After years of promises and setbacks, Tesla appears to finally be delivering on its long-awaited $35,000 mass market sedan, with the Palo Alto automaker today putting its Model 3 up for sale at its lowest price point yet.
Up until today, a mid-range version covering 264 miles (424 km) on each charge was the cheapest Model 3 customers could get their hands on, with a sticker price of $42,900.
To meet the magical $35,000 mark, Tesla has today introduced a Standard Range model, which will cover 220 miles (354 km) on each charge. This comes with a top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h) and 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) time of 5.6 seconds.
Tesla is also introducing a Standard Range Plus Model 3, which boosts range to 240 miles (386 km), top speed to 140 mph (225 km/h) and the 0-60 mph time to 5.3 seconds. This version comes at a $37,000 price point, which Tesla says will include "most premium interior features."
Though Tesla announced the Model 3 years ago and the $35,000 price was always the goal, Elon Musk has said since that shipping cheaper versions with lower profit margins too early would cause "Tesla to lose money and die." To that end, up until now it has only shipped higher-end versions with extra trimmings.
Whether moving on the $35,000 Model 3 now causes Tesla to lose money and die remains to be seen, but it has come at an immediate cost to its physical presence. As part of today's announcement, the company also revealed it will be be shifting all sales online and therefore shutting down the majority of its storefronts to remain "financially sustainable."
In an effort to compensate for this, the company is introducing a new return policy whereby customers will be able to bring back their cars for a full refund within seven days or 1,000 mi of driving (1,600 km).
"Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free," reads a Tesla blog post detailing the announcement. "With the highest consumer satisfaction score of any car on the road, we are confident you will want to keep your Model 3."
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