Currently reading: Entry-level Tesla Model 3 goes on sale in US for $35,000
Firm launches electric saloon's long-awaited standard spec - and switches to purely online sales
James Attwood, digital editor
News
3 mins read
28 February 2019

The long-awaited ‘entry-level’ Tesla Model 3 has now gone on sale in the USA, with a US $35,000 (£26,000) starting price and a 220-mile range – at the same time as the firm has moved all of its sales online only.

Company boss Elon Musk has long promised that the electric saloon would eventually be offered in a Standard-spec, and it is now available to order on the company’s website, along with a new mid-range ’Standard Range Plus’ model designed to bridge the gap to the current mid-range, long-range and Performance models.

Musk said the standard Model 3 was “an incredible car”, citing a top speed of 130mph and a 0-60mph time of 5.6s. He noted that it met the same safety standards as the existing car. The car doesn’t come with Tesla’s full Autopilot driver assistance systems, but Musk said buyers will be able to upgrade their cars at a later date.

The standard interior comes with cloth seats and an infotainment system, with Musk calling the interior “slightly better” than that originally promised. He added that all cars would now feature a panoramic glass roof as standard.

The Standard Range Plus, which will cost $37,000 (£28,000), features 240 miles of range, a 140mph top speed, and a 0-60mph time of 5.3secs. 

The two new Model 3 variants are available to buy now in the USA, with international sales set to start in around three to six months. Tesla recently started overseas deliveries of the Model 3 to Asia and Europe, although right-hand-drive versions have yet to be produced for sale in the UK.

While announcing the new models, Musk also revealed that it will now only offer its cars for sale online. Musk says it will be possible to order a car using a smartphone in under a minute. The company will offer a full refund within one-week or 1000-miles, allowing customers to try them and return without penalty, a concept Musk said could partly replace traditional test drives.

Musk confirmed that some Tesla stores would close and some jobs would be lost, but said most stores would become showrooms and galleries to showcase the products and guide customers through the buying process. Musk said the job cuts were necessary to reach the $35,000 price target, saying: "There’s no other way for us to achieve the savings required for us to make this car and be financially sustainable."

Musk added that the $35,000 price tag was "the lowest we could possibly sell this car." He added: "It’s excruciatingly difficult to make this car for $35,000 and be financially sustainable." Pressed on whether Tesla would ever offer a cheaper machine, he said: "Will there be future models that cost less? Yes, but they won’t be soon. At least two to three years, closer to three years."

The surprise confirmation of the entry-level Model 3 comes as several major cars firms are preparing to launch their own full electric cars. Volvo sub-brand Polestar recently launched the Polestar 2 five-door fastback, with a sub-£35,000 ($46,400) guide price, 402bhp powertrain and 311-mile range, with company bosses referring to it as a direct Model 3 competitor. Volkswagen is also gearing up to launch the ID hatch later this year, the first model on the VW Group's new MEB platform.

In addition, Tesla is launching a software upgrade for all existing and future Long Range rear-wheel-drive Model 3s, which will increase their range to 325 miles. The Model 3 Performance will get a 7mph increase in top speed to 162mph.

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scotty5 1 March 2019

The big story here...

The big story here isn't the availability of the 'affordable' 3, it's how they plan to sell it. All of a sudden they're talking of reducing showrooms.  Yes that's right buy online - pay your £35k + taxes or whatever the price is and if you don't like the car, just take it back within 7 days and walk away.  Somehow I don't think it'll be quite as simple as that - Mr Musk up to his usual bullcrappy games again no doubt.

Speaking of which, Musk was telling everyone Tesla would be in profit by now yet again the opposite is true. I reckon the big story here is the shareholders will not be happy bunnies.

 

The Dr 1 March 2019

About time...... Exciting times

better late than never, but I think they are leaving it a bit late, they are in danger of being caught up fast. Hyundai KONA and Kia NIro are both affordable with a better range, lower cost, and more kit. Admittedly the 3 is a bit bigger but with VW and Volvo hot on the heals they could hit lower demands levels than they have had

jonboy4969 1 March 2019

Have you actually seen the

Have you actually seen the standard kit list on the cars compared to the Korean heaps, at least the Tesla cars look decent and not a plastic and tin mish mash of nothing.

androo 1 March 2019

This is good news

I still really like the look of this car. Smooth, simple, well proportioned, incredibly low drag. Clearly it's just about to face its first proper competition, and that will be tough for Tesla. Very tough. But if they can price it under £30,000 here for a reasonable spec they will sell as many as they can ship, at least for now. I think they need to start restricting performance on these cars though before the streets are full of yoofs doing silent 0–60s all over the place and mowing down unsuspecting old ladies. It's at odds with the car's green credentials. It's ludicrous, in fact.Cars need to start saying 'no' to their drivers.

jonboy4969 1 March 2019

androo wrote:

androo wrote:

I still really like the look of this car. Smooth, simple, well proportioned, incredibly low drag. Clearly it's just about to face its first proper competition, and that will be tough for Tesla. Very tough. But if they can price it under £30,000 here for a reasonable spec they will sell as many as they can ship, at least for now. I think they need to start restricting performance on these cars though before the streets are full of yoofs doing silent 0–60s all over the place and mowing down unsuspecting old ladies. It's at odds with the car's green credentials. It's ludicrous, in fact.Cars need to start saying 'no' to their drivers.

 

I take you never bothered to read my response about pricing.... the start price for teh basic model wil be £35,000 - with a limited warrenty on battery pack and motors

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