By on February 28, 2019

tesla model 3

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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46 Comments on “Tesla’s $35K Model 3 Arrives Fashionably Late...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Tesla’s sales are going online and most of its physical stores will close”

    Not a fan of this. The new return policy doesn’t make up for the inability to test drive the car.

    My test drive of a Model 3 told me:
    – I didn’t like the center screen (font too small, too busy).
    – Egress was very difficult for me because of the brake pedal position, surprisingly. Even the telescoping steering wheel didn’t help.
    – The automatic ‘on’ is unnerving.
    – Fit and finish were wanting.

    Instead, you’ll have to arrange finance, take delivery, add it to your insurance, install a home charger, then unwind all that stuff if you decide you don’t like it. Obviously, they’re banking on the idea that most people will keep the car even if they don’t like it.

    Plus, I thought many of the stores doubled as service centers. Closing them won’t help support the growing customer base.

    Still too much drama for me.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Good point. So what’s the plan for servicing these, Elon?

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I won’t even buy a television online. I need to see it. I need a physical place to return it. Not going to buy a car online either.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        This, I use Amazon all the time, particularly when it’s something hard to find, but when I know that I can see something first hand I’ll go to Best Buy or wherever and look at it for a while before deciding. I can be a cheap bastard about some things and I will absolutely put off buying things I want from online because I can’t see it before I buy it. I once put off buying a sticker I liked for 3 years because after shipping it cost $23. Had I been able to see it in store I would have bought it much sooner.

        I would not be able to buy a car sight unseen even if the option list was perfect for me, the return policy while expected in this case, does not lend to be in the consumers favor with everything said.

        • 0 avatar
          theBrandler

          The other thing to take into consideration, is: How difficult is the return process?

          Remember way back when Tesla was taking preorders for this thing at a $1000 a pop? Fully refundable too, any time you wanted. Ask those two years later after being dissolusioned with Elon, how getting that refund worked out for them? It took Tesla months to refund them in some cases.

          So you buy this, decided you don’t like it after all, and return it – how long does it sit in your driveway before you can actually return it?

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Somebody said on Tweater that there’s a $1200 charge that is non-refundable. If so, that’s a pretty expensive weekend rental.

      • 0 avatar
        FerrariLaFerrariFace

        @indi500fan: That $1200 matches the destination & doc fee, so that checks out. If anything is non-refundable, that’s where I would expect it to be.

    • 0 avatar
      Hogey74

      These are not at the point of being a commodity item, so testing them remains important. I don’t mind a move away from dealerships with their 100 years of built-up nonsense. Cars are awesome but I see no need to take people on an emotional and manipulative little journey in order to secure a purchase. It will be interesting to see if cars go through a show-rooming phase and then a reverse-show-rooming thing as a result.

      When I was a kid and devouring all the SciFi, I didn’t like the idea of a future full of generic things that we just used and didn’t individually own. Now I want it to be here already! Musk is pushing things that way and I get it. I think it’s basically a human right to have the options that personal transport brings but a fully integrated system is just around the corner and it will free up a lot of time and money.

    • 0 avatar
      Gedrven

      Why not move to a European-style model, where there’s still a physical dealership (and service center), but it’s much smaller, and only stocks a couple of demonstration models for testdrive purposes, not dozens to then have to get rid of by any means necessary?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    There was another guy, name of H. Ford, who consistently found ways to reduce manufacturing and distribution costs and passed along the savings to customers:

    https://macmillanmh.com/ccssreading/imagineit/grade4/ccslh_g4_ri_2_3a_l2.html

    Contrast this with the mostly-reactive approach GM and Ford are taking to market changes in 2019.

    Impressive.

    Henry Ford has taken a lot of ‘grief’ historically for the ‘only black’ paint on the Model T. The reasoning – the particular black paint they used dried quickly and therefore helped speed up the manufacturing process:

    https://www.autonews.com/article/20030616/SUB/306160713/model-t-had-many-shades-black-dried-fastest

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Intriguing. I’ll be watching to see how this goes but I do believe there are some who will be quite surprised by the response.

  • avatar
    jatz

    This is the Colin Kaepernick of cars and I think interest in it, too, is at an end.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Delivery in 2-4 weeks is pretty impressive given that they were claiming 200,000+ deposits waiting on the cheapo model. Elon really has Fremont cranking them out.

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    The Tesla website states that if you have not test driven the car, then you can return it within seven days or 1000 miles. You may have to wait for your money though as Tesla is slow in refunding money. I am considering Tesla for my next car but waiting for them to improve their built quality and service especially as there is no repair/service shops in Michigan.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    How long until Musk figures out he can prolong his racket by selling dealer franchises? Stay tuned.

  • avatar
    EGSE

    The customer-facing side of Tesla was already sparse and now it’s getting thinner? This is an ill omen and the wrong way to differentiate themselves from the rest of the auto biz if they intend to widen their customer base. Maybe they forecast a coming cash crunch?

    Wonder how they propose to serve an ever-larger pool of customers if they’re *cutting back* on their physical retail presence.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      They need to start an authorized independent repair center program. Aftermarket suppliers/tuners like Unplugged Performance and Mountain Pass Performance are already there with custom paint, interiors, suspension mods, and carbon ceramic brake upgrades. Even alternate front ends. They need to encourage these companies.

      https://unpluggedperformance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Unplugged-Performance-Ascension-Front-Fascia-for-Tesla-Model-3_BLUE-SLIDER.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        @mcs “They need to start an authorized independent repair center program.”

        Couldn’t agree more. Quality indie shops aren’t predatory competition, they build confidence in the owners mind. For the tuner scene an after-sales eco-system is a natural step for a maturing company. Think Edelbrock, Hooker, Dinan, Mugen et al.

        But it cuts against Musk’s instincts. He visited Steve Jobs to seek his wisdom; Jobs said keep tight grips on the sales/service channels a la the Apple model.

        And with Musk’s latest SEC tussle and their playing hardball in return, this shift in operations is unsettling. Lock him in the basement until he shuts up. All just my opinion…..

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Still nothing I can afford so it’s moot. There’s a showroom in an office park 20 miles from me. Drove a Model S P95+ (I believe), great fun, but I haven’t really driven anything that would be considered extremely powerful with regularity and I can’t compare it. The closest I’ve come was 2 miles in my friend’s 2017 Mustang GT and the 300S (3.6 8AT) I had for awhile.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      I have driven a dual motor (can’t remember if it was a P95 or what) and with a good launch it feels faster than my Viper up to ~100 mph or so. The speed is incredible at first but without the sound it really got boring faster than I expected.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    How do I get a car without a showroom and assuming I don’t live near the factory? Do they ship all their cars individually to each buyer’s house? If so, how much is the charge and who pays for it? If I decide to return my car within 7 days, do they send a truck to my house to pick it up? Who pays for that?

    If I’m in Podunk Montana and my Tesla needs repair or service, where do I go? Do they send a truck to Podunk and bring it back to the factory? Is trucking cost for repair included in the warranty? Does all this sound expensive and inconvenient?

    • 0 avatar
      theBrandler

      Oh look, you pulled back curtain, you’re not supposed to do that!

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      The Montana example is interesting. Not sure where they’d send a truck from for service or delivery. It would probably be an overnight trip for the crews. Whatever center that sends it will be down on Porsche sort of has the same problem. Not sure how they do it, but it looks like there are at least 3 independent Porsche service specialists.

      Then again, the whole “come to your house or office” service thing is great if they can pull it off.

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    Musk is definitely taking a page out of the Henry Ford playbook. You can have any color $35k Model 3 you want, as long as it’s black. Any other color is a hefty upcharge.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      Haven’t seen a Model 3 yet on the road but judging by photos that black-only limitation is actually a mercy.

      The lighter the color, the more prominent its duck face.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        I see plenty of Model 3s on the road, and lately, several of the dual motor versions (the only lettering on the entire car is the “DUAL MOTOR” letters on the right rear). I imagine those are waaaaaaay north of $35k.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      In fairness, they are hardly alone in this. I think it’s BMW that charges for any color other than white on some models and there are other offenders as well.

  • avatar
    DedBull

    What’s the discount on one of these 7 day “demonstrator” Teslas? I wouldn’t think they could turn around and supply a car as “new” to the next guy in line, I know I certainly wouldn’t be happy.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      Tech Genius has an App to zero out the mileage for resale no doubt

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      When I worked for Saturn, returned cars were sold as used. It didn’t happen often, but it did happen. At least in Georgia, once a car had been titled, which it had to be to sell it in the first place, it could no longer be sold as new. We did one once that had like 60 miles on it. Still used.

      Interestingly, I can only think of one case where the buyer walked away entirely. In every other case the buyer got a nicer model (typically it was SOHC buyers realizing how slow 84 early 90’s HP was and getting the twin cam model which brought a not insignificant 40 extra hp to the table), but they always left with a more expensive car and the dealership would typically do well on the transaction on the used car (used vehicles were NOT no haggle affairs). Perhaps Tesla is thinking this as well.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Telas has a service center within one mile of me and a “showroom” about 3 miles from me at a high end mall, so maybe the “show rooms” in the high traffic areas are going. I have noticed in the last 9 months or so a lot more cars at the service center, it seems to be doubling as a overflow lot for new cars. I have seen some models 3 on the road in metro NY and they are pretty ugly in the front. 35k and I do not even get a power seat, it seems if you buy the base base model Elon may tweet at you for being cheap. I assume you can only get 1/2 of the 7,000 grand fed credit now or is that gone as well. Not a car for me so I will have to pass.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      You’re looking at it wrong. No power/heated seats means more range! ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        No…In my Leaf you heat the seat you are sitting in and the wheel…this consumes far less than running the heater. Heat pump style heaters help, but if it is below 20 or so, they don’t work and the ol’ resistive heater has to run which is a battery killer.

  • avatar
    markf

    How is Tesla getting around the myriad of state laws that protect the dealer racket? Maybe I am wrong but i thought it is pretty much illegal for a car manufacturer to bypass dealers and sell directly to consumers?

    Not a fan of Elon or his cars but my one hope for Tesla was that it may break the backbone of the dealership racket.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      By not using dealerships, Tesla avoids those laws. In such states as don’t allow Tesla to sell in-state at all, they sell out of state and ‘deliver’ out of state–there’s no law preventing residents from buying a car out of state.

      However, there is one state that has a law on the books specifically permitting factory-owned dealerships under VERY restrictive rules, with which Tesla would easily comply. They just haven’t chosen to take that option yet.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    No way am I going to buy a car that I can’t take for a test drive. What am I supposed to do with my old car?

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Musk is such a fraud.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    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.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      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.


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