While the Tesla Model 3 isn't available for CEO Elon Musk's promised $35,000, and it never really was for more than a minute, it's cheaper than ever today when accounting for inflation. For this reason, many people who may not have been able to afford a Tesla may now be in the market. So, how can you decide if the cheapest Tesla will work for you?
Talking to Tesla owners, as well as owners of rival EVs, is arguably a good start. People who have owned an electric car for a time may have more insight than what you'll find in a generic online review. Chances are, if you talk to a handful of owners, you'll get some valuable details about both pros and cons of owning an EV.
YouTube influencer Ryan Shaw has owned his fair share of Tesla EVs over the years, and the cheapest Model 3 just happens to be one of them. His insight is helpful since he has had the opportunity to live with the entry-level Tesla, and also to compare it to more expensive, higher-end versions, along with a few Model Y crossovers and a flagship Model S.
So, what exactly is the cheapest Tesla?
It's the Model 3 with a single-motor rear-wheel-drive powertrain and Tesla's "Standard Range" battery setup, though its name has been simplified over the years. Tesla just calls it the "Model 3," so if you have read about the Model 3 Standard Range or Model 3 RWD, it's likely the same car we're featuring here.
The Model 3 currently starts at $41,990, which includes white paint and a black synthetic leather interior. If you order it today, you may be able to take delivery this month. Moreover, if you order it before April 18, it should still qualify for the full $7,500 US federal EV tax credit, though you should check with a tax professional to get all the details before moving forward. Tesla says that after the 18th, the Model 3's potential credit will drop to $3,750.
According to the EPA, the standard-range rear-wheel-drive Model 3 has 272 miles of estimated driving range. Tesla says it can scoot from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and has a top speed of 140 mph. Like all Tesla models, it comes standard with Autopilot and many other notable features.
Shaw owns a 2021 Tesla Model 3 that he's driven for two years, during which he's put about 16,000 miles on the odometer. That seems like more than enough time to get an idea of what it's like to live with and to have experienced a series of positives and negatives worth sharing. With that said, go grab the popcorn, kick back, relax, and learn what you need to know about the cheapest Model 3 before it potentially becomes more expensive.