Still waiting for that $35,000 Tesla Model 3? According to company CEO Elon Musk, it’s already here, though you’ll have to employ some suspension of disbelief to arrive at that number.
“Model 3 starting cost now ~$35k (after ~$8k of credits & fuel savings),” Musk tweeted on Wednesday.
If you go to Tesla’s order page for the Model 3, you’ll see the cheapest, rear-wheel drive with a mid-range battery starting at $34,850. Tesla breaks down the pricing as follows: The car itself costs $42,900, the incentives are $3,750, and gas savings are $4,300.
The good news is that the Model 3 did get a little cheaper. The starting price for that model used to be $44,000. A Tesla spokesperson told Electrek that it was able to reduce the price by $1,100 after the company ended its customer referral program, which cost the company “far more” than it realized.
The $35k number is a tough sell, though. The $3,750 reduction in price is nothing to sneer at, but back in 2015, Elon Musk explicitly said that the Model 3 will cost $35,000 without tax incentives, and he kept repeating it prior to the launch. Also note that the tax incentives will get cut in half on July 1 and are completely going away at year’s end. And while fuel savings in an electric car are definitely real, they’re very different than the car actually costing less from the start.
Musk made it clear that he hasn’t given up on making the Model 3 even more affordable. In a subsequent tweet, he says the company is doing everything it can to arrive at the actual $35,000 base price. “It’s a super hard grind,” he wrote.
We’re doing everything we can to get there. It’s a super hard grind.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2019
Musk has been employing this strategy for years, positioning himself and Tesla as the customers’ allies, with Tesla trying really hard to make the “affordable” electric sedan a reality.
This doesn’t change the fact, however, that Tesla originally marketed the Model 3 as a $35,000 car, but still hasn’t delivered on that promise even though the car officially launched in July 2017. Worse, that variant of the car isn’t exactly around the corner either.