The Pros and Cons of Buying the New $31K Tesla Model 3

Order now or wait for the even cheaper base model?

October 19, 2018 9:00 am

Last night, Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce the release of a new “lower cost, mid-range Tesla Model 3.” Thankfully, unlike his Teslaquila and plots to colonize Mars, it’s available to order right now.

According to Musk, the car could cost as little as $31K.

We know what you’re thinking: “Wait, so I can get a Tesla for less than an Audi A3?” Well, in classic Tesla fashion, it’s a little more complicated than that.

The Pros

    • The price: The $31K price tag Musk alludes to on Twitter is a general estimation for the price after both federal and state tax credits for electric vehicles, as well as gas savings. The base price is actually $45K, which is still significantly lower than the current $54K and $64K options.
    • The safety rating: While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t gotten its mitts on this exact vehicle yet, the Model 3 did recently receive a 5-star crash safety rating — the same as every Tesla model so far.
    • It’s actually available: People have been champing at the bit for a promised $35K base Tesla Model 3, which would go for even less with potential tax credits and savings. This is not that car, but it’s as close as we’re going to get for the foreseeable future. Tesla has promised the base Model 3 in 2019, but if you can take advantage of enough tax credits to get this mid-range model in the $35K range, you’ll stave off the disappointment when the base model release date gets pushed back.

The Cons

    • The tax credit: Including federal and state tax credits, the price for this mid-range model could actually be as low as $28,200 (if you live in Colorado). The federal piece of that puzzle is $7,500, but that tax credit lowers to $3,750 at the end of the year. So with deliveries estimated between 6-10 weeks and a little over 10 weeks until 2019, you’d have to order one right now to get the discount. However, Business Insider writes that a Tesla representative said deliveries won’t begin for four months. Wamp wamp.
    • The cuts: This is a rear-wheel drive car with a mid-range battery. Of course, with the price drop, something had to go. Here, the battery pack is the same as the long-range option (available in the two other all-wheel drive Model 3s), but fewer cells means the range goes down from 310 miles to 260, according to Jalopnik.

The thing is: it’s still the Model 3. As long as you have no reservations about rear-wheel drive — which is more complicated than Musk’s assertion that they “do actually work well on snow & ice” — now’s as good of a time as any to become “the Tesla guy” in your neighborhood.

Main image courtesy of Tesla

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