Tesla Skeptic Puts Actual Model 3 Price At $50,000 To $80,000




According to a report titled “The Tesla Battery Report,” there’s virtually no possible way that the Tesla Model 3 will be priced in the mid-$30,000 range as Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims.

Author of the report, Dr. Menahem Anderman, is a known Tesla skeptic, so we don’t put too much stock in what he states.  Regardless, here are his claims (via ChargedEVs):

“Dr Anderman is skeptical of Elon Musk’s confidence that Tesla can build battery packs for under $100 per kilowatt-hour in less than 10 years: “Our assessment shows that pack pricing for the 2025 time scale could be as low as $167/kWh…Pack cost much below $200/kWh is unlikely before 2020.”

“…in the most likely scenario, “the price of the 2017 new model will be in the range of $50-80k.”

Here at InsideEVs, the consensus among the staff is that $35,000 is probably an unrealistic normal selling price for the Model 3.  Perhaps a stripped-down base version could be listed at that price (it’s possible the stripper Model 3 won’t sell in volume and Tesla will pull it like the automaker did with the 40-kWh Model S), but we fully expect the average Model 3 transaction price to be in the ballpark range of $50,000, so perhaps the doctor isn’t too far off.

At $80,000, that would include all the bells and whistles and then some.  At $80,000, you’re in low-end Model S territory, so selling the Model 3 at that price won’t be easy, we don’t think it would be possible to equip a 3 anywhere near that.

It’s guessing time.  If we use these figures ($35,000 to $80,000) as a range, then what do you think will be the base MSRP (excluding any tax credits) of the Model 3?  What will an optioned-out Model 3 go for?

Source: The Tesla Battery Report via ChargedEVs

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75 Comments on "Tesla Skeptic Puts Actual Model 3 Price At $50,000 To $80,000"

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Price promises have been tough for Tesla. That said, the concerning trend of delivery pushbacks could hurt Tesla even more than not meeting the price prediction.

Here’s hoping that Tesla can bring the Model III to market on time.

Of all the aspects of Model III, delivering on time is at the very bottom of the totem pole. Price, features, design, range, reliability are all far ahead of whether production starts in 2017 beginning, end, or 2018.

I tend to agree with the guy. I expect $35,000 will be AFTER credits. So a base model III will probably be around $42,500 and go up from there.

I would imagine they will have sold 200,000 cars by then so there should be no government rebates at least federal. I believe next year they’re looking at selling 50,000 model S and a couple thousand model x

The 200K sales is USA-based sales. Not world sales.

I agree Musk is factoring in the $7,500 incentive. The 40kWhr Model S came out at $57,500, so it was $50k as promised to the American consumer. And again as before Musk is only speaking of the starting price. The projection is quite simple and acceptable. $42,500 for a 20% smaller car, half dozen years of engineering refinements (both car and battery), and vast economies of scale gains (ie doubling world battery production with just one factory), I just don’t get why so many skeptics? Meeting this price is so crucial to Tesla’s reputation, Musk would not make such a bold statement without 100% confidence.

The 35K Model 3 units will be available, but only after all the Signature Model 3 units are shipped, and then only after the $42,000 60kWh units are made available and have shipped for a while, and after the higher spec base Model 3 units are shipped.

Model 3 Base: 48kWh, entry-level luxury trim, $35K
+12kWh $7,500
+mid-level luxury trim: 4K
+tech/autopilot: 4K
+air suspension, audio, etc.

It will be very easy to spec out a 50K Model 3. That doesn’t mean the lower end units will not exist.

I guarantee you Musk and Tesla will be pilloried for having the higher spec models and even deferring the delivery of the base models until 12-18 months after first Model 3 delivery date. But that will because of the high demand for 40-50K 200+ mile EVs.

Agree completely. I can see a P70kwhD going for $80K Why not, but that isn’t a bad thing. What does an M3 cost or an S4. air suspension, tech package, etc. It may be a better seller with a smaller car being more manuvarable, and really isn’t 3.5s 0-60 better than 3.1 if you can do the twisties at higher speed?

$7500 for +12 kWh sounds expensive. For $8000 ($10000-$2000 Supercharger) you get +25 kWh with the Model S.

7,500 = 2,500 supercharger premium + 5K battery premium. Maybe it’ll be a little more than 12kWh, maybe it’ll be a little less than that price. It def. wont be down around 2-3K. The 12kWh at $196/kWh est. 2017 GF prices would be $2,350. 100% margin on options.

I figure the supercharger premium goes up because the number of stalls that will need to be installed will be a lot higher than what will be present in 2018. So you have to go back and add capacity, not coverage.

Okok you made your point clear. I’m sorry then!

The P70D will be a rocket, think M3 ro RS4 vs M5 and S6.
The top of the line coupe PXXD”R” will be a sub 3 second 0-60. It will be the Lambo/Ferrari killer. Faster, and better handeling. Only limit will be top speed.

+12kWh is too little. For the Model S, the larger battery is 42% larger.

I think the base model will be 50kWh, and the larger battery will be 70kWh.

I expect it to remain a $10k option.

Options bring the Model S up 60k in price, so I’m sure a loaded Model 3 will have at least 30k in possible upgrades. I would say $39,900 base price and maxed out will be around 70k, before rebates. I can’t see people actually taking delivery before 2018, and 2019 wouldn’t surprise me. We will be nearing 2016 before serious X deliveries are happening.

Meh. They are not going to hit $35K. The Model S was supposed to have a $50K version and the cheapest is now $70K.

But I’m looking to a $40 to $45K version.

Not because they couldn’t build them, I have one. They made more money on the way 60 and 85’s were being configured. I’m pretty sure that if the Model III gets lots of higher cost configurations ordered that Tesla makes more money on, Tesla is going to build them. They want to sell 400K/yr ultimately. If they can do that with $70K configurations and making more money, I’m guessing that’s what they’ll do. If they need to build $35K models to hit the volume they want and they can make the money they want doing it, they’ll build those.

My guess is that it will be more of a mix to get the desired volume/profit. Finding the market demand and meeting it is more important than what the models average selling price. Not sure why anybody here cares about the price as long as they can move the desired volume. The price will go where markets and costs dictate.

If you want to buy a Model E I’m pretty sure you’d care about the price.

Everyone cares about the price they pay for things, even billionaires. As a proponent of EV’s, I care about volume. The higher the price consumers are willing to pay for that volume, the better. It means the public sees value in the product.

you meant especially billionaires

The Model III needs about a 60KWhr battery? At $200/KWhr in 2018?

60KWhr * $200/KWhr = $12,000.

If the Model III is a volume product, then one would think they could do the rest of the car for $20K, and then sell it at $35K for a profit.

Isn’t GM coming out with a 200 BEV for about $30K to $35K in a few years? How is GM doing it? Is GM expected to lose money on the car?

This is what I have:

Some analysts have the Model S battery at $260 kWh right now and take out 30% in battery costs, plus it will be a smaller battery due to a smaller car footprint, say a 55 kWH battery.

So you could have $182 kWh battery (via gigafactory) x 55 = 10,010 for battery costs.

You used better numbers than I did, but got virtually the same result. What’s important to me is that the cells won’t be as cheep as $5K, and won’t be as expensive as $20K.

The base price that Elon was saying the Model S was going to be was $50,000 and that was not the case.

Maybe 35k with options but the Model 3 is easily going to be a 40-50k+ car which isn’t bad considering its a Tesla

*with no options

It was supposed to be $45K. The average transaction price for a Model S is $75K.

Who friggin cares what the average transaction price is? They offer it at $69. They are selling at higher volumes than originally anticipated. That’s what matters.

As far as I remember Model S was supposed to start at $49,500 post credit and I had a deposit down long before it was built. There may have been some very early comments about price that I’m not remembering but I don’t think so.

I remember the original S price was 50K.

@ DonC

That low?

that sounds low to me too.

I don’t know about $45K.

But here is video that has Elon mentioning “starts around $50K” for the Model S:

Which was about the base price of a non-optioned 40 kWh model, which got discontinued pretty quickly.

So, the target wasn’t off; they just eliminated it early on.

As for Model III– it will likely be multiple / modular configurations, not a simple, single sedan. Think “Pulsar NX”, but more attractive and a bit larger.

So, judging by Model X delays… Doing three variations of Model III platform vehicles, will be ready to market much later than 2017…

Not necessarily. If X and S sales are anywhere near Tesla’s projections (100k/yr), they will be in a much better position, both financial and scale, to push development faster. If they had to get the X out earlier, they could but that would entail more risk and for what? Their suppliers and production line can hardly keep up with scaling S production. There may be other issues too they are waiting for, I.e. regulatory approval for side view cameras.

You forget “The Elon Factor”… He can’t / wont let go of design minutiae he’s fixated on, which keeps delaying things. Sometimes for YEARS.

His designers talk about their fast turnarounds for new designs, so for better or worse; there is clearly a bottleneck in the Tesla pipeline…

Voelcker (GCR) suspects it’s battery range issues with a SUV/crossover. I tend to agree after hearing “it’s hard to manufacture a lot of cars” statement in regards to the X in the latest conf. call.

The reason and the real reason.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I can imagine a $35k equivalent of the RAV4EV or B-class powertrain being the base model: 40-50kWh. I doubt the ASP will be any less than $50k though.

Either way, a 75+kWh $50-60k EV with Supercharging and adequate head and legroom (3-series or better) would be a pretty darned attractive proposition to me. I still hope Tesla does it as a CUV though, as that’s the most appealing formfactor for me, even if they do one as a traditional sedan as well.

My guess:

$38,000 for the base car (have to include inflation, after all).

$45,000 typical selling price, including supercharger access.

$55,000 for a high performance version.

Reasonable guesses each

Tesla has a lot more cumulative knowledge of auto and battery cell manufacturing than when they guesstimated a $50k base price for Model S.

And of course they will give priority shipping to top spec versions.But not delay shipment for base versions 12-18 months. More like 3 months.

Given that a fully loaded P85D goes for $138.5k I guess a fully loaded AWD Model 3 Performance will go for ~$80k. Similar to BMW M3.

I would guess that at least for the first Model year there will a base $35k Model 3 with textile manual seats,AC,single speed transmission, infotainment stereo center,PW PL keyless entry. Maybe steel wheels with covers.

My guess is they ditch the glide out handles. Plus $2k for supercharger access. More cupholders(Big Gulp Size) and cabin storage ditching the minimalist cool of the Model S interior.

“Given that a fully loaded P85D goes for $138.5k I guess a fully loaded AWD Model 3 Performance will go for ~$80k. Similar to BMW M3.”

Yep, I can see that happening too. I bet it also goes 0-60 in 3 secs flat and will probably have at least 300 miles of range, and even at that price will be easily competitive with anything else the “majors” are selling.

Hopefully $50K as a transaction price. Probably more like $65K. So far every model Tesla has released is more not less expensive than the one before it. Obviously there are economic and financial reasons for this, and it’s hard to see what would change the dynamic.

It also gets difficult for a very high end brand to make a lower priced car that is consistent with the brand. IOW would a Model that goes 0-60 MPH in 8 seconds still be “a Tesla”? Tesla has made straight line speed and range the primary selling points, making it difficult to market a relatively slow car that doesn’t have a lot of range.


2011 Tesla Roadster $119k

2014 Tesla Model S $71k

Advertised price is the transaction price for Tesla.

Average transaction price IMO will be around $50k.

Base Model 3 will have at least 200 mile EPA range and be at least as quick as a BMW 320i.

Thank you for making my point. The announced price of the Roadster when deposits were taken was $92K. Then it went up and up and up. With the Model S we see the same thing. Lowest priced model never released. Price increases on the rest of the line.

And of course we see the more expensive trend: Model S –> Model S AWD –> Model X.

That would be true if your point was every subsequent iteration of a model was more expensive than the previous but that’s not what you wrote. Even if it were your point, so what? That is true for most models from all car manufacturers. GM would certainly have raised not lowered the price of the Volt had there been more demand than planned production capacity.

They could always use the profits of the Model S & X to help subsidize the price of the Model 3. Assuming the get the costs of the batteries down and leave the Model S & X prices where they are at.

GM will have a 200 mile Sonic EV with kick ass accel.

Just like the Spark.

34 K

Not quite the pa-zaz but probably a better bang for the buck.

Tesla might lose the race to intro also.

I’ll believe a 200 mile range BEV from GM when I see one. I did see a Spark on the road the other day and don’t see what the purpose of a 200 mile version of that would be. It is a microcar and I don’t foresee much demand for a 200 mile version of it unless GM virtually gives the extra range away. Now, a 120-140 mile EPA rated range version could make sense.

It wouldn’t be a 200 mile version of the Spark. It’s supposedly based on the Sonic platform, but who knows what that will look like in 3 years?

Two hagglers see each other across the street, one yells at the other:

“How much?”

The other immediately and with confidence replies:


The first stops in his tracks scratches his head for bit and asks:

“What’s five?”

The other equally surprised replies:

“What’s how much?”

The question is why would they sell a $35K car when they can sell $45K or $55K. At $35K, they will be a lot of demand, which they won’t be able to meet, and therefore they will focus on the higher end, as they should. Someone brought up the Audi S4, and that can be had at $48K base price. It’s a sweet ride, and a pretty good deal. I think that will be in the ball park of the Model 3.

The answer is: $42,000.

(42 is always the answer, read the book).

I think Tesla will do everything they can to strip it down to $35k, but that won’t be a very attractive car, like they did with the 40kWh model S.
To get anything useful you will have to get closer to $50k. $80k I’m not so sure about, that is a bit high for the “low cost” Tesla, even if it is fully optioned. Such a car is probably around $65k which still is a lot.

I think when this pie in the sky Generation Three Tesla comes out it will be between $42 to $60,000 with a average price of $52,000. This logic is based off of what happened with Tesla in their early years with the model S.

Tesla once had a $49,000 Model S with a 40 kilowatt battery pack but they dropped the 40 kilowatt battery pack and replaced with the 60 kilowatt battery.

There is away that I picture a $55,000 dollar Tesla coming out and that is with the model S. How this could happen is Tesla starts running out of people to sell a $70,000 electric car too which could happen. So what Tesla does is they use falling battery costs along with their Giga factory operating at low capacity to sell a $55,000 dollar version of the 60 kilowatt Model S. I think this could very well happen in that I personally think Tesla is having internal damage from their production and sales.

Mass market. Who’s mass market is this for?

This type of car would be for people who are semi millionaires such as someone who is making enough to support a $400,000 House. In that money wise someone would have to have a at least $800,000 to a million dollars in reserves to support a $70,000 dollar car like the Tesla model S.

While a $55,000 dollar car would lower it’s way down the fiscal pyramid into a larger pool of buyers.

A 400000$ house!
Do you know a real decent and equipped house that goes for less?
That is base bottom price.
For one with good insulation, ventilation, double glazing, domotics, heat pump, equipped kitchen, equipped bathroom, 3 bedrooms, cellar and garage, you are more likely to pay 750000$, so way above 400000$.
Compared to a house a Tesla is damn cheap.

Oh, this guy again.

The $35k price may not hold for long, or perhaps it will only be available for early depositors.

I’d guess the bulk volume will go between $40-$50k (depending on options), with a few topping out at $55k.

The Model 3 will never be $60-80k.

I will also guess that there will be two or three range options, so that maybe the 200-miler will be top of the line.

Show me 150 miles of legitimate range for $35k, and I’m there.

But since the Model 3 is likely a 2018 release, it won’t be my next EV – sorry Elon. Tesla is going to miss a whole lot of sales to 1st-gen adopters whose EVs (Leafs, Volts) are coming off lease.

Yep, same guy, same story as it appeared 6 months ago …

Means at least 5 more opportunities to hash the same story over the next 3 years. No sense discussing until the prototype of the Gigafactory is operational and real data is available in 18-24 months time.

Base MS60 is $71k. ASP for all is about $104K. Buyers are preferring upgrades and options. If the base of M3 is $42K buyers will rack up the options to and past $50k with performance DWD models and + power will be $60k or more. Talk of a $35K is a talking point that started as a $30K talking point. Before he left recently, the chief spokesman Simon Sproule mentioned the M3 would sell for around $40K in an onterview with the LA Times.

Electric Car Guest Drive

I don’t hold TSLA, but I certainly expect them to sell the Model 3 for what the market will bear, and also meet their volume goals. Given the strong demand for the highest rated car ever, and the willingness of most purchasers to option up their “dream car”, I won’t be surprised when the average price of a Model 3 is well north of the $35k vase price.

That will be a Tesla success, not failure.

The CEO of LG Chem states the 200 mile EV at $35,000 is achievable. Hear for yourself by playing the following video starting at about 16:45.

Ann Marie is awesome. Her acumen is welcome in the automotive world. Maybe she can run something like GM some day.

The S40 came out at $49,900 then went to $52K, then they stopped making them because no one was buying them. Regardless, Tesla hit their target price.

The $35K is w/o federal tax credit – Tesla has stated they expect to be beyond eligibility by the time the M3 hits the streets.

I would expect them to hit the $35K price point – it might be with a 60 kWh pack and no upgrades but that they will hit it. Elon has always said $35K would the the starting price, not the average selling price (ASP). Personally, I would trust Elon’s word over another “expert” looking to make a buck.

The average price for a new car is $32K (Kelly Blue Book), so $35K for a new car with lower cost of ownership and superlative performance and technology at that price point would likely have mass market appeal.


The problem is not if Tesla can do an electric car that sells for 35 000 dollars, but can Tesla make a compelling car that is better than Audi A4 Quattro and BMW 328i xDrive and still have the price less than 40 000 dollar?

My own suggestion is that Tesla should abandon $35 000 price target, but to go for 45 000 dollar price category.

Why give up so quickly? The gigafactory isn’t even built yet.

BMW 328i xDrive costs 39 900 dollars. how could Tesla make an electric car for 35 000 dollars that is better than BMW? Even if we assume that batteries were free, it is still difficult.

Im guessing the profit margins on the BMW are MUCH larger. Also, it is probably filled with crap that most people don’t want. The Tesla should have a lot less man-hours per build as well.

It depends on how you define compelling. I think the instant torque of an EV makes for compelling performance, especially the over the 328. The question is if they can tune the chassis to provide comparable (or better) handling. The low CoG will help–we’ll see what else they can mange, but based on the Model S, I would not bet against them.

What’s happened here? Everybody’s talking sensibly all of a sudden.:)

Here are my guesses:

Model 3 Starting MSRP: $39,995

Model 3 (Nicely equipped): $45,995

Model 3 (Loaded): $50,000

That’s BMW 3 Series territory, (more or less).


There will always be someone who will say it can’t be done. That is what has driven Elon Musk so far and he has not let us down yet. Tesla has achieved so much with having to fight the car dealerships, government regulations, and not to mention the real power behind the government… big oil.
Elon Musk for president… he could actually make the government work.

We already have a baseline for a Tesla powered less expensive car. It is the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive with an $41,450 MSRP. Powered by Tesla. We know from Tesla’s SEC reports that their profit margin on battery/drive units they sell to other companies is higher than their margins on cars. Plus MB has to make their own profit on top of that. Also, MB has dealerships that take their own profit margin, and the MSRP includes a markup that is typically negotiated down to a lower price (either through trade-in allowance, or price reductions). Panasonic is also taking their profits on the back end selling Tesla batteries. The question becomes; can Tesla build and sell their own car, through their own stores, with their own batteries they build themselves, at a cheaper price than the MB’s B-class electric MSRP of $41,450? Here are some factors: 1) No dealership profits going to the dealership layer. 2) Fixed price instead of an artificially inflated MSRP that is later negotiated down. 3) Three less parties taking profits out of effectively reselling the same batteries. (Panasonic, MB Factory, and the MB dealership) 4) Mass production of batteries bringing price down per battery (Giga).… Read more »

Tesla S P85 battery cost: ~$20230 ($238/kWh)
Tesla S 60 = 60 kWh = ~200 miles
Tesla 3 = 20% smaller/lighter

60 kWh x 20% lighter = 51 kWh for ~200 mile
Battery: $238/kWh x -30% cost (Gigafactory) = $167 kWh
51 kWh * $167 = $8517 (Battery cost for model 3)

$35000 – $8517 = $26483 model 3 without battery
Substract ~25% (Tesla gross margin on every car)

$8517 for the battery (51 kWh/~200 miles)
$8750 gross margin
$17733 for the car

$35000 is possible.
Add $5000 for Supercharger/Autopilot/Warranty/…

I guess the real question is what are you willing to pay for a model III? If a well equipped model is 45k (no fed credit) would you buy it?

There will be more people who will buy a $45K car than a $80K car. It’s not rocket science.

$25K is a good price, sure, but Tesla doesn’t have the infrastructure to produce millions of cars. It would be foolish to target this market.

In 10 years, maybe, or maybe not.