Tesla Offers Up Another Reason Not to Order Its Cheapest Car

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
tesla offers up another reason not to order its cheapest car

Tesla’s Model 3 line as evolved once again, this time adding a new model closer to the bottom of the range while eliminating the second-cheapest configuration (and currently the cheapest Model 3 you can actually get delivered).

Announced Thursday night, the rear-drive Model 3 Long Range — which started at $44,000 but required the addition of a $5,000 premium package — is gone from the lineup, replaced by a Mid Range sedan with two driven wheels and a lower-capacity battery. The price for 50 fewer miles of range? $45,000.

Hmmm… it seems someone in Palo Alto was busy with their calculator.

While CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the Model 3 Long Range RWD will still be available for about a week, going forward buyers will only be able to select a dual-motor Long Range variant ($54,000 to start) if they desire 310 miles of driving range. That model’s Performance sibling is also available, stickering at $64,000 before a federal tax credit that’ll be cut in half at the beginning of next year.

The low-end replacement model boasts 260 miles of range and a lowered top speed of 125 miles per hour. 0-60 comes along in a pokier 5.6 seconds. Essentially, the Mid Range model is just the defunct Long Range RWD model, just with fewer cells in its identically-sized battery pack. Adding Autopilot features will cost another $5,000.

For those keeping track, this new model stickers for $10,000 more than the much-touted, still unavailable base model, which is expected to cost $35,000 and offer a range of about 215 miles. In a tweet, Musk said removing cells from the Long Range model’s battery to create a Mid Range option was quicker than designing a whole new battery. Whether you consider this a deal likely depends on your level of reverence for Musk.

If you’ve ordered a base model, well, expect to continue waiting. Tesla claims the Standard model won’t reach customers for another four to six months.

[Image: Tesla]

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  • Asdf Asdf on Oct 19, 2018

    The fact that the Model 3 has an INSANELY LONG charging time, as well as the fact that there is no "Long range" version of the Model 3 (dishonest marketing designation notwithstanding), should have been reasons good enough not to order the car in any version. Not to mention the strong likelihood that Tesla will be bankrupt soon.

    • See 1 previous
    • Asdf Asdf on Oct 21, 2018

      @tekdemon It takes about 5 minutes to fill a fuel tank. Fully charging an EV shouldn't take longer than that, and yet it takes from half an hour to several hours just to top up, hence my obvious observation that the charging time is "insanely long".

  • FWD Donuts FWD Donuts on Oct 19, 2018

    The Model 3 is available in 5 colors. Black is available at no additional charge. Two are available for a $1500 upcharge. Two more at a $2000 upcharge. The shenanigans from a pricing standpoint are really getting old. And before the fanboys get all "well, everybody does it" -- no, I haven't seen another automaker offer a product with one color as standard with everything else offered as an option. Tesla better get a hard nosed manufacturing executive as Chairman in there. Otherwise, they're going to blow it. They've got incredible cache -- but everyone has their limits.

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    • Mcs Mcs on Oct 21, 2018

      @civicjohn: Yeah, that's my theory anyway. I think they have changed the electrode design. Don't know what they're doing to increase the durability as the cobalt is reduced. 2170 is just a form factor and I think my friends with the solid state tech could extrude a cell with that form factor if they wanted. Even the semi-solid labs could probably do it. Here's a good example of how battery technology is quietly advancing. Some say there isn't much progress, but that's not true. Semi-solid lithium metal cells just went into production. Actual production. They're expensive for now, but lighter, denser, and more durable. These cells are a big advance over the current technologies and available for purchase. Yet, no big headlines. They won't be in EVs until after 2020 according to the company, but they are a big advance. https://tinyurl.com/yb7k92vb http://www.solidenergysystems.com/technology/ I doubt this is the tech inside of the newest Tesla cells, but I do think this is similar to what they'll use in the new roadster. It's probably what will define the next generation of batteries.

  • SPPPP The little boosters work way better than you would expect. I am a little nervous about carrying one more lithium battery around in the car (because of fire risk). But I have used the booster more than once on trips, and it has done the job. Also, it seems to hold charge for a very long time - months at least - when you don't use it. (I guess I could start packing it for trips, but leaving it out of the car on normal days, to minimize the fire risk.)
  • Bader Hi I want the driver side lights including the bazl and signal
  • Theflyersfan One positive: doesn't appear to have a sunroof. So you won't need to keep paper towels in the car.But there's a serious question to ask this seller - he has less than 40,000 miles on some major engine work, and the transmission and clutch work and mods are less than 2 months old...why are you selling? That's some serious money in upgrades and repairs, knowing that the odds of getting it back at the time of sale is going to be close to nil. This applies to most cars and it needs to be broadcasted - these kinds of upgrades and mods are really just for the current owner. At the time of sale, a lot of buyers will hit pause or just won't pay for the work you've done. Something just doesn't sit well with me and this car. It could be a snowbelt beast and help save the manuals and all that, but a six year old VW with over 100,000 miles normally equals gremlins and electrical issues too numerous to list. Plus rust in New England. I like it, but I'd have to look for a crack pipe somewhere if the seller thinks he's selling at that price.
  • 2ACL I can't help feeling that baby is a gross misnomer for a vehicle which the owner's use necessitated a (manual!) transmission rebuild at 80,000 miles. An expensive lesson in diminishing returns I wouldn't recommend to anyone I know.
  • El scotto Rumbling through my pantry and looking for the box of sheets of aluminum foil. More alt right comments than actual comments on international trade policy. Also a great deal of ignorance about the global oil industry. I'm a geophysicist and I pay attention such things. Best of all we got to watch Tassos go FULL BOT on us.