News: Finally—$35,000 Tesla Model 3 Goes On Sale

Online Purchase Only, Deliveries In 2-4 Weeks

When Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk first revealed the Model 3 in March 2016, it was promised to be a $35,000 car—before incentives—to appeal to the mass market. Beginning today, three years later, the base, or “Standard,” Tesla Model 3 finally has a price tag of $35,000.

In the meantime, those incentives have changed. A U.S. federal tax credit of $7,500 has been reduced for Tesla since January 1, 2019, effectively raising the price of cars by $3,750.

Two Versions Available

The rear-wheel-drive base Standard Range model can travel 220 miles per charge, accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and achieve a top speed of 130 mph, according to the company.

Tesla Model 3, black

Just like Henry (Ford) said (sort of), for $35,000 you can have any color you want, as long as it’s black. Oh, and these wheels are an extra $1,500.

A new mid-range “Standard Range Plus” model is designed to bridge the gap to the current mid-range, long-range and Performance models. It costs $37,000 and features 240 miles of range, a 140 mph top speed and a 0-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds.

Base interiors of both models include: Manually adjusted cloth seats, tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection, auto dimming headlights, power folding and heated side mirrors along with music and media via Bluetooth.

Tesla took a page from Henry Ford’s playbook; the two cars are only available in with exterior and interiors in the color of black. In fact, even the pie-plate like wheels are in a shade of charcoal. If you don’t like black, alternative colors will cost more.

Stores Closing, Online Sales Only

Tesla Shopping

Tesla Shopping Is Going Virtual

When Tesla began selling its electric cars, it side stepped traditional car dealerships and opened its own stores. Now the company says to achieve the $35,000 price tag and remain financially sustainable, it will close most of those stores and will sell cars only online. It will keep a small number of stores in high-traffic locations remaining as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centers. Since you won’t be able to take a test drive, the company is instituting a seven-day (and less than 1,000 miles) return policy, where the you can return your Model 3 and get your money back.

That money will include $2,500 paid at the time of the order (and maybe $1,000 put on deposit up to three years ago) as well as the entire purchase price of the car (either in full or with a down payment for a financed deal). No leases deals have been set up for the Model 3 as of this launch.  

Wall Street Not Happy

You might think the announcement of a $35,000 Tesla Model 3 would send the company’s stock up, instead shares slid eight percent this morning.

Tesla Model 3

Model 3s have delighted customers so far, but will the “standard” model keep up that level of happiness?

Musk said on a call with reporters last night that: “Given that there is a lot happening in Q1, and we are taking a lot of one-time charges, and there are a lot of challenges getting cars to China and Europe, we do not expect to be profitable in Q1,”

Predicting a loss for the first quarter, one month after saying he was optimistic the company would be sustainably profitable, apparently didn’t sit well with investors.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy—More of the Tesla Saga

News: Tesla Model 3—the Biggest Story of the Year

News: Top Five Model 3 trade-ins

News: Tesla Hits 200,000 Sales Mark

News: Tesla Hits Production Milestone with Model 3

News: Consumer Reports Flips Model 3 Rating

Flash Drive: Tesla Model 3 Long Range

News: Tesla Semi & Roadster Surprise

Personal: The Tesla Shopping Experience


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About Author: Larry E. Hall

Larry E. Hall is the Editor-At-Large at Clean Fleet Report. His interest and passion for automobiles began at age 7, cleaning engine parts for his father, a fleet manager for a regional bakery. He has written about cars and the automobile industry for more than 25 years and has focused his attention on “green” cars and advanced technology vehicles. Larry’s articles have been published by Microsoft’s MSNBC.com and MSN Autos as their alternative vehicles correspondent, and is currently the Senior Editor at HybridCars.com. His work has appeared in metro and suburban newspapers as well as business publications and trade journals. He is the founding president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association and a member of the Motor Press Guild. Larry lives and drives in Olympia Wa. with his wife, Lynne, who shares his passion for cars.

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