Tesla may say it doesn't sell slow cars, but that's not true if you live in a country where cars are taxed based on their power rating. Digging through a recent firmware update, Tesla code connoisseur “green the only” found mentions of a “soft performance limit” and power levels of 110 kilowatts (148 horsepower) for the Model 3 and 159 kW (213 hp) for the Model Y.

The Tesla Model Y base version has already been limited to 159 kW in Turkey for about a month. The Turkish government introduced a new law stating that any electric car whose power output exceeds 160 kW falls into a higher tax bracket and becomes considerably more expensive to buy.

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The slowest Tesla you can buy is available in Singapore

Because owning a vehicle with over 110 kW (148 hp) is expensive in Singapore, Tesla offers a special 110 kW Model 3 that takes a leisurely 8.6 seconds to sprint from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h).

This means that in Turkey, you can get a base Model Y Standard Range RWD for about 60% of the cost of the next model up, the Long Range AWD. The power drop isn’t massive, though, so the Turkish market base Model Y acceleration time from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) only increased from 6.9 seconds to 7.5 seconds, and the top speed remained the same at 135 mph (217 km/h).


The only country where Tesla sells a 110-kW Model 3 is Singapore. Before owning a vehicle, you first have to bid for a certificate of entitlement (or COE for short) and obtain one for around $70,000. There are two types of COE: category A, which entitles you to own a vehicle with no more than 110 kW, and category B, which applies to any passenger vehicle that exceeds that.

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The 110 kW Model 3 is the slowest accelerating Tesla available anywhere, with a claimed acceleration time from 0 to 62 mph of 8.6 seconds. Interestingly, the regular Model 3 RWD, with around 283 hp and a sprint time to 62 mph of 6.1 seconds, is just 500 Singaporean dollars (about $371) less than the variant with reduced power—the biggest savings come from obtaining the cheaper COE.

Both power limits are achieved through software, so there is no physical difference between the limited and higher-power regular models. In theory, they could have their power limit removed, although this would have obvious legal implications.

Tesla is unlikely to introduce these or any other lower-powered model variants outside of markets where not offering them would seriously affect sales. You won’t see anything of the sort soon in the US or even in Europe, where some countries tax cars by horsepower, although the power rating doesn’t directly affect the purchase price of a car as it does in Turkey.

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