Revenue Stream: Tesla's Everyman Car Gets a $78k Makeover

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • JMII JMII on May 21, 2018

    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!

    • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on May 21, 2018

      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.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on May 21, 2018

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on May 22, 2018

      @sportyaccordy 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.

  • Ted Lulis Head gaskets and Toyota putting my kids through college👍️
  • Leonard Ostrander Plants don't unionize. People do, and yes, of course the workers should organize.
  • Jalop1991 Here's something EVangelists don't want to talk about, and why range is important: battery warranties, by industry standard, specify that nothing's wrong with the battery, and they won't replace it, as long as it is able to carry 70% or more of its specified capacity.So you need a lot of day 1 capacity so that down the road, when you're at 70% capacity with a "fully functioning, no problem" car, you're not stuck in used Nissan Leaf territory."Nothing to see here, move along."There's also the question of whether any factory battery warranty survives past the original new car owner. So it's prudent of any second owner to ask that question specifically, and absent any direct written warranty, assume that the second and subsequent owners own any battery problems that may arise.And given that the batteries are a HUGE expense, much more so than an ICE, such exposure is equally huge."Nothing to see here, move along."
  • Roger hopkins The car is in Poland??? It does look good tho...
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.