Tesla Model 3 Debuts March 31st, Higher Optioned Cars Made First

FEB 10 2016 BY JAY COLE 89

Tesla hit on just about all cylinders when announcing Q4 results after the bell on Wednesday (full details), and the Model 3 was no exception.

Tesla CEO: Model 3 Entry Level Car To Be produced First - Premium Version Later

Tesla CEO: Model 3 Entry Level Car To Be produced After Premium Version – So 2018ish Maybe?

Fulfilling an earlier promise my CEO Elon Musk to show off the EV in March, Tesla announced the actual reveal date.  And in true Tesla style, it will be a last minute affair – March 31st.

The company also re-iterated this week that the 200 mile EV will also have a pre-incentive MSRP starting from $35,000.

Given past history, we had assumed that Tesla might prioritize the more heavier optioned/higher priced Model 3 orders, pushing back those looking for the entry level model…as it had done with both the Model S and Model X.

Update:  Tesla will indeed release more expense versions ahead of entry level cars.

“Our default plan as we have done in the past is that the initial sales are relatively highly optioned versions of the car, because we’ve got to pay back the investment of the tooling and everything, so it makes sense to have the higher optioned versions first. That’s what we did with the S and obviously again with the X.”

So, it appears that the “everyman’s” affordable Tesla will have to wait at least until 2018.

However, Musk did note there was some issues/confusion with the wider media on early Model X pricing reports, as initial “Signature Series” models misrepresented the true price.  We should note that the “pricing pain” might have been a bit self-inflicted, as Tesla did not release any other trim or pricing information on the all-electric SUV until long after the Signature pricing was announced.

Update: For the Model 3, CEO Elon Musk says there will be no “Signature Series” cars, and $1,000 deposits will be taken March 31st in stores, April 1st online (full details)

Tesla also said that production and deliveries were on track for late 2017.

If there was bit of not-so-good news, it also came from the press conference, where Elon Musk said the company likely won’t be showing “all their cards”, meaning we may only be getting some initial looks at the EV, but not all the specs.


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89 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Debuts March 31st, Higher Optioned Cars Made First"

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Exciting. 🙂

I agree. That it will be on time is nice to know too.
As for all the whiners most car companies load up the early or in demand cars with options, nothing new there.

Wow funny post. you say it is good that it is on time because Musk tells you it is so. HAHA

Who’s got a GigaFactory, and who doesn’t.
Tesla has a GigaFactory, and EVERYONE Else Doesn’t.

LG Chem’s factory is on track to produce just over 1GWh of battery cells this year. When is Tesla going to produce 1GWh from their new plant? Next year? 2018?
So the first Gigafactory will be LG Chem.


What do you think the ceiling of a higher-optioned Model 3 would be? $65k to $70k, right below the Model S?

Makes sense. Then in 2019 they’ll start selling the $55k versions. By 2021 they might get to the $45k versions. $35k by 2030 or so.

Oh, what an optimist! Too bad there are no green leafs 😉

Is that Pokeman?

Just by a VOLT or BOLT. Who knows when the 3 will be available to the regular person for $35,00

The article says:

“Elon Musk said the company likely won’t be showing ‘all their cards’, meaning we may only be getting some inital [sic] looks at the EV, but not all the specs.”

Given the large number of changes in the Model X between showing the prototype and the actual production model, it would be astonishing if Tesla could give us all the specs at this stage of incomplete development, even if they wanted to.

No point in giving us specs which will likely be changed later; that would just upset people. You can find plenty of examples of exactly that happening, in comments on the Tesla Motors Club forum.

There is one benefit to releasing real details: while plans may change, planning is essential. An actual prototype, or at least concrete details, is evidence that they are further along in development than an underspecified car.

Or, in other words, people will only take their dates seriously once they produce something worth seriously considering.

Well, I suppose that Tesla would get more reservations if it shows an actual prototype than if, as some have suggested, it’s only going to show concept drawings/renders.

But either way, lots of people will be lining up to put down their reservation as soon as Tesla’s website will permit it.

Cool! I am thinking 50k will get you in the ballpark to be one of the earlier deliveries.

That is basically a top of the line i3. It will be rather interesting to watch 🙂

Coupled with the idea that the higher optioned cars will be ones that get the tax credit before it dries up, you may see many of the first 10k or so orders around the price.

Exciting times in ev land, as you intimate.

True, but a 50k i3 leases like a 35k car.

That ain’t gonna happen with the Tesla.

IF you can’t purchase a lower optioned Model 3 for years is it really selling for $35k?

Months, as currently seen with the Model X.

In my opinion he is not delivering on his promise, why even say 35k when it’s not available for 1 year after the first highly optioned cars are delivered. It’s not the way it’s done, most mfr deliver at least some base cars to the lot along with the highly optioned models in the FIRST production run. Done this way for years , he and Tesla got this one wrong, and they will be barbecued in the press for it.

How do we know a full year? Could be half that. Thankfully there is some competition:

The GM Bolt will be out at a 35,000 after incentives (read: 45,000 before incentives) price and tesla will have you configure a 25,000 after incentives (35,000 before incentives) base with your add-ons like autopilot, larger battery etc into similar range. DC fast charging is a for-pay option on the Bolt, I wonder if that is an add-on for Model 3 too ? Bolts DC fast charging promises only 90 miles in 30 minutes, tesla SC will probably fill up twice the range in the same time. Interesting times 🙂 Just wait until the press sees that there is no stop-and-go automation in the Bolt even as an option per time-to-market-rush compromises in the brake design (no blended brakes) according to http://insideevs.com/exclusive-inside-the-chevrolet-bolt-with-its-chief-engineer-new-details/ and we will see who will be bbqed 🙂

“The GM Bolt will be out at a 35,000 after incentives (read: 45,000 before incentives)”

I thought the Bolt was to be 37500 before incentives.

Bolt will be $30k after incentives, so somewhere very close to $37,500 before incentives.

The Bolt will be $37500 including freight, before incentives or dealer discounts.

The BASE Model Bolt.
There will be Options.

And GM controls how optioned the inventory cars are going to be. You can bet that someone that walks into a Chevy dealer and orders a stripped down Bolt won’t get their car for some time.

““Our default plan as we have done in the past is that the initial sales are relatively highly optioned versions of the car, because we’ve got to pay back the investment of the tooling and everything, so it makes sense to have the higher optioned versions first. That’s what we did with the S and obviously again with the X.””

No different at Tesla either.

10k in incentives? The only nationwide incentive in the US is $7500.

You’re going to have trouble convincing people of anything when you start out that disingenuous.

Ct200h said:

“In my opinion he is not delivering on his promise, why even say 35k when it’s not available for 1 year after the first highly optioned cars are delivered.”

This is a case of “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” Tesla has lost control of what the media says about the price of the Model X, because Tesla was reticent to give the entry level price for the X; all too many articles describe the Model X as a “$132,000” car* or some such. That may be accurate for the most expensive, highest trim, first-delivered units, but it’s rather misleading to compare that to the MSRP of other cars; the MSRP being the lowest possible full retail price.

Tesla is doing the smart thing by citing the target MSRP for the Model ≡ well in advance, to avoid losing control of how the media describes the price.

*See, for example:


Rating +1 is just not enough for that post. Send me your PayPal addr and I’ll buy you a pint.

Thanks! I think that’s the nicest compliment I’ve ever gotten on InsideEVs.

🙂 🙂 🙂

In fairness, many media outlets have not been kind to Tesla simply because Tesla does not advertise with them. The result is when these media companies do cover Tesla, they do so in the most unflattering way they can find. (e.g. Tesla on fire…. articles that mention only in the last line that Tesla fires are a fraction of ICE vehicles.) Quoting the highest price possible is just another way of helping their advertisers.

So true. I’ve noticed this with all EVs in comment sections after articles.

I goes something like this. GM loans out fully loaded Volts to the media for test drives to impress them.

The media reports back that the Volt costs $41,000.

Comments follow about how shocked they are that the Volt is that crazy expensive when you can get a new Prius for $25,000.

The media fails to simply print that their car was price as tested and fully loaded compared to the base MSRP of $33,150. The medial also fails to print that the Volt qualifies for $7,500 tax incentive.

Now if GM would lend base model Volts to the media the media would print how the interior wasn’t that nice and how it didn’t have much tech but that those are options that would make the Volt even more expensive. And they still wouldn’t mention the $7,500 tax credit.

The 2017 Volt has high speed collision detection, and tests as a very nice car.

No need to apologize for that price.
How to work around it
1) Lease for 3 years, get the full tax credit in the lease.
2) Then buy the car at the end of the lease, if you want to keep it for 20 years.

A fully loaded Volt is great I was just making a point about the damned if you do and damned if you don’t scenario for EVs.

In the case of the Volt a base model Volt minus the tax incentive is the same as a base Prius. The media never seem to be aware of this because they are lazy and just post the price of the car loaned to them.

Then lazy readers who many times are skeptical of EVs find bias confirmation in these articles that EV aren’t a good value.

The same for Tesla and the Model X. The average reader believes that all Xs cost $130K.

It’s best to avoid hyping the $7500 tax credit as it’s up to $7500 as the car must cost $75,000 to get the full tax credit and you must own that much in taxes the year you buy the car and after normal deductions. It’s not a rebate but a credit. If you only owe $3000 in taxes that year, that is all you’ll get back. If the car is $30,000 you’ll only get a $3000 tax credit.

The EV absolutely does not have to cost $75k to get the credit. The Focus EV, Leaf EV and others priced starting under $30k qualify for the full $7,500. And phev or EV with a battery size over 16 kWh get the full incentive.

As far as the tax liability, if you don’t have $7500 owed then you probably shouldn’t be buying a $30,000 car.

Why would the press report the price of a car that isn’t available to buy vs one that is?

Seems accurate to me. When the base model X is available, then that’s another story.

I would like to know how the Model III will hit that price point? That will be cheaper than the Bolt, and it is roughly half of the price of the Model-S. I’m seriously wondering if they are going to be offering a base version with like 125 miles of range and slower 0-60 performance in order to hit that price point. Obviously, the plan would be to sell most people higher trim options.

Obviously I was looking forward to this years ago. But as it is, I’m not nearly as excited now that there are several compelling electric offerings from other manufacturers. The two that interest me the most are the new Bolt and Volt.

entry level range will be 200+ EPA miles, as confirmed many times by Tesla.

As confirmed by TESLA –are you kidding me??? Just when did you start believing tesla about anything on price delivery date or range? funny- remember the first 300 mile mod S at 49900

Tesla is lying because they cannot confirm anything about a EV that doesn’t exist yet.

I’m with you, not nearly as excited now that the bade model is STILL YEARS AWAY. Chevy has affordable EV’s on the market right now, starting to wonder if waiting is worth it, though gas is certainly dirt cheap right now…

I am certain that the Model 3 will offers trim/models in alignment with the 3-Series($33k to $47k).

But the Model 3 will be…

Cheaper to drive (no premium fuel)
Cheaper to maintain

I can’t wait…..

An M3 tops out at $77k, so expect the Model 3 Performance to top out in the same neighborhood.

There might be a “Plaid” version for an extra $10,000.
You don’t need to buy it.

… you HAVe to wait!


I may have to wait until 2018 to get the super cool EV I wanted to get at the end of 2017….

Now what are those lions doing in my 1 room mud hut? If I had electricity I’d switch on a light and find out what all that screaming is about.

That means the poor man Model 3 in Europe will arrive in 2019…or the first with right quality 2020.

High end first? And will current Tesla owners get to go to the front of the line as well? Looking more and more like the fed cred will be gone before I could get one. Might as well wait for gen 2 M3 and lease a Leaf 2 or Bolt.

I don’t think anyone will get the tax credit on a Model 3. They will break 200k by end of this year, won’t they?

That ticker only counts for US deliveries. 200k is for all production including international. The recent estimates are mid-2018 for the sunset to start.

Musk has tweeted the deposit will be $1000, 3/31 in Tesla stores, 4/1 online.

April Fool’s! 😉

…and it’s true.

I prefer to save that $1,000 deposit in my account until the real Model 3 appears in a showroom in 2018 or later.

Great move on his part to have customers go to the store to reserve, or online. Many of us myself included have never bothered to go to a tesla store.

“Thanks for your interest for the Model 3!
Oh……you want a base $35k version? You could be waiting for a bit…..since you are here, did you want to check out the Model S/X that we already sell??”

So what will Tesla show us eventually on March 31st ? A car, pictures of a car or a clay model ?

I can find zillions of words on the net about model 3 debuts but nothing clear on that subject.

Chevy released a picture of the Volts rear hatch. It will probably be something similar.

Gee, you will have to watch the release event and find out….

It is almost like they want to build a whole lot of buzz around a single event. Like any real marketing effort from any other company.

Crazy, isn’t it? Tesla going and intentionally creating a lot of pre-event buzz by refusing to tell everybody what they are going to do ahead of time.

Sounds like it is working.

I’m not sure how Tesla is “hitting on all cylinders” when reporting an operating loss as well as their much-anticipated car for the masses being pushed back several more years in order to sell yet more upscale models to those who can afford it. I’m not trying to be overly critical, but I’ve been waiting for the $35k Model 3 since the announcement, it was very disappointing to hear it’s several years away still. To me the Bolt is looking better and better, or the Volt II, dang shame since Tesla actually recently put a Supercharger in my little hometown, was really stoked about it all.

I just liked the irony of the statement. An electric car company “hit on … all cylinders”.
I can see Jay grinning as he wrote that…

That caught me too Ziv with the same devilish mental image.

Well I had an EV back in 2006, and it was either hitting on all one cylinder or on all 96 Volts, depending on how you saw it! It is shown at http://www.myelectricfly.com

So, for $1,000 down, what is the maximum number of reservations per person or per family or per address? Can I order 10 and start a an EV Driving School?

does “hit on all cylinders” mean “firing on all cylinders”, as in an ICE?… if so I think we could start using some other analogies, from other walks of life…. I suggest “going full house” (a pizza analogy), or “winding the valve all the way up” (a hydro-power analogy). Just saying.

How about “stomping on the gas pedal”?

A BEV does has “cylinders”, at least four: brake pistons have “cylinders”.

-Nothing was pushed back several years.
-The drop in sales across all major luxury brands from 5% to 16%, and the projected profitability at the end of 2016, has probably got a bigger effect then current monetary losses.

In other words Tesla is creating a new market, and taking marketshare now.

Like Amazon.

Folks we need a Democratic White House and Congress to increase the EV Fed Credit. FEEL THE BERN

I do have mild itching sensation, but I don’t feel the Bern.

Be carefull scatching that itch, or you might feel the BIRM! (That ridge of dirt off to the side of the road!)

Thanks again Chevy Bolt!

So just confirmed, there will be no buy able 35000$ Tesla in 2017.

Tesla is just a toy company for the riches.

No it is not. They are just selling the first few to people that are really into the car and will add most options. All car companies do this to one degree or another.

Most companies don’t even build to order the majority of their cars.

When they get ready to build a new model, they build a whole bunch of them, and start distributing them to dealership back-lots where they are put under quarantine until enough stock is built up to do a national release everywhere at the same time.

So if this were a traditional car company, nobody would get any cars at all until lots of cars were already built and delivered to dealers.

It would shut up the whiners, but it would slow down deliveries. And since Tesla does not have any dealerships they have to stock up with cars, it wouldn’t make sense for Tesla to do that.

Remember the Federal incentive is a tax credit. It may not exist by the time the Model 3 and Bolt are actually on the market. That is why Musk has always quoted the price of $35,000 before incentives. Also, it’s 10% of the price of the car up to $7500. If you buy a Model 3 for $35,000 you’ll only get a $3500 tax credit anyway. You also must owe Federal taxes in the same year you buy the car in that amount to get money back. So if you owe $5000 in Federal taxes and you itemize your return and then owe $3000, you will only get that $3000 with a $7500 tax credit. So it full on only helps people that have more many to start with. Kind of lame.

WRONG. If a manufacturer released a $7,500 EV that qualified for the full tax credit, you would be eligible for $7,500. There is no limit with the credit WRT MSRP…only your tax liability.

Tanquen, you are confusing parts of the federal Electric Motorcycle tax incentive, and the the $7,500 tax incentive for EV cars.

The EV motorcycle tax incentive is the one that has the 10% limit. The $7,500 EV car incentive is determined by the size of the battery. Everything with a 16 kWh or larger battery gets the full $7,500 tax incentive. Cars with smaller batteries only get partial incentives.

When the cheaper Model 3 does finally appear (2018) you’ll be able to buy a used Model S for $35K

You may find it for $40k+ now if you search hard enough. It doesn’t mean its repair & maintenance costs will go down too, just the opposite. It is typical that keeping up old expensive cars starts to cost too much to make sense as they get older, Tesla is no exception.

The price for used Model S cars will go up once the federal incentive starts to sunset.

BTW, I just read today in my news portal that the Chevy Bolt will be available in Germany from 2017 on, under the brand of OPEL with the name “Ampera-e”. They showed a picture of a yellow Bolt, already with the Opel lightning sign on the grill and a German license plate. So far, I have no further information about other European countries or Vauxhall RHD models for Great Britain. Maybe, we will learn more about that here, in one of the next issues.

If that’s a genuine “covered” photo… I’m bummed to see that it will still have outside mirrors. Will we EVER get that silly law changed?


If you copy that into your browser, you should see the photo. It shows the yellow Ampera-e with mirrors.

Thanks/Sorry, I din t have that in my last enail from insideev – maybe it will be in the next one.