Fans have long been waiting for Tesla to honor its promise of bringing the $35,000 Model 3 to market, and when it was officially announced, hundreds of thousands lined up and paid a deposit to pre-order one.
When the Model 3 entered production in 2017, Elon Musk said the cheapest version would feature a standard battery and would arrive in early to mid-2018. Since then, launch dates for that model have been pushed back sine die. And now, Tesla’s website and configurator don’t feature any mention of the base Model 3 at all!
Until recently, the website listed the standard battery as arriving in “four to six months.” However, Electrek discovered the automaker’s website now lists only the Mid Range Battery, Long Range Battery, and Performance as versions of the Model 3. Mentions of the standard battery have vanished completely.
Naturally, this news sent fans into a frenzy, particularly base Model 3 reservation holders. Does this mean Tesla won’t sell the $35,000 Model 3 after all? We don’t know yet, but it’s clearly not a good sign for those who were waiting for Tesla’s affordable mass-market EV. The fact that the company has refused to comment on the change is not a good sign though.
While they has promised a $35,000 base price before incentives for the Model 3, the most affordable model right now costs $42,900 following a $2,000 price cut. Factor in the $3,750 federal incentive and Tesla’s “gasoline savings” estimated at $4,300 and the Model 3 with the Mid Range Battery and RWD costs a theoretical $34,850 (excluding $1,200 destination), as evidenced in a recent tweet from Elon Musk.
Model 3 starting cost now ~$35k (after ~$8k of credits & fuel savings) https://t.co/46TXqRrsdr
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2019
The trouble is that’s not the $35,000 Model 3 Elon Musk promised – not by a long shot. To add to the confusion, the company’s founder recently said during a conference call with analysts that he estimated the new version of the Model 3 would be available around the middle of the year, although he wasn’t very convincing.
“We expect to introduce the standard range Model 3 sometime during the middle of this year – it’s a rough, rough guess,” Musk said, adding that Tesla needed to improve the cost structure. “We’re working hard to improve our costs of production, our overhead costs, our fixed costs, just costs in general,” the CEO said.
We think it’s about time Tesla stopped beating around the bush and came up with an honest answer. This “will they, won’t they” game has gotten old already and its customers deserve better than that.