Firm launches electric saloon's long-awaited standard spec - and switches to purely online sales
James Attwood, digital editor
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.

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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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Comments
20

1 March 2019

It's been a long time coming but I now await my model 3 with baited breath.

After driving one in California last year my wife said that it was time to get rid of our leaf and go up a grade.

Cant wait for them to turn out the right hand drive versions of the performance model and get my hands on one.

1 March 2019

It's been a long time coming but I now await my model 3 with baited breath.

After driving one in California last year my wife said that it was time to get rid of our leaf and go up a grade.

Cant wait for them to turn out the right hand drive versions of the performance model and get my hands on one.

289

1 March 2019

....dont hold your breath Lambo !..... the investors could yet pull the plug.

1 March 2019

I live in California so I can clarify one or two things.  In addition to the quoted price, there is a mandatory delivery charge of $1200.  In the US, car prices are quoted before taxes, which vary from county to county.  In my case the actual price of $36,200 becomes $38,915.  That's assuming I want it in black with the stripped out black interior, which I don't because it then looks like a startled coal scuttle.  There are 4 other paint choices, ranging from $1500 to $2500 extra (plus tax), and a white interior for $1000 (plus tax).  So if you think you might get one in the future for the sterling equivalent of $35,000 you are smoking the same stuff Musk smokes.  The big advantage of Teslas remains the charging network.  Still not enough for me to make the leap; maybe in 10 years.

1 March 2019

Thanks for the info but it's the performance model we want and we have done the sums, the car we drove in California was stunning and made our leaf feel particularly pedestrian.

That being said I doubt we will get it before year end

1 March 2019

The starting price is what it is, maybe Tesla didn't know what optional colour YOU wanted.

Not how you know what some people think regarding it coming here for $35k so why make the point so aggressively.

1 March 2019

I ordered one on the first day they opened the book, 3 years ago. And expect to wait at least another year, more likely 18 months. 

So from a 6,2l V8 to a Tesla Model 3, with more or less the same performance, that’s quite a motoring journey. But we can’t buy new V8’s any more and climate change can’t be ignored, not when it’s been over 40 degrees for months and nobody can remember the last time it rained (except parts of Queensland) We’re soon drinking desalinated seawater, when the plant is up and running.

We’re thinking AUD 65000 for the base model here, with delivery and taxes. Nearer $80k for a more desirable one. But you can’t buy anything else with that performance for the equivalent of £40k...

Robbo

1 March 2019

Well, at least it's a good price...but I still say they should have made a smaller SUV.

1 March 2019
Bazzer wrote:

Well, at least it's a good price...but I still say they should have made a smaller SUV.

There'll be the Model Y soon.  I do feel this price will be short term with its reason being to fulfill Musk's promise.  Still if you can get one at that price you'll be laughing.

1 March 2019

BMW, Mercedes etc must be so stressed out at the moment wondering how make an BEV anything like as good for tge money

No doubt some will still moan that at $38,000 this 4 door family car with a 140mph top speed, a 0-60mph time of 5.5secs and 240mpg is still too much

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