The decision to drop the cheapest Model S comes at an interesting time for Tesla. Lucid Motors, one of the (many) upstarts trying to steal Elon Musk's crown, revealed the cheapest Air would undercut the Model S by US$8,000 in spite of its superior range and performance. Losing the 60 kWh battery option makes that already-significant price gap into a $17,800 gulf.
Just nine months ago, the brand said demand for a cheaper gateway to Model S ownership had forced its hand but now, just nine months down the road, we're being told buyers didn't take to the car. The 60 kWh car shared its battery with the 75 kWh model, with the last 15 kWh simply blocked out by a few lines of code. Apparently, those who only stumped for the entry-level model often ended up paying to unlock the full 75 kWh capacity of the battery later on.
Still, what does Tesla have to gain by making the Model S less attainable? Given the entry-level Model 3 is due to arrive later this year with a $35,000 price sticker, the decision might have been made to give the more expensive, luxurious Model S and X some space at the top of the range. Alternatively, Tesla might think its buyers will now be willing to bite the bullet and stump up the extra cash for the 75 kWh model.
Whatever the reasoning, the 60 kWh Model S will be removed from order forms on April 17 this year. For anyone keen to get their hands on one, the time is now.
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