By on May 1, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Forgive this writer for channeling Jonathan Pryce. Brush up on your secret handshake, too, as Tesla has a new version of the Model 3 customers can’t order online.

It’s a model that stands to become even more of a ghost than the U.S.-market Model 3 Standard Range, which disappeared from the company’s website after being on sale just a few days. American customers don’t apply here, as this cynical model’s sole purpose is to undercut a government EV incentive program’s price cutoff by a single dollar. A dollar, it should be said, that’s worth about 75 U.S. cents.

Who’s excited about 93 miles of range?

Probably pretty damn few, but the just-announced Canadian-market Model 3 Standard Range isn’t expected to find many buyers, anyway. It had better not. A cash-hungry Tesla sure doesn’t want to unload this vehicle for what’s undoubtedly a steep loss.

First off, credit where it’s due: Electrek‘s Fred Lambert — yes, good ol’ Fred, beneficiary of Tesla’s referral program (and recent participant in an online dust-up with an ornery CEO) — broke this bit of news.

 

You see, up in Canada the federal government recently announced a new EV incentive program, but the $5,000 rebate is only available for models with a base MSRP below $45,000. The program, which kicks off, well, today, covers such vehicles (containing six seats or less) up to an optioned-out $55,000.

The key is that lower figure. Models starting above it can’t play, and the Model 3 Standard Range started at $47,600 before “gas savings” in the Great White North. The vehicle Musk actually wants customers to buy — the Standard Range Plus — stickers for $55,010 north of the border. Shave off the $1,300 destination charge and $10 OMVIC fee, and it becomes eligible for the federal incentive, but only if someone takes an axe to the carefully hidden base model.

Which Musk promptly did, slashing the Model 3’s base MSRP to $44,999.

That puts the Standard Range Plus in the running, and it’s the only reason why Tesla is offering a cheaper version of a model it doesn’t want anyone to buy. Will anyone actually take ownership of a Canadian Standard Range model? One assumes Tesla will build at least a few of these software-restricted dogs, but who’s going to shell out $44,999 for a vehicle with less range than a previous-generation Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus Electric?

Ninety-three miles of range is all the incentive anyone needs to dig deeper into their wallet to get the 240-mile Standard Range Plus, which now unofficially qualifies for the $5,000 rebate (Transport Canada has not yet confirmed the model’s eligibility). Upselling will be fierce, if it’s even necessary.

[Image: Tesla]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

65 Comments on “Introducing the Incredible New Government-pandering, 93-mile Tesla Model 3...”


  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    Does this mean there is a much lighter battery?
    Is so, I would like to see lightweight versions of some of the nice long-range heavyweights for the sprint-work-work crowd with a short commute.
    Perhaps not a 3 but a small light electric car could have a niche following. The original roadster was nice but seriously heavy and did not drive like an Elise because of that.

    • 0 avatar
      ahintofpepperjack

      No, the battery is actually the same capacity. Tesla has been using software to limit the range.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        It’s like the 21st-century version of planned obsolescence, simply retarding the capabilities via software.

        Presumably people who buy these cars can then pay Tesla a ransom to unlock the full battery?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yes you can unlock that extra battery power later, but the way it is structured you can do that before the sale as the standard range plus apparently is considered an option and it still falls within the price guidelines.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Has anyone been able to hack those limits? Or harvest the cells?

        • 0 avatar

          If someone hasn’t, someone will – eventually. When Tesla hears of it, they will respond with an appropriate “fix” to the hack and the cycle will continue.

          • 0 avatar
            gomez

            Yep, just like all the jailbreaks for the iPhone. Someone finds an exploit to allow more capability and then Apple closes the exploit in the next software revision.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    More excellent management decisions by Tesla Inc

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Cynical pandering – absolutely, and it reeks of desperation.

    Such a policy/product will only net a few (like less than 10) extra sales from customers who can’t do math.

    • 0 avatar
      gomez

      Brilliant strategy move. Offering a model that no one will actually buy allows people that were already considering a Tesla to take advantage of the tax credit. This should increase sales of the Standard Range Plus.

      • 0 avatar
        kurkosdr

        It ‘ll be fun if people end up wanting to buy the 93-mile model and Tesla has to sell them at a loss, just like BMC had to do with the base version of the original Mini

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Actually, I wish they offered a 25-mile range of the Performance version at a reduced price here in the US. In fact, sell me a performance version as a software downgraded 35k car. Soon as I pay the excise and sales taxes on the cheaper version, I can sit in my car in the RMV parking lot and pay for the upgrade to full power without the extra excise tax. They’d probably nail me on the sales tax somehow, but it’s not as bad as it would be if I bought the fully upgraded car at the start. It could be a great tax dodge for some people.

  • avatar
    arthurk45

    Tesla demonstartes yet again how desperate they are for sales and the sleazy method they chose to avoid exceeding the price limit – sell a car that has a range no one wants nd after the sales collect thosands of dollars to unlovk the battery. Only a man as sleazy and corrupt as Elon Musk could have come up with this method of avoiding the law. And Musk claims he doesn’t need govt incentives to sell his cars.Every business he is in depends upon govt subsidiesi – space, solar roof, electric cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The way the gov’t subsidy is set up in this case you don’t even have to wait until after the sale to unlock the battery capacity. You just have to check the “standard range plus” option box, not that the box isn’t checked by default since you can’t order a standard range or this standard range minus car w/o jumping through a bunch of hoops and convincing the sales person that it does indeed exist and to pretty please order it for you.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      There is no law being avoided. It’s a sleazy sales gimmick that’s been used for decades.

      SpaceX’s services are paid for by a combination of government and commercial contracts – not subsidies.

  • avatar
    statikboy

    Here’s the V8 that comes with your new car… You can only use 2 of the cylinders unless you want to pay a ransom…

    Would this be allowed in any other product of any kind, anywhere?

    • 0 avatar
      gomez

      This is no different than any other automaker that offers a stripper model just so they can advertise a low MSRP. The vehicle is decontented to the point where almost no one would be interested and they are almost impossible to find on dealer lots. The versions that customers want to buy cost more (a “ransom” as you call it), just like is the case here. Absolutely no difference.

      • 0 avatar
        statikboy

        Except that the 93 mile version has the 240 mile battery. They won’t let you use it. But it’s yours. Because you paid for it, and they sold it to you.

        So not the same at all.

        • 0 avatar
          gomez

          And you are only paying to use 93 miles of it. If you want use of the full 240, pay for the Standard Plus like everyone else. Do you honestly expect Tesla to create an all-new battery pack with only 93 miles of capacity for a model they don’t intend anyone to actually buy? Or are you just looking for a reason to complain? I’m guessing the latter.

          • 0 avatar
            indi500fan

            Are there any aftermarket “tuners” who are providing software “upgrades” for additional battery capacity? I know Tesla does a lot of OTA updates so it might be something you have to do on a repetitive basis.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          “Except that the 93 mile version has the 240 mile battery. They won’t let you use it. But it’s yours. Because you paid for it, and they sold it to you.”

          No, they sold you functionality. You don’t know or care how they achieved that functionality. You bought it. End of story.

          LOTS of people spend THEIR OWN MONEY on third party go-fast goodies for VW GTI and Golf R. They insist they’re “merely unlocking performance that VW built into the car”. Are they mad that VW gave them the hardware but not the functionality? No.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Yes, and your super-strippo newspaper-ad base-model car with crank windows and two front speakers has wiring already there for power windows and rear speakers. So yes, exactly the same.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        This isn’t a like a stripper model at all. It’s like buying a car with a sunroof, but the button to open it doesn’t work unless you pay a dealer to change a line of code from “0” to a “1”.

        That is very much holding a feature hostage.

        • 0 avatar
          gomez

          Just like that stripper model, you know going into the purchase that your vehicle is compromised in exchange for a lower price. That is the agreement you are making with the automaker in exchange for a lower price. The ball is entirely in your court to get more features by paying more for the vehicle. The only difference between this car and the typical stripper model is that rather than physically removing content to lower the price, that content is being limited in software.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @TMA1: Even with this stripper model, you’re getting what you’re paying for.

          In your sunroof example, you’re not paying for a functional sunroof.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Of course you’re paying for it. Do you think they didn’t pass the cost on to consumers to physically cut a hole in the roof, add glass, weatherstripping, a motor, a shade, and switches?

            All this physical equipment cost money. Just like the cells in the battery that aren’t being utilized. You certainly paid for them.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            TMA1 has never run a business. He doesn’t understand that there might be manufacturing efficiencies in simply putting the same hardware in all the cars, efficiencies that ultimately lead to the lower price that he can achieve simply by asking that the sunroof NOT be able to open.

            It could very likely be that for the manufacturer to have two distinct models that need to be manufactured in different ways, the base model would be more expensive without the sunroof at all than with the sunroof in it.

            And offering a cheaper price to keep the sunroof button from working saves the buyer money.

            But apparently too many people are too OCD and can’t get past their outrage that something exists to which they have no access.

            Consider BMW: the code for Apple Carplay and Android Auto is inside the infotainment system. But you can’t have it unless you pay the licensing fee. Is he outraged by that? Probably not, because he can’t see the code mocking him every time he sits in the car, dangling its functionality in his face while simultaneously refusing to function.

        • 0 avatar
          redrum

          “Hostage” implies the customer has some fundamental right to the feature, which they absolutely don’t. Either you think the feature/service is worth it (and pay the required fee), or you don’t and you live without it. The marginal cost of enabling a feature is not relevant. Nobody calls their cable provider saying “You should unblock all the premium channels for me, I’m already renting your cable box and it’s just a software setting on your side!”.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Hostage? You can buy an electric car with the full capacity available – Leaf, i3 and a bunch of hybrids.

          No one is held hostage.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          “This isn’t a like a stripper model at all. It’s like buying a car with a sunroof, but the button to open it doesn’t work unless you pay a dealer to change a line of code from “0” to a “1”.

          That is very much holding a feature hostage.”

          No more than any manufacturer building a car that enthusiasts spend their own money on for go-fast parts.

          And in the case of the VW/Audi stuff, it’s all about the engine control computer. People happily spend their own money to re-jigger nothing more than the software. Do you see them complaining that VW didn’t do that for them?

    • 0 avatar
      TimK

      We had better get ready for the intrusion of the Silly-Con Valley “services” business model into our otherwise happy motoring. Sirius and OnStar subscription payment models were the forerunners for electronically-enabled features, and I suspect eventually this pay-as-you-drive will be the norm for capabilities physically built-in to vehicles but only available after an “unlock” and a monthly hit to a credit card account.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        Software-locking features in lieu of payment has been a standard way of doing business in the electronics field long before OnStar and Sirius/XM were a thing. From individual items of test equipment to multi-rack systems, unless the feature in question required a lot of expensive hardware to implement, it was often baked in but not accessible without paying to activate it. Either an activation key via e-mail or a small module via FedEx that was plugged in unlocked the desired capability.

        Software follows the same model…call the customer rep and give them a credit card number and viola! new menus appear after you paste in the e-mailed key.

        When first confronted with this the reflex reaction is “this really sucks”, but it really doesn’t, at least for the above examples. You got what you needed at first with a minimum capital outlay and enjoyed the present value of the unspent money until the greater need arose. Then you performed an “upgrade” without the costs of a teardown and associated service interruption.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Maybe a family member could buy an upgrade for your car as a holiday gift. Your kids might not be able to buy you a new car, but maybe a heated seat or entertainment system upgrade would be doable.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      The range-extended BMW i3 has a bigger gas tank than the car lets you use. Something to do with the balance of electric vs gas range required to hit a certain CARB categorization, so BMW just limits the car to use something like a half gallon less than the actual capacity.

      Although, it’s also not uncommon for cars to have different variants with different horsepower ratings with nothing changed but some code in the engine management.

      • 0 avatar
        The Comedian

        True only on models with the smaller battery sold in North America.

        The tank limitation doesn’t apply to the larger battery that was introduced a few years after launch.

        (And the tank limitation was pretty easy to code around.)

    • 0 avatar
      notinuse

      As a matter of fact, it is allowed with other products.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “Here’s the V8 that comes with your new car… You can only use 2 of the cylinders unless you want to pay a ransom…

      Would this be allowed in any other product of any kind, anywhere?”

      There’s an apocraphyl story of IBM doing that at one point with their mainframes. The upgrade from 512K to 1 megabyte of memory was incredibly expensive. But at some point during manufacture, they simply used the 1 megabyte of hardware memory–and software limited it to 512K. Customer decides to buy the upgrade, and bam! it’s a firmware switch that takes the technician moments to flip.

      A few years ago Xerox sold a digital press that could go 110ppm. Then they decided to widen the market by offering a 90ppm version of the press for cheaper. Guess what? It was nothing more than a license that caused it to run in such a way that only 90 pages came out per minute. You could buy the speed upgrade at a later time.

      And in fact their black and white printers, the big ones, are ALL built on one frame–no matter what the print speed specs.

      It happens all the time. Business is business. Why would you care or be outraged by it?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Other cars have options that are just enabling the function in the software and if you know how you can activate those options later.

      However this is just a bunch of semantics to get around how the law is worded.

      They created a car, that in theory you can but, except that you really can’t and they made sure you really don’t want to buy but cutting the range so short. They get to claim a base price car that is under that cap and sell the car that is under the max total MSRP that is eligible for the tax incentive. Tesla already wasn’t selling the standard range model, or making it very very hard to get, so the existence of another theoretical car with a lower base price isn’t going to change that.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    Absolutely amazes me how North Americans act like taxes don’t exist. It’s not a $45K neutered Tesla, it’s damn near $51K.

    The “taxes don’t exist until the credit card bill comes in” and tipping are the two toughest things to get used to on this continent.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    Musk immediately needs to halt production of ALL Tesla models until their charging and range defects are fixed, and the time it takes to fully charge them takes no longer than it takes to fill a gas tank, and the range is at least as good as that of an ICE-powered vehicle. Once those issues are sorted, he needs to have the fixes retrofitted on ALL existing Tesla vehicles in circulation, or if that is not possible, replace the vehicles free of charge with brand new Tesla vehicles with the fixes implemented.

    It is quite incredible and completely unacceptable that Elon Musk hasn’t ALREADY done this, these are quite modest and reasonable expectations. What’s taking him so long?!

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      Blah, blah, blahbedy blah…

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      Gas cars are fundamentally flawed and too inconvenient. Needing to leave home and drive somewhere to get gas? Give me a break. What if you live far from a gas station, like, I don’t know, millions upon millions of Americans?

      I recently rented a ‘gas car’ and it was bizarre. Groaning to life, vibrating in place even when not moving, shuddering through a half-dozen ‘gears’. And even if you’re not in it you always need to keep the amount of gas in the tank in the back of your mind, just in case. Then, so frequently, needing to stand in the cold, or sweltering heat, ‘pumping gas’ at a grubby station mostly selling lottery tickets and menthol cigarettes to low-income addicts. Sad, and bizarre.

      Wouldn’t it be easier just to have it full every morning so you could drive for hours without thinking about it?

      Until gas cars have the convenience of at-home refueling, I don’t see them ever being successful. And that’s never going to happen, despite what the ‘petrolheads’ think. They’re just trying to shove their government policies down our throats.

      The only reason gas cars exist in the first place is government subsidy, and deep misconceptions about the environmental impacts of normal cars / EVs.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddie

        When I can recharge the battery as fast as I can fill the tank, your allegory (if that’s the right word) will make sense.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          You sleep, right? That’s when you charge your car.

          Buy a car with sufficient range to get through your day, and a charger powerful enough to top it off while you sleep, and you’re all set.

          If your your typical day involves driving more than 200 miles or so, then you’re an outlier and an EV is not for you — and there will be more gasoline for you, assuming the rest of us get EVs and stay out of your way at the gas station.

          Nobody’s making *you* buy a plugin vehicle.

          A world where all of the cube slaves and soccer parents drive cheaper and smoother (PH)EVs over their predictable daily routes without using gasoline, while the true road warriors get to buy cheaper gasoline while simultaneously screwing over oil producing countries that don’t like the United States, seems like a big improvement in the state of the world. ASDF, why do you fight it?

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I haven’t put gas in my car in two weeks. And you want me to plug in an electric every single night?

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          TMA1,
          You’d only have to charge one night a week.

          Plus, it takes like 15 seconds to plug in at night, and another 15 seconds to unplug in the morning. You’d be an ideal candidate for an EV.

          But, if you don’t drive much, it doesn’t really matter what you drive. As a card carrying enviro-hippie-engineer, I’ve run the numbers and living close to work matters *much* more than vehicle choice when it comes to fuel consumption and emissions. So, if you don’t drive much, it doesn’t matter.

          It’s the middle of the commute-length bell curve which EVs must serve. People with super-short or super-long commutes are a small part of the population, and shifting
          30%-90% of commuters over to EVs would have a hugely positive environmental and geopolitical impact. (Yes, us hippies.know where our electricity comes from and it’s still better than burning oil in my back yard.) You can do what you like, of course.

          As for me, I’ve *loved* the driving experience of every EV I’ve driven, even the Nissan Leaf. The smooth low-end power makes even the cheapest EV feel like a luxury car.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            “People with super-short or super-long commutes are a small part of the population, and shifting
            30%-90% of commuters over to EVs would have a hugely positive environmental and geopolitical impact.”

            …outside of the electric grid collapsing.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            A friend of mine and I occasionally work together at a remote facility. They let me charge while we’re working, so I always leave 100% with more than enough range to make it home. My friend frequently has to stop at the gas station just outside of the facility to refuel. He’s getting frustrated because I just cruise by nice and warm while he’s shivering pumping fuel into his vehicle and leaving him behind.

            It’s the ability to fuel the vehicle unattended that makes up for the longer fueling times. You’re not standing outside squeeezing a handle. Either working, sleeping, checking email, eating, etc. Sure, it takes a little more time, but it’s not difficult to make use of that time. Fueling a fossil car is lost time.

            For me, not having to stop at fueling stations most of the time is a huge benefit. Sometimes you do need a boost, but for me it’s often just a quick 10-minute boost to give me some extra padding to make it home. The next car will have enough range so I don’t even have to do that.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @jalop1991: …outside of the electric grid collapsing.

            If that happens, gas pumps won’t work either.

            Utilities are starting to add battery storage, so an electric grid collapse due to EV adoption is looking less likely. Charging stations are adding them too to reduce demand charges from utilities.

        • 0 avatar
          Scott_314

          @TMA1 – Damn, you need to visit a gas station every two to three weeks? Gross.

          It’s like getting your teeth drilled every two weeks.

          Everyone, lets take a moment of silence to appreciate how unfortunate TMA1 has it in comparison to the rest of us, who are spending 7 seconds a day plugging in our car in our own garage.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Do you plug your cell phone in at night? Or is that also asking too much of you?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Did you forget the sarc tag?

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “Musk immediately needs to halt production of ALL Tesla models until their charging and range defects are fixed, and the time it takes to fully charge them takes no longer than it takes to fill a gas tank, and the range is at least as good as that of an ICE-powered vehicle. ”

      I’ve watched you paste this in many times, but now I have to ask: how are those “defects” any more than your inability to play pro basketball is a “defect”?

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      @Asdf:

      “…and the time it takes to fully charge them takes no longer than it takes to fill a gas tank,…”

      It’s very easy to make any Tesla charge fully from empty in five minutes: There’s a little black box under the hood by the washer fluid filler. Pop the lid and you will see a set of dip switches. If you move the dip switch in position 3 from “0” to “1”, it will then charge fully in 5 minutes.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “Musk immediately needs to halt production of ALL Tesla models until their charging and range defects are fixed, and the time it takes to fully charge them takes no longer than it takes to fill a gas tank, and the range is at least as good as that of an ICE-powered vehicle. ”

      This crackpotism is taking hold everywhere. I just read about a VW owner who thinks that all ACC-equipped Golf cars be recalled because–get this–he doesn’t like how the ACC works on the car he voluntarily bought.

      And then there’s THIS nutcase:

      https://insideevs.com/news/348105/lawsuit-chevy-bolt-range-dip-cold/amp/

      yes, cold weather drops the range on his Bolt–and by God, that shouldn’t happen!!!

  • avatar
    R Henry

    If anything, this saga illustrates how Government regulations distort free markets.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

  • avatar
    ImAlwaysRight

    I think youd been better off channeling Vincent Price for this stinker.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Fred also mentioned you get 8 grand from Province of Quebec for a total of $13,000 off.
    Not sure if that’s a tax credit or direct subsidy.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    There was supposed to be an entry-level Model 3 with a $35k price tag and a 200 mile range. From 2014:

    https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/186382-tesla-announces-the-model-3-at-half-the-price-of-the-model-s-tesla-wants-to-take-evs-mainstream

    At the time, I predicted that the $35k car was a lie and would end up at about $45k. It would seem that I was optimistic.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Way to prove how much of a scum bag you are Musk.

    He makes Bernie Madoff look like Mother Theresa.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    1. Afraid of political blowback from idiots who think all Teslas are six-figure cars, government sets pricing policy specifically intended to screw Tesla.

    2. Tesla does end-run around stupid and indefensible policy so people can buy the car they want.

    3. Profit.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • 28-Cars-Later: Did you forget the sarc tag?
  • SaulTigh: I used to be obsessive over detailing my vehicles, but it was just taking too much effort and too much of...
  • ToddAtlasF1: You serve the people you are denigrating. You are in need of a processor upgrade.
  • Wodehouse: I never cared for the interior and exterior design of either generations of Volt, but, I really liked the...
  • Guitar man: BMC was taken over by British Leyland in the 1960s, who then manfully ploughed the business into the...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States