Why you don’t want a $35000 Tesla Model 3
A lot of people do not seem to remember the early days of the Tesla Model S and what the options looked in the beginning so let’s take a trip back in time to the $60000 Model S. Yes, didn’t you remember? This premium sedan now in the same segment as a Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series was once announced at $10000 less than the cheapest model available today. On top on that there is the $7500 tax credit in the US which only a few Model 3 buyers will enjoy due to the 200,000 vehicle cap per manufacturer.
Today the Technology Package no longer exists. It was replaced by the Autopilot Convenience Features option and most of its features either became default on the Model S or found their way into the premium interior and lightning package, which itself is a requirement if you want a dark headliner. In the new Model X it comes under a different name, Tesla Premium Upgrades Package, but essentially just reflects the higher quality interior and includes the advanced air filtration system.
Tesla knows how to play the options game. Nobody buys a $60000 car without navigation and let’s be honest it is not much different at $35000, especially since some other options are pretty high on the priority list, too. With the Model X Tesla bumped up the “interior” package price to $4500 now including ventilated seats and Bioweapon Defende Mode.
Other packages that might be of interested depending on your location or against what your cross-shop are the Subzero Weather Package ($1000) and Ultra High Fidelity Sound ($2500).
Last but not least there is Tesla’s trump card. No, they don’t hope he is President by the time the Model 3 is released. We are of course talking about Tesla’s Supercharger Network which allows you to travel long distances with short charging times. On the discontinued entry Model S access to these charging stations was an $2000 option.
vs. Chevy Bolt @ $37500
We don’t know much about the Chevrolet Bolt EV pricing apart from the $30000 base price after initiatives, but we can get some information about possible options from Chevrolet’s car line-up, especially they Chevy Volt Hybrid which comes in two trims — LT - $33,170 / Premier - $37,520
Apart from a few options only available on the higher trim, the $4350 upgrade comes with…
- Leather appointed seats
- Heated front and rear seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Automatic Parking Assist
- Front and Rear Park Assist
- Wireless charging for devices
- Bose® premium audio system
With Tesla style packages this could get a lot more expensive depending on your needs. In addition we should keep in mind that the premium upgrade will push the Bolt above $40000 and a Model 3 with some options will easily follow.
vs. BMW 3-Series @ $33150
Now you might still be wondering about the title image. Well, since European car manufactures don’t have to deal with American dealership laws on their home turf people there can basically configure their own individual car and even take delivery at the factory. As a result most premium manufacturers offer a lot of individual options, which are then often grouped into packages for the North American market. Here are some packages available for a BMW 3-Series:
- Cold Weather Package
- Technology Package
- Driver Assistance Package
- Luxury Package
- Premium Package
Those names sound familiar, don’t they?
Considering that the Model S is comparable to a BMW 7-Series and the Model 3 is supposed to be a smaller sedan just like the BMW 3-Series it is very likely it will just as much require several options just to be on par. Not to mention the features that are still options on the luxury sedans. In addition certain features require you to pick other options or a whole package.
It’s often those options that make up a big premium on the price, for example in the US configurator you need leather seats to get heated seats, similar to how there are only ventilated seats available for the leather seats in the Model X. Tesla certainly read the German pricing play book. Considering Tesla Motors is still a comparatively small manufacturer we will most likely see packages like in the Model S & X rather than individual options to simplify logistics and increase margins.
TESLA Motors is known for its focus on technology. It was founded in Silicon Valley and which other CEO of a automotive company would tweet this?
If you want a Tesla then you don’t just want a car — you want thr technology and the gadgets. You don’t want to say “I didn’t get that option” when your friends ask you to show them Autopilot.
And that means you don’t want that $35000 Model 3, because those tech features, a styling option here or there and maybe Supercharger access will already push you towards $40000. Now you are at that price point where you ask yourself do I really want to spend $40000 on a car that lacks BASIC options your last sub $30000 Toyota had? No? Congratulations, you are now aiming towards a $45000-50000 Tesla Model 3.
And don’t put your hope on tax credits… Tesla is know to prioritize performance Models and as already pointed out will be closing in on those 200k US sales by 2018.