As of late, seeing Elon Musk’s name in the headlines usually means he’s in trouble with the SEC or Space X just hit another historic milestone in the modern-day space race. This week, however, he’s switching it up with some good news about the long-promised and repeatedly delayed affordable version of the Tesla Model 3 — the $35,000 electric car is finally going into production, but there’s a major caveat.
To get the Model 3 down to $35,000 (a price-goal Tesla set for itself) Tesla had to make some difficult choices not just with the car, but also the company as a whole.
The entry-level electric car is significantly paired back on creature comforts, performance and range compared to the top-tier Model 3. With the Standard Range model, you’ll get a 220-mile range, 130 mph top speed and a 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds. You can also opt for the Standard Range Plus for $2,000 more and get 20 extra miles on a charge, a higher top speed of 140mph and a 0.3-second quicker sprint to 60 mph.
They’re not earth-shattering specs, but the whole point of this car is getting this sort of tech wrapped in an attractive package and into the hands of the masses, not jaw-dropping performance. For comparison, the similarly priced Nissan Leaf returns a 151-mile range, and the Chevy Bolt gets a 235-mile range. What you don’t get with the Nissan and Chevy is Tesla’s looks, style and its designer nameplate.
Along with the pared down interior, basic interface and normal-car performance stats, Tesla made a seismic shift away from brick and mortar dealerships entirely to drop prices even further. “To achieve these prices while remaining financially sustainable, Tesla is shifting sales worldwide to online only.” The Tesla press release went on to say “Shifting all sales online, combined with other ongoing cost efficiencies, will enable us to lower all vehicle prices by about 6 percent on average, allowing us to achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than we expected.”
In a conference call, Elon Musk also noted “[Tesla] will be closing some stores, and there will be some reduction in headcount as a result. Yeah, there’s no other way to provide this car and maintain sustainability. There’s no way around it.” Musk didn’t want to comment further on the “reduction in headcount,” so suffice to say it won’t be pretty.
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