By on June 27, 2018

That’s the question being asked by a bevy of cynical journalists and industry observers after Tesla CEO Elon Musk regailed his Twitter audience with descriptions of the automaker’s upcoming pickup truck last night. How does a heavy-duty 240-volt power outlet sound? Self-levelling suspension? Hmm?

At the same time, Tesla’s Design Studio announced revised pricing for the dual-motor Model 3 and its Performance variant. Remaining Model 3 reservation holders were also told they would soon get the opportunity to configure their long-awaited vehicles.

Either the big tent’s working out just great and production is well on track, or there’s something investor-rattling coming down the pipe.

As you already know, Tesla has just three days left until a key target date arrives. The company’s self-imposed production goal of 5,000 Model 3s per week was pushed back earlier this year, with Musk settling on the end of the second quarter as a revised timeline. One the company hits this mark (“sustains it” would be a more apt phrase), its Fremont, California production space, some of it located indoors, can begin building pricer, faster dual-motor sedans.

According to Tesla, the all-wheel-drive dual-motor Model 3, which was to be a $5,000 walk up from the premium-interior single-motor Model 3, is now a $4,000 climb. That puts the price of the cheapest AWD Model 3 at $53,000.

The company has also de-contented the Performance variant in order to list it as starting at $64,000. Previously, it carried a $78,000 price tag. Would-be buyers can add a Performance Upgrades package (20-inch wheels, carbon fiber spoiler, sport pedals, red brake calipers, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber, and a 10 mph top speed increase) for an extra $5,000. Want a white interior? That’s another $1,500. Pricing changes have been applied retroactively in order to keep order among the ranks of those who’ve already made a reservation.

While this is all catnip for Tesla aficionados, not all of the price changes put money back in buyers’ pockets. The much-maligned “full self-driving” package, which outfits the car with everything needed for autonomy at a later date, rises in price by $1,000 (to $5,000), assuming you’re adding it after your purchase. Ordering it at the time of purchase carries an unchanged $3,000 price tag.

Now, about that pickup truck:

As you’d expect, Musk’s initial query resulted in a deluge of snarky replies regarding production timelines, fulfilled promises, and sustainable assembly practices, not to mention a lack of tent.

Musk went on to describe the vehicle as having a six-passenger cabin and a driving range of 400 to 500 miles. Previously, he stated that production will begin in 2020. Of course, before that happens Tesla first needs to develop and launch the Model Y crossover and fulfill its promise of selling a $35,000 entry-level Model 3.

The bare-bones, shorter-range Model 3 is still in the works. In its Tuesday night update, Tesla said buyers can expect that model in 6 to 9 months.

[Image: Elon Musk/Twitter]


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18 Comments on “Model 3 Pricing Changes and a Flurry of Tesla Pickup Promises Precede … What?...”

  • avatar

    What about the mythical $35,000 Model 3?

  • avatar

    The Tesla T-Boat will be next. A personal submersible capable of 47 knots, plus a range of 550 nautical miles on a single 30 minute charge.

    • 0 avatar

      Musk will have a hard time as this is already served by a company called IVC Corp for a sub, Greenline for twin motor 40 ft yachts and Torqueedo for electric outboard and inboard systems.

    • 0 avatar

      There are the Japanese Soryu Class subs. Some of them are powered by lithium batteries. The advantage of lithium battery subs is cost. They cost a fraction of a nuke sub so you can have more of them. It might not be a bad idea to transition spacex into being a military contractor for more than just rockets. They could develop AIP propulsion systems for ships and subs. If they contract to Tesla for some of the work, it would be a way of transferring SpaceX money to Fremont.

      • 0 avatar

        The carrier Soryu was toasted at Midway by dive bombers from the Yorktown. It wouldn’t sink despite three direct hits to a hangar full of fueled Zeros. The Imperial Navy managed to scuttle it though.

  • avatar

    “What would be seriously next level?”

    Musk tweets / speaks like a college-aged d-bag (I should know – I was one.)

  • avatar

    Something tells me an American made $80-100k Tesla pickup truck that can do 0-60 in 3s would persuade a lot of would be KingRanch/Raptor/Denali customers, but only if Tesla can survive that long.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    It makes no sense for Tesla to produce ANY $35K Model 3s until demand for the higher option models is fully met, which is probably two or three years out.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem is, some percentage of those laying down the 1k deposits thought they were going to get a 35k car plus the federal tax credit, aka a Tesla Model 3 for less than the price of an Accord Sport. That would explain why the conversion rate of deposits to orders is so low.

      On the last cc he promised them for Q1 next year.

  • avatar

    It does make sense to produce base model 3s…if it keeps 100,000 bottom tier customers from demanding the return of their $1000 deposits.

  • avatar

    Forget about Tesla for a moment and just look at that rendering released on other news channels (Basically a crew cab with cab-over design). Radical. Electric. Think for a moment what a huge upside it would be if you are any non-Big3 automaker to gamble on something like this. It would take more than one model generation and one automaker to knock the big three off their perch, but GM/Ford/Ram have such a similar formula for their trucks, that something like this electric cab-over design could really knock the socks off the truck market. I gotta say, Tesla’s pickup certainly looks a heck of a lot more interesting than the bricks currently on sale.

    The Pickup truck market is probably due for some revolution. Small pickups make a comeback? Some manufacturer decides to make a competent and or stylish truck and actually sell it for margins similar to sedans? There are ways a new player could totally upend the truck segment. Just think if someone sold a pickup with all the capability of the F150/Sierra/Ram but decided not to gouge the customers with a “by the pound” red white and blue brodozer price hike like the Big3 do?

    I bet there are a lot of folks who would rather pocket those HUGE profit margins made on trucks than throw good money out the window so fat dividend and bonuses can be paid to someone else.

    • 0 avatar

      So are you saying that a Tesla pickup would be less expensive to purchase than a Ram Sierra 150?

      I don’t know how well the cabover design would do in the crash tests, especially in the front offset.

  • avatar

    Someone needs to document when con man Musk goes #2. Then we will know the exact moment he’s not full of crap.

  • avatar

    Minor point, but who are these people using “high power 240V tools”? They sure as heck aren’t in the USA. I have never seen hand held power tools for 240V in my life and I have been dealing with all kinds of tools and equipment in the industrial setting (where 240V service is almost always available) for over 30 years.

    How can a guy who doesn’t even know what kind of power tools are used in the US specify the design of a pickup truck?

  • avatar

    The rapidly changing appearance of the Teslatruck, from 2 door, to crew cab to cabover suggests some strong indecision by Musk. If he wants to bite a piece out of the top echelon mega-trucks of Ford, Dodge and Toyota he has to consider the market profile.
    These buyers want maximum comfort and full accessories and an imposing presence on the street, stray too far from this and you get buyer drought.

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