By on June 9, 2016

2016 Tesla Model S

The reshuffling of Tesla’s lineup continues, with the electric automaker announcing a base Model S sedan with less range and a lower starting price.

The 70 kWh entry-level battery is gone, replaced by a 60 kWh juice box that lowers range to 210 miles, similar to the upcoming Model 3, but in a vehicle you can have in your driveway next month.

Tesla, which tweeted out the announcement this morning, plans to offer the rear-drive Model S 60 for $66,000, or $5,200 less than the 2016 Model S 70 that preceded it. After all government incentives are applied, that price drops to $58,500.

Adding all-wheel drive adds $5,000 to the new base price (and eight miles of range), but if range is the only thing that matters, the model can be optioned with the Model X’s 75 kWh battery (offering 19 percent more range, or 259 miles) for $8,500.

The automaker says the base model makes the 0–60 mile per hour run in 5.5 seconds, the same as the last 60 kWh version (which the company discontinued in early 2015). That older battery had an EPA-rated range of 208 miles.

Model S sales tapered off in May, possibly due to boosted production of the range-topping Model X. By offering a less expensive Model S, Tesla CEO Elon Musk clearly hopes to open up the model to a crop of buyers who once found the model to be just outside their price range.

Though the Model S now carries less cost, it’s by no means a mainstream vehicle. The new base price would get you into a BMW 550i, meaning the wait continues for Tesla fans of modest means. Despite a host of challenges, production of the $35,000 Model 3 is still scheduled for late 2017, though new buyers could wait until 2019 before taking ownership.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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29 Comments on “Already Tired of Waiting for a Model 3? Tesla Just Dropped a Cheaper Model S...”


  • avatar

    The Tesla Model S’ true starting point should be in the $60,000 range. What Tesla should do is make the center touchscreen/navigation standard and make the options cosmetic:

    Wheel sizes, moonroof, chrome cladding…

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Is this really new? I know a guy here at work that has a Model S 60, and he’s had it a couple of years. I’ve also seen other 60s on the road (with the “60” emblem on the back), going back a year or more.

    • 0 avatar

      Its new old.

      The S 60 was discontinued and a larger capacity 70kWh model replaced it.

      Tesla are now re-introducing the 60 kWh model.

      In the past Tesla have simply increased range as battery prices drop rather than cut price. This change in strategy *is* new. This time next year they may cut the price of the entry level S model once more.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    You can get a 3-series for $66k pretty readily.
    https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/656471497/overview/

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    Or you could get a Nissan Leaf with the same 210-mile range for around 20,000 Euros right away (at least here in Europe, but I’m pretty certain Nissan offers the Leaf in the U.S. as well).

    Why is everyone hell-bent on sinking his money into the purported “mass market model” of a start up company?

    EDIT: Just checked the nissanusa.com website, and the Leaf sells for around 29,000 $. I guess this is before tax returns, subsidies etc. pp.:

    http://www.nissanusa.com/electric-hybrid-cars

    • 0 avatar
      galaxygreymx5

      There is no 210 mile (EPA) Leaf.

      The highest range Leaf (using the same testing methods) is 107 miles. The $29,000 model has 84 miles of range and all the opulence of a base Versa. It does 0-60 in about 11 seconds and looks like a shoe.

      Totally different cars in different classes with different capabilities.

    • 0 avatar
      meefer

      The only 210 mile range Leaf you can buy is $60K Euros. Because you’d need 3 of them. So price competitive! Good luck with the logistics.

    • 0 avatar
      cmoibenlepro

      The leaf never had a 210 mile range. It is at least half this range. For $30,000 I’d rather have a tesla than an electric Versa

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Does Tesla still qualify as a ‘start up company’, since it was founded in 2003?

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      If only this were true, I’d have picked one up while waiting for model 3 production. Unfortunately, it is not. The Leaf has half this range, and is basically Prius-slow (at least in the base model you’re suggesting).

      I went with a new ICE car specifically because I don’t want to sacrifice performance for an EV. The Teslas are the only cars at the moment that seem likely not to make me hate the loss of my RX8 (crazy priced i8 excluded I guess).

      Sub-six-second 0-60 for the base models is my new minimum benchmark, since that’s what the model 3 is announced to have, and a 200mi range. Here’s hoping we get more than a few brands with models that fit the bill in the next few years, but right now there isn’t much competition.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Still too much car for me; I’ll keep waiting. It appears I’m approximately #61025 in the queue.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      @SCE

      How did you figure out your place in the queue?

      I could probably find it if I look hard enough, but I’m lazy.

    • 0 avatar

      How do you determine place in line?

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The number that SCE to AUX is most likely the signup order, which isn’t the same thing as the order in which the cars will be delivered.

        The rollout of the Model 3 is supposed to he geographical, starting near the Tesla factory and then expanding east. The order is also supposed to favor more highly optioned (more expensive) cars, and current owners. My guess is that the geographical part of it has as much to do with service centers as anything, so I may be farther back in line than I think (my number is around 161k), because my city is currently too small to warrant a service center. (We do have a supercharger in town, though!)

        SCE to AUX will get his before I get mine. And my wife has dibs on mine, since she has a 100-mile daily commute, now.

        Here’s a writeup on how we retrieved our signup sequence numbers:
        http://electrek.co/2016/06/07/tesla-model-3-reservation-queue-number/

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’d buy one but I’m currently about $60k short. Oh well.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I ran the numbers, and it’s about $3k down (or is it $8k?) and then about $937/mo for the car payment.

      That’s less than I pay for daycare. I can’t do it now, but maybe I could once my kid “graduates”.

      The lease deals shave a couple of hundred a month off of that, and fuel savings accounts for another $100 or so.

      I had to run the numbers for buying the car, since it would be for my wife who just started a PHD level job at a Fortune 500 company and commutes 50 miles each way. A self-driving EV starts to look pretty good in that situation.

      We could do this in about 2 years, but we might have a Model 3 by then.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Right idea. Too expensive. Not worth buying. Needs to be 5 to 10 grand less. Cost to upgrade vs benefit skews heavily toward upgrade.

  • avatar
    derekson

    It’s worth noting that these cars have the same battery as the 75 kWh model but it is software limiting you to using 60 kWh of capacity. I guess it’s nice that this lets you pay to unlock it later, but I think I’d be pretty annoyed at spending that kind of money for a car that is specifically hobbled with what amounts to DLC to unlock its full potential.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Not exactly a “Cheaper Model S” so much as broadening the gap between the base model and the premium model. The S-75 comes too close to the S-90 in capabilities and was cannibalizing sales from the higher-end model. So pull the base model down and extend the difference between bottom and top.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    “Cheaper” until you add back in all the crap you want or need and then you are back to square one. Ha Ha.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    I think I’d still rather get a Model 3 and spend some of the difference on the upgrades to AWD, a larger battery pack, etc. than to have a stripped down Model S.

    But it does make it a lot more tempting to get a Model S and the lease prices have also dropped quite a bit.

    Either way though I live in NY state and they just announced an EV credit that hasn’t actually been activated yet so it’d be pretty idiotic to buy right before they start offering an incentive. Unfortunately since I live in NY the RWD model is a no go.

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