Car News

Lower Priced Tesla Model 3 Finally Arrives

It's been just shy of three years since Elon Musk first unveiled the Tesla Model 3. And 19 months since the first one left the production line. Now, the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 is finally here. Sort of. The company announces big changes to its business model and some upgrades for owners who have already taken delivery of their Model 3.

We'll start off by saying that the $35,000 Model 3 is in US dollars. Canadian pricing starts from $47,600. If you've already been Tesla shopping, that price difference likely won't be a surprise for you. The Mid Range Model 3 that's already on sale is $40,000 in the US and $54,300 here in Canada. That's quite the gap, especially considering EVs like the Hyundai Kona Ultimate is $44,650 in the US and $51,999 here in Canada.

So how did Tesla bring the price down for the new Model 3 Standard Range? It starts with offering an estimated 354 km range, instead of the 425 of the MR. It's a touch slower too, taking 5.9 seconds to hit 100 km/h instead of 5.5.

There's a new "standard interior," which replaces the premium seat material with cloth, swaps in manual seat adjustment for the power of the higher-spec cars, and uses a more basic infotainment system. Basically, the same things everyone else does to make a lower-priced version of their cars.

The SR car will also come as Standard Range Plus package for $2,700. This adds back in 32 km of range, cuts 0.3 seconds off the 0-100 time, and has a Partial Premium Interior that adds back in premium seat material, power seats, upgraded audio, and LED fog lights. 

To hit these lower prices, Tesla is transitioning sales to being only available online. That means closing many of the company's current stores worldwide. The plan is to keep "a small number of stores in high-traffic locations remaining as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centres."

Since online shopping makes test drives much more difficult, Tesla is starting out a 7 day, 1,600 km return policy. Buy the car and if you don't like it you can take it back. Tesla says "quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free."

The closing of stores will bring an increase in the company's service system with the goal of same-day service. They want most service done at your location, not a Tesla facility.

Finally, the big news for those who already own a Model 3. Through a number of firmware upgrades, Tesla is making existing cars more powerful. 5 percent more peak power for all Model 3s. Long Range rear-wheel drive cars get more range, as well - now rated at 523 km instead of the previous 502.

What Tesla is calling Full Self-Driving Capability is back on the options list as well, which includes the semi-autonomous Autopilot system, auto park, and summon. Tesla says it will add traffic light and stop sign recognition as well as "automatic driving on city streets" later this year. That package is $6,600 on top of the $4,000 Autopilot pack if added at ordering.

The Tesla Model 3 Standard Range can be ordered now.

Tesla Model 3 Canadian pricing:
Standard Range $47,600
Standard Range Plus $50,300
Mid Range $54,300
Long Range $58,400
Dual Motor Long Range $63,800
Dual Motor Performance $78,600