Tesla's $35K Model 3 Arrives Fashionably Late

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
teslas 35k model 3 arrives fashionably late

The $35,000 Model 3 is here. Fittingly, perhaps, it’s three years late.

Tesla has promised a $35,000 version of the Model 3 since announcing the car in 2016, but the company focused on more-expensive variants at first to help get the model off the ground without tanking the company in the process. It needed the large profit margins from the higher-priced Model 3 to help the company turn a profit for back-to-back quarters for the first time.

Now you’ll be able to buy multiple versions of a Standard Range trim. The base version of which will be available for $35,000 and have a 130-mph top speed and a range of 220 miles. Zero to sixty should take 5.6 seconds.

Two grand more nets you a Standard Range Plus trim that adds 20 miles of range, up to 240. It will have a slightly higher top speed of 140 mph and shave the 0-60 time down to 5.3 seconds.

There will be two interior upgrade packages made available, with the mid-level upgrade being part of the Standard Range Plus trim. The premium interior upgrade won’t be available on the Standard Range cars at all.

The Standard Range car will have a stripped down interior — manual seat and steering adjustments, cloth seats, base radio, and four USB ports. By contrast, the Standard Range Plus interior will have 12-way power heated front seats, nicer seating materials, up-level audio, LED fog lamps, and docking for two smartphones. Both will have standard navigation via the center tablet.

If you order your car online today, it will be delivered in a claimed two-to-four weeks. However, you’ll have to do your ordering via the Internet — Tesla’s sales are going online and most of its physical stores will close, although some should remain open as product showcases. The company claims a 6-percent savings on each unit because of the change.

Tesla will also now give you seven days or 1,000 miles to return any of its cars and get a full refund.

Lastly, a firmware update is going out that will bump the range on the longest-range Model 3 to 325 miles, while the highest-performance 3 will now have a top speed of 162 miles.

[Image: Tesla]

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3 of 46 comments
  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Mar 01, 2019

    Tesla is finding out what I've known for a long time: Batteries are expensive, and they take a long time to recharge. They've tried to get around these limitations by saving money on the Model 3 interior, including switchgear, bypassing a dealer network, and rolling out Superchargers. In the end, it may not be enough, as people really like dedicated switches, dealers where they can test drive and get service, and even with Superchargers, it still takes a while to add range on a road trip. Poor fit and finish hasn't helped either.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Mar 04, 2019

    I truly thought the cheap base model was a bad-faith promise that would never be kept, so a year ago today I got a Volt instead of waiting. Obviously I was wrong---and delivery time on these affordable Model 3s is just a couple o' weeks, too, not some mysterious future date. I like the Volt a lot but I wish I'd had a more faith and held out.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Mar 04, 2019

      Just so you know, HP, Musk has kept every promise he's made about building a specific low-priced model. Not always on time, mind you, but he did it even for the original Model S, back in '12 or '13 as I recall (50kWh model and even a few 40kWh cars to get them down to that promised price.) He usually doesn't keep them available for long, however, as so few people ever actually by that base of base model.