Tesla Model 3 Just Got Cheaper, but Here's Why You Should Wait


Tesla unveiled a new, cheaper version of its currently-shipping Model 3 this week, but it may be worth holding off for a bit longer. The new version offers 260 miles of range and a premium interior for $45,000 before any savings, but price-conscious consumers may want to hold off and wait for an even cheaper Tesla.

The Model 3 is intended as Tesla’s entry-level electric car, acting as a cheaper version of the Model S sedan with cutbacks like only one computer screen instead of two and less storage space. The car entered production in July 2017. Interested buyers can place a $1,000 deposit to reserve their place in line, then when they’re invited they can choose from the available options or wait a bit longer.

The car was announced with a starting price of $35,000, with 210 miles of range and a standard interior, but this model has not started shipping. Until this week, the cheapest model available was a $49,000 version with 310 miles of range and the premium upgrades package. Musk wrote in May that the company could not ship such a cheap model until production reached higher levels for a sustained period. Tesla has moved from producing around 2,000 cars per week total in July 2017 to 7,000 cars per week 12 months later, around 5,000 of which are Model 3s.

It’s currently not possible to order a Model 3 without the $5,000 premium package, even though some buyers may prefer to take the savings and miss out on the benefits. Here’s what you get as part of that premium upgrades package:

  • Premium seating and cabin materials with open pore wood décor. This is instead of the textile seating in the non-premium model.
  • Heated seats. All models offer a dual-zone climate control system, but this offers added warmth.
  • Two rear USB ports. This is in addition to the two USB ports in the front center console of every Model 3, as well as a 12-volt power outlet.
  • Twelve-way, power adjustable front seats, steering column and side mirrors, with custom driver profiles.
  • Premium audio system. The upgraded version offers more power, tweeters, surround speakers and subwoofer.
  • Tinted glass roof, packing ultraviolet and infrared protection.
  • Premium side mirrors, with auto dimming, power folding, and heating. All side mirrors are power-adjustable, but this adds extra convenience.
  • LED fog lamps.
  • A center console with covered storage, as well as docking for two smartphones. The non-premium center console only offers open storage in the center console.

As for when the $35,000 model will start shipping? Musk has suggested the standard battery could launch as early as February, while Tesla’s website states a launch will arrive between February and April. That doesn’t mean Tesla will necessarily offer a car without the bundled premium package, but it suggests either way that even more cost savings are just around the corner.