Tesla Model 3 Sets The Price of Driving Green: $35,000
Tesla has just unveiled the Model 3. At 215+ miles of range, in two years it will be the cheapest practical electric vehicle (EV) on the market. The Chevy Bolt will come out sooner, but cost slightly more before incentives. The price of an EV continues to drop, but that does not mean it is cheap.
How accessible is $35,000?
Kelly Blue Book finds that the average price paid for a compact sedan is $20,000 while for a mid-sized sedan we average paying $25,000. That puts a Model 3 at least $10K to $15K more than we tend to spend right now. (For argument’s sake, we’ll set aside the $7,500 Federal credit as that is a limited rebate, and given the volume of Model 3 demand, may not be available much after the car’s debut)
That is anywhere from $181 – $271 more per month for 60 months. Is it worth it?
Tesla, like Apple, is good at creating desire and need. Anyone who can already afford to purchase a new car and pay ~$200/month in gas, no doubt will be wooed by the math.
Tesla is really targeting the consumer that already buys performance vehicles, like a BMW 3 series ($33K – $43K MSRP). There is no reason why Tesla would not capture this market share, and it will have an impact on society. Not all at once. It is mustard seed logic, not shock and awe.
The mistake our skeptism makes is in asking for a cheap electric car (<$20K) that slowly gets better and better, and never succeeds. Tesla’s wisdom is in not listening to our logic. They are making a great electric car that everyone wants, that starts expensive, and slowly becomes cheaper and cheaper.
In the reveal of the Model 3, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, talked about a three stage plan to get to the model three, an affordable EV. Comments on EV blogs and forums are already musing about the need for a model IV, a truly elusive and affordable unicorn. I don’t think this is in the cards anytime soon, and Tesla’s success doesn’t depend on it.
Households that don’t buy new cars, but see the value in an EV and take the plunge will just be added gravy. And then after this, used Model 3s will be available too, if anyone will part with them.
Editor’s Note: Besides occasionally writing at InsideEVs, Jon is the Electric Car contributor for Creative Green Living