Tesla on Thursday announced that the base Model 3, the $35,000 electric car that buyers have been waiting for since the mid-size model was announced in 2016, is now on sale. Tesla revealed the Model 3 Standard Range has an electric driving range of 220 miles, can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, and tops out at 130 mph. With a mandatory $1,200 destination charge, the price is actually $36,200.
The company also introduced the Model 3 Standard Range Plus, with slightly better figures across the board. It can drive for 240 miles without a charge, hit 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, and reach a 140 mph top speed. Tesla boasts that buyers get nine percent more range for six percent more money, or $37,000. They also get more power and an upgraded interior. In fact, CEO Elon Musk said the interior is nicer than intended with lots of wrapped parts.
The base model will come with a tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection; heated, auto-dimming and power-folding side mirrors, and offer multiple driver profiles through the center screen. It will also have forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, side-collision warnings, and blind-spot monitors.
The Silicon Valley electric car maker noted that it is moving sales worldwide to online only to make the lower prices financially viable. Tesla claims this move and other efficiencies will allow to lower prices by 6 percent on average and allow the $35,000 base price. The company also claimed that buyers will be able to order a Tesla on their phones in about a minute, and they will be able to return their cars within seven days or 1,000 miles. The change means several Tesla stores will close and the company will cut jobs.
Tesla is increasing its investment in service as well. The goal is the service cars the same day, if not the same hour, and most service will be done with the company coming to the customer. Musk said that Tesla will hire technicians accordingly.
The company announced a number of firmware updates for new and existing owners. These updates will up the top speed of the Model 3 Performance to 162 mph, increase the range of the Long Range Rear-Wheel Drive Model 3 to 325 miles, and add about five percent peak power to all Model 3s.
Finally, Tesla announced two Autopilot self-driving packages for the Model S, Model X, and Model 3. For $3,000 or $4,000 as a retrofit, the first Autopilot package includes the ability to steer itself and cruise control that is aware of its surrounds. For $5,000 or $7,000 after delivery, Autopilot will include what Tesla calls full self-driving capability. In addition to the above, it has summon, automatic parking, and navigation functions.Tesla notes that the driver must still supervise the operation of the car. However, the company said other features for this system are coming later this year, and full self-driving capability without driver oversight will be available when regulations allow.