By on May 21, 2018

tesla model 3

If you had nothing better to do with your Saturday night than sit in front of the computer, you’re already well aware that the Tesla Model 3 — revealed in 2016 with a base price of $35,000 — will gain a $78,000 dual-motor performance variant, a speedier companion to the existing $44,000 Long Range model.

Currently, the LR is the only version rolling off Tesla’s Fremont, California assembly line.

So, what does this additional coinage get you?

For Tesla, it allows the cash-burning company to tap into a new revenue source — presumably to make the world-changing dream of an “affordable” EV for the masses come true. Maybe early reservation holders have come into money in the two years since dropping a grand on a base Model 3 and would like to add a dual-motor setup to their ride. That’s a $5,000 option now.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims the performance version rings in at $78,000, a figure we assume is the net price after a $7,500 federal tax credit (the supply of which is quickly running out). With two motors powering all four wheels, range increases slightly to 310 miles. Musk says the model, which scoots to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, can continue a journey if one of the motors breaks down. Good to know.

The model’s top speed is 155 mph, for what it’s worth, which is 15 mph higher than the stock dual-motor model (that model retails for $54,000). A carbon fiber spoiler adorns the trunklid on the go-fast version, and 20-inch wheels replace the stock Model 3’s 18- and 19-inch wheels.

During his Saturday night tweetstorm, the CEO used the acceleration figure to boast the performance variant will “beat anything in its class on the track” — a claim excoriated by Twitter pundits for the remainder of the weekend. The question “How well will a Model 3 handle a sustained track battle?” remains to be answered sufficiently. Also, the BMW M3 Musk mentioned as a segment rival stickers for 10 grand less. Anyway, as one pundit pointed out, Tesla superfans aren’t in the habit of properly vetting the competition. To this crowd, the 3.5 second figure is all anyone needs to know.

Adding Autopilot and full self-driving capability (a feature drivers can’t yet use) pushes the performance model’s sticker to $86,000, which doesn’t exactly fall in the affordable category. Of course, high-zoot variants of lesser vehicles aren’t anything new. It’s just too bad the $35k model isn’t in production yet, as this version doesn’t do anything to dispel the vision of Teslas as pricey green playthings for the well-to-do. Tesla estimates a 6- to 12-month delivery wait for standard-range models on its website right now.

However, should you want a dual-motor model in either spec, the wait shrinks to 6- to 9 months. It’s dependent on whether the company reaches its second-quarter production goals. Should the automaker reach a production rate of 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of June, Musk says these versions will see the assembly line in July.

Place your bets.

[Image: Tesla]

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52 Comments on “Revenue Stream: Tesla’s Everyman Car Gets a $78k Makeover...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Insert skeleton-in-chair meme with caption reading “Just waiting for my $35K Model 3”

    This is downright insulting.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      What’s insulting is people ignoring the simple fact that the Base model of any Tesla vehicle is the LAST one to come out in the first generation. The Base model will come out, but not until all the other variants are proven on the assembly line. After that, it all depends on how many sell as to whether Tesla even keeps the base model around.

      • 0 avatar

        Even more insulting than the people who don’t understand that the base model comes out last is Tesla’s previous commitment to have the base model come off the assembly lines immediately following the first production model.

        Two years ago when I Pluncked down my $1000 I could have predicted the base model coming last. However when Tesla announced the base model coming second I was pleasantly surprised. Having set those expectations Tesla have proceeded to miss those expectations by reverting to their previous rollout model.

        It’s not the consumer who is insulting in this case.

      • 0 avatar
        civicjohn

        Vulpine,

        What’s just as insulting is that PT Musk pulled the same thing with the Model S P40D (please correct me if I’m wrong). I believe in that case the car never saw the light of day.

        I also kind of find it semi-shady that they sold cars that could be “unlocked OTA”…so you buy a car and the manufacturer keeps the performance down until the customer coughs up some more $$. IIRC it was the 60D that was shipped with a 75 battery pack and customers were “asked” if they wanted access to the battery pack that was already in the freaking car for the small fee of $9-10k. I believe there were other “opportunities” for customers, to the tune of about $20k

        That’s bs from my perspective, others may find it great.

        This statement is pure speculation on my part, but I believe there are a bunch of deposits for the base model, but no one will ever know.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          You’re wrong, though I believe only about 10 of the S-40 was sold (I honestly don’t believe he ever claimed a “P40D”. If he did, I’d like to see the quote.) He also offered an S-50 which didn’t do much better though I understand a number of S-60s sold, one to a rather well-known novel and short story writer who is still quite pleased with it, based on what he says on other boards.

          The base-model X was also, I believe, the last to come out. So to expect the base model sooner than all the others is specious at best.

          Oh, and Musk never promised the base model to be the second out; he stated that it would come out AFTER more expensive versions, meaning more likely last, not next. I believe he has promised the short-range model by the end of the year but I’d have to review nearly six months worth of press releases and other reports to find the exact quote.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    what a boondoggle

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    This con man should be in jail. He is the Bernie Madoff of the automotive world.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      What law did he break, exactly?

      Madoff took people’s money and, well, spent it on himself while lying about returns and actually investing their money. That’s illegal, and it’s why he got 150 years of prison sentence for it – because he *literally stole their money*.

      Tesla’s taken … refundable deposits. That they actually return if you cancel, albeit annoyingly slowly. But they do refund the deposit if you cancel, and they didn’t just spend all the cash on buying Musk fancy dinners.

      (I am chary of Tesla and don’t trust Musk about prices and timelines, because they’re always wrong, but equally neither one is a legal guarantee that constitutes fraud when you miss it.

      No confidence game here, let alone Madoff-style *fraud*.)

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        You don’t know that he took that money and spent it on himself; it is a baseless accusation that could leave you open for libel. Unless, that is, you have proof?
        So far nobody has been able to prove that Musk is running a Ponzi scheme, though many, MANY people have made the claim.

        By the way, this was targeted to EBFlex, not you, Sigivald

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @Sigivald: I got my reservation refund in 4 days this past March, which included a weekend.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I’m not a big electric car fanatic, but I like the electric ‘68 Jag that Prince Harry and his bride were cruising in the other day. The $400K price tag is a little too dear for a serf like me though.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    When the product is this good and the competition just downright paltry…there isn’t really anything else left to grumble about…

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      What good is product they can’t manufacture or turn a profit on?

      How can anyone compete with someone literally giving cars away?

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      The “product” is an unsafe low quality joke.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Do you own one? If not, then how would YOU know?

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          Well, the fact that even the Tesla fans at Consumer Reports couldn’t recommend the Model 3 after testing it due to bizarrely long braking distances, inconsistent brakes, bad controls, and a punishingly stiff ride is a good indication.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          You don’t have to own something to assess its quality.

          BTW, your desperate fanboism is endlessly entertaining, please continue.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “You don’t have to own something to assess its quality.”

            — Yes, Sporty, you do. Jumping to conclusions based on hearsay and obsolete data will never be as accurate as first-hand experience. I used to believe as you and • assumed • the hearsay was valid when I test drove a car with a terrible reputation. It turns out my assumption was incorrect and that car never gave a moment’s trouble for as long as I owned it despite that reputation.

            As such, I cannot agree that, “You don’t have to own something to assess its quality.”

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            So Vulpine, the only way I can assess the quality of something is to own it? If that is the case why should I believe your quality assessment? And what “obsolete data” have I referenced? Recent ownership experiences…. like the one you just offered? Lol. I suppose in the context of Tesla the only valid data is the data that fits your predetermined narrative.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            No, Sporty, I said, The only way to KNOW the quality of something is to own it.

          • 0 avatar
            tnk479

            There are lots of Model 3’s rolling around NOVA/DC these days. One parked next to me the other day and I got a close look at it. The shape is distinctive. Build quality and paint is no better or no worse than my 30k Honda. That isn’t a knock at all by the way. The money went into the battery pack and superchargers and so forth.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The biggest difference between the M3 and this hot Model 3 is that in 3 years BMW will still be in business, while every Tesla will be an orphan. Barring a rescue from California taxpayers, I would not be surprised if Tesla is gone by the end of this year given their cash burn and need for major new infusions of capital.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      The car will live on, with the brand owned and built by the Chinese. They already have a plant over there ready to go. Will they keep the US plant open? Probably, in the short term.

  • avatar
    statikboy

    “Maybe early reservation holders have come into money in the two years since dropping a grand on a base Model 3 and would like to add a dual-motor setup to their ride. That’s a $5,000 option now.”

    So, $35,000 + $5,000 is $40,000, right?

    “The model’s top speed is 155 mph, for what it’s worth, which is 15 mph higher than the stock dual-motor model (that model retails for $54,000).”

    Oh. $35,000 + $5,000 is $54,000? I’m confused.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    That Elon Musk guy sure is one hell of a comedian, adding the “Long Range” designation to a vehicle that has a range of only 310 miles, which is merely decent and nothing spectacular. Maybe it constitutes “long range” in the bubble in which his handful of brainwashed Muskbots here at TTAC live, but it doesn’t in the real world.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Show me a BEV that has a longer rated range, Asdf.

      • 0 avatar
        Asdf

        What kind of ridiculous criterion is that? A *BEV* that has a longer rated range than the Model 3? No, the comparison needs to be between the Model 3 and similarly sized gasoline and diesel engine cars. None of those would be explicitly advertised as having “long range”, which really says it all.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “Long range” has no independent meaning; it’s always relative to the base you’re comparing against.

      310 miles is very long range *for an EV*; the customer-base understands the context.

      (Hell, that’s more range than my old Toyota Pickup had.)

      • 0 avatar
        Asdf

        The comparison needs to be between similar types of cars, regardless of what’s under the bonnet. BEVs shouldn’t be held to an inferior standard than ICE-powered cars.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Shall we compare tailpipe emissions then? Noise levels? Torque? No, the only things you ever want to talk about are range and refueling time, because they’re the only specs where an ICE car has an unambiguous advantage. Talk about bad-faith comparisons.

          Honestly, given that my gasoline-powered CUV only goes 185 miles on a tank in the city (albeit double that on the highway), 300 miles sounds pretty good to me.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “310 miles is very long range *for an EV*; the customer-base understands the context. (Hell, that’s more range than my old Toyota Pickup had.)”

        That’s more range than I trust on my current Ford Ranger, though it averages over 20mpg on a 17-gallon tank. It reads empty with four gallons left in the tank.

  • avatar
    incautious

    When the product is this good and the competition just downright paltry…there isn’t really anything else left to grumble about…

    HAHAHAHAHA

    The Russians build a better car than Tesla. Read the forums about the horror show that is the Model 3.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      Said no one with actual seat time in a Lada. Ever.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Our almost new 2107 rental with 1000km on the clock back in 2006 came from the factory with an exhaust leak into the cabin, a non functioning front passenger’s seat belt, and wire loom drooping under the dash. To be fair it was a ROSLADA built car (decontented down to a 4spd manual and carb), not in the main Tolyatti factory.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I spent a summer in Hungary in the ’90s. Drove a Lada all the time. It never broke, and never had to be towed. Same cannot be said for my friend’s Model 3, which to date has been towed back to the mothership *4* times.

        I actually owned a Trabant that summer – it was also completely reliable. The ultimate in hairshirt transportation, but completely reliable.

  • avatar
    fIEtser

    “Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims the performance version rings in at $78,000, a figure we assume is the net price after a $7,500 federal tax credit (the supply of which is quickly running out).”

    While Tesla’s design studio on the website does show potential prices after various rebates and savings, they always quote the pre-incentive price in public. Thus, a Model P3D should come out to right around $71k after Federal incentive and less in select states.

  • avatar
    incautious

    And then there’s the Tesla Driver in San Francisco who drowned today when the car went through a gate a crashed into a pond. Well at least there wasn’t a fire this time.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      What a shame.

      Did he:

      1. Activate Autopilot, agree to its terms, and then begin texting?

      or

      2. Fly off the road at 100 mph on a joyride?

      or

      3. Push the wrong pedal and panic, as people with a 400+HP car shouldn’t do?

      or

      4. Speak ill of Mr Musk, and the car killed him in response?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Vulpine- Edmunds owns a Model 3…. you might want to sit down before you read what they have to say about their experience so far….

    https://www.edmunds.com/tesla/model-3/2017/long-term-road-test/2017-tesla-model-3-monthly-update-for-april-2018.html

    I’m guessing your next Google search will be “Edmunds tesla short position” lol

  • avatar
    JMII

    The question “How well will a Model 3 handle a sustained track battle?” remains to be answered sufficiently.

    Based on the news about the Model 3 braking problems I think we know the answer to this. The Model 3 will be off track in the gravel trap while the Bimmer continues to run laps. The LAST thing you want on track is inconsistent brakes!

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      If the Model S’ performance at LL was any indication, only EVs that will see any kind of track time are ground up track cars and go karts. It didn’t make it one lap before going limp.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I had an acquaintance who reserved a Model 3 on Day 1, like I did. I’ve since cancelled.

    His statement at the time was he “wanted the most loaded, high-performance Model 3 he could get”, and I remember his assumed price for that was ~$65k. I wonder if he’s still singing that tune.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Musk is banking on the growing number of Westerners who would rather face financial ruin, physical harm and even possibly death than admit to making a mistake and changing their minds. He’s going to make a killing. Glad you jumped off the ship in time.

      The only viable path forward right now are mild/simple hybrids. Enough battery to get the car to 30 or so MPH, a motor/clutch replacing the torque converter. EV economics just aren’t there, which is why Musk is scrambling to get up to speed with the support of 6 figure first attempts.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I think electrics are perfectly viable for a lot of people now. The Bolt is a REAL car. I have two friends who have bought them, and they seem to work just fine. The Leaf worked just fine too, for the most part.

        The issue is Tesla hasn’t got an F’ing clue how to build a CAR. Doesn’t matter what the propulsion system is, if the Tesla had a V8 under the hood it would be just as bad. It’s still a car, with the 11-billion things that go wrong with cars that have nothing at all to do with the motor. Something that the Tesla fanbois seem to not quite get.

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