available by special order on the phone or at a Tesla dealership. The Standard Range Plus is now $41,100, the Long Range is $51,100, and the Performance is $61,100.

  • Tesla changed around the Model 3 lineup in April, raising prices due to newly standard Autopilot and removing the least expensive Standard Range model from its online ordering.
  • The Standard Range car, which costs $36,600 with destination, is only available by special order at Tesla stores.
  • Tesla says that the first deliveries of the Standard Range and Standard Range Plus vehicles began during the weekend of April 13.

Just eight weeks after Tesla finally announced the long-promised “$35,000” version of the Model 3, it rejiggered the lineup and removed the least expensive Standard Range model from its online ordering. Tesla says the Standard Range car is now only available by special order either over the phone or at a physical Tesla store. In April, other versions of the Model 3 had their base prices increase by $2000 because all Model 3s now come standard with Autopilot driver-assist functionality, previously a $3000 option.

This Standard Range Plus Model 3 is now the least expensive version available to order online and it now costs $41,100. It comes with what Tesla calls a "Partial Premium interior," which includes power front seats, leatherette upholstery, an upgraded audio system, and navigation.

This calls into question whether Tesla actually built or delivered any of the originally announced Standard Range Model 3 vehicles to customers. We're not sure if these stripped-out vehicles with cloth interiors ever existed in the first place, as Tesla says the special-order Standard Range cars will now be Standard Range Plus cars with a software-limited battery that provides a bit less range. The range will be limited by 10 percent, suggesting it will have a range of 226 miles, and it will also have software blocking features such as heated seats, navigation, and online music streaming. Buyers of this Standard Range car will have the option to pay for a software upgrade after purchase to enable the extra range and features, essentially turning it into a Standard Range Plus model.

We reported a few weeks ago about Model 3 buyers who were complaining about delayed deliveries of their vehicles after Tesla initially promised that the Standard Range cars would ship within 2 to 4 weeks. Tesla now says that the first Standard Range cars will deliver to customers this weekend, but it's unclear if this shipment will include any of the cloth-interior cars, as we found many examples of customers who ordered these base cars getting calls from Tesla attempting to persuade them into opting for the Standard Range Plus model. We reached out to Tesla spokespeople, and to Elon Musk himself on Twitter, for clarification and did not receive a response.

The other models now available online include the Long Range and the Performance, both of which now come standard with all-wheel drive. Tesla says the rear-wheel-drive Long Range model is also now special-order-only. There is also now a lease program available for the Model 3, Model S, and Model X.

This story was updated previously on April 12, 2019.

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