By on April 12, 2019

tesla model 3

If you can find a Tesla store (that’s still open), and someone working in it, maybe you can buy … a Model 3 Standard Range.

Yes, the $35k car promised three years ago during the Model 3’s launch, and hyped to infinity in the months and years since, stands to become as shadowy and elusive as the A-Team. In yet another raft of changes to its Model 3 line announced Thursday night, the automaker ensured the Standard model’s status as a rare bird.

Offered by a company that’s moved to online ordering, the Standard model will not be available for ordering online. Hey, don’t be confused — there’s a solid explanation! (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Following a rocky first quarter of 2019, Tesla’s decidedly lackluster production and delivery report sent the automaker’s stock tumbling in pre-market trading.

Not only were analyst estimates missed, in some cases by a mile, production actually fell at Tesla’s Fremont, California assembly plant, sparking concern that demand is drying up for the company’s EV offerings. A dip back into the red — something CEO Elon Musk warned of, not long after predicting the opposite — seems unavoidable. (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2019

tesla-model-3

Few — if any — journalists cover Tesla with the same dogged determination as former TTAC managing editor Ed Niedermeyer, and he’s just shed light on a perplexing mystery: The case of the missing Standard Range Model 3.

We’re talking about the base, $35,000 Model 3 promised at the model’s launch three years ago. The vehicle Tesla finally opened orders for in February, apparently after working some magic that made the long-awaited variant’s appearance financially viable. It seems that not only are would-be owners still waiting, but Tesla is doing its damndest to sway them from the purchase. (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2019

tesla model 3

Computer experts successfully broke a Tesla Model 3 at the “Pwn2Own” hacking event held recently in Vancouver. However, Tesla Motors isn’t biting its nails over someone finding vulnerabilities in its system, as it was privy to the plan. The automaker has operated a “bug bounty program” for the past 4 years, rewarding anyone who can pull it off — going so far as saying it wouldn’t void a vehicle’s warranty if a customer successfully hacked it in “good faith.” It even offered a maximum reward of $15,000 (USD) last year.

Meanwhile, the group that managed to break the Model 3 in Canada this month received more than a sack of cash from the automaker.  (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2019

Tesla Model S Grey - Image: Tesla

Over the weekend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk asked the world to “please note” that prices on all Tesla inventory would rise by about 3 percent on April 1st. While it sounds like the setup to a particularly bland April Fool’s prank, Musk followed up by saying, “To be clear, this doesn’t affect Tesla website order prices. Existing inventory prices are currently slightly lower than on website. This will bring them in line,” which is only slightly funny.

The automaker is also scrapping its extended service plans, intended to provide annual maintenance on its vehicles. Considering how often Tesla adjusts pricing, this is the bigger story. But let’s give the money matters a little attention before making our deep dive into the company’s bold reliability claims (which is Tesla’s stated reason for the yearly maintenance program’s kiboshing).  (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

First, it faded from the automaker’s ordering page — a disappearance noted on Sunday. Introduced last October as a cheaper stepping stone to the Model 3 lifestyle (and a sort-of apology for the then-undelivered $35,000 Standard Range), Tesla’s Mid Range variant offered 260 miles of driving range, compared to the 310 miles available to Model 3 Long Range drivers.

With the Standard Range now available to order, the Mid Range apparently serves no purpose in the Tesla stable. (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2019

On Thursday, Tesla announced it will finally begin delivering the Model 3’s long-awaited base trim to the public through direct online sales. By eliminating storefronts, the automaker believes it can reduce costs — helping to get that pesky profit situation under control.

Unfortunately, reports have emerged that claim those employees had no idea their jobs were on the line. Meanwhile, the company’s share price took a hit in the wake of the announcement, causing its stock to drop significantly. Since last Thursday, more than $8 billion disappeared from Tesla’s market capitalization.  (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2019

tesla-model-3

Is the long-awaited, stripped-down $35,000 Tesla Model 3 profitable? Company CEO Elon Musk won’t say, brushing off the question during a late Thursday conference call.

“Yeah, we’re not going to talk about that. Next question,” said Musk, who last fall warned that releasing the lower-priced car prematurely could sink the company. The nearly three-year wait period for the 220-mile electric sedan saw a constantly evolving end date, though the anticipated March deliveries jibes with Musk’s October prediction of four to six months.

What doesn’t jibe is Musk’s Thursday admittance that, after two profitable quarters, his company will likely sink back into the red. (Read More…)

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.  (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2019

Polestar, Volvo’s former performance division (which parent company Geely insisted be spun off as its own electric car brand), announced its second automobile on Wednesday. Whereas the Polestar 1 was a 600-horsepower hybrid coupe, Polestar 2 adds a set of rear doors and does away with internal combustion altogether.

For all the “Tesla fighters” out there, this one comes the closest to giving the Model 3 a run for its money. With a targeted range of 275 miles, accomplished via a 78-kilowatt-hour battery pack structurally integrated into the vehicle’s floor, Polestar 2’s in the sweet spot for range. But it also happens to be the correct shape (five-door fastback) and price to ensure its gets stuck in Elon Musk’s tastefully shorn hair.  (Read More…)

By on February 22, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Less than a year after bestowing a coveted “Recommended” label on Tesla’s Model 3, Consumer Reports is taking is back. You can just imagine the outrage in the online Teslaverse.

Consumer Reports’ secret ownership by shadowy oil execs and General Motors notwithstanding (this is clearly false, don’t sue us), the retraction of what amounts to a “buy this, you probably won’t be sorry” label is a blow to the automaker, and CR claims it’s all Tesla’s fault.

At least Tesla can say it isn’t alone in the recommendation withdrawal camp. (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Thus far in 2019, price changes at Tesla have occurred with roughly the same frequency as storm warnings in the Northeast. The electric automaker has now dialed back pricing on its Model 3 for the second time this (very young) year, and the third time in recent months, with the company’s CEO claiming the long-promised $35,000 sedan is now here — in a way.

Fancy math required. (Read More…)

By on January 18, 2019

tesla model x, Image: Tesla Motors

The automaker may have worked out production bugs and finally turned a profit late last year, but 2019 is off to a rocky start for Tesla. In an email to employees Friday, CEO Elon Musk said he’ll thin the company’s full-time ranks by 7 percent, warning of a “very difficult” road ahead.

The news comes hot on the heels of a slew of cost-cutting measures, including the elimination of various trim configurations and this month’s culling of 75D base models — a move that leaves only the top-flight 100D versions of the Model S and X in Tesla’s stable. Thursday brought word of the scrapping of company’s long-running customer referral program, prompting tears in the Tesla-boosting blogosphere.

All of this throws Musk’s promise of a true “people’s car” by this summer into doubt. (Read More…)

By on January 2, 2019

The calendar reads 2019, meaning new Tesla customers can’t hope to wrangle more than $3,750 in EV tax credits from the feds — a figure that’s half as much as the incentive enjoyed by buyers up until New Year’s Eve. Of course, you may find yourself living in a state that’s happy to hand out some of its own cash. If so, lucky you.

Looking to soak up some of the difference, Tesla announced a price cut on all models Wednesday. Going forward, or at least until CEO Elon Musk decides otherwise, Tesla is shaving $2,000 from sticker prices across the board — including on the current cheapest model, which recently saw a price bump. (Read More…)

By on December 26, 2018

Having rung the bell on 200,000 electric vehicle deliveries in the U.S., Tesla will enter 2019 without the ability to offer a full $7,500 federal tax credit to would-be buyers. While not nearly as attractive an incentive as the same amount applied to a lower-priced EV, it’s still free public dollars. And it’s better than $3,750.

Twice this past fall, Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned customers they’d need to order by a certain date in order to ensure a delivery date prior to January 1st. After receiving a holiday earful from dutiful customers now facing late deliveries, Musk put on the Santa suit. (Read More…)

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