Tesla is the latest automaker to lower the price of its electric vehicle in order to let it fit under the new federal EV incentive program. A new, lower-range and less expensive Model 3 is now on offer from the automaker.
Previously, the lowest-priced Model 3 was the 356-km Standard Range. It started from $47,600 after Tesla's latest round of price cuts. Now, for what appears to be Canadian shoppers only, there's a new shorter-range option to squeak in under the incentive ceiling. The $44,999 Standard Range comes with a range of just 150 km. If you want one, you'll need to visit or call a Tesla store as it's not available online.
While a model with that low range may not appeal to everyone, it also lets the Standard Range Plus into the program. The fine print states that if the base trim is under $45k, you can get a nicer trim of the same model and still get the incentive, as long as it comes in with an MSRP under $55,000. The Standard Range Plus gets a price cut that brings it down to $53,700 and still has the full 386 km range. Long Range versions do not qualify.
Tesla representatives have reportedly said that buyers of the 150 km Model 3 will not be able to later unlock more battery range, as the automaker has allowed on some previous models.
We reached out to Transport Canada about the lowest-range Model 3, because the iZEV incentive wording states that if it "assesses that an automaker is potentially departing from standard pricing approaches to these fees/costs, Transport Canada reserves the right to withdraw a vehicle from the eligibility list."
Many EV fans online questioned whether the shorter range and lack of web sales could clash with that wording. But a spokesperson from TC said that "Transport Canada determined that two trims of the Tesla Model 3 (i.e. the Standard Range and Standard Range Plus) meet the iZEV program’s eligibility criteria."
The lower price and range puts the Model 3 on the list with the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq and Kona, Kia Soul and Niro, Nissan Leaf, Smart EQ and Volkswagen e-Golf on the list of 2019 model year eligible EVs.