Tesla finally launches its 'base spec' Model 3

01 March 2019 - 19:20 By afp.com
Tesla's new entry-level Model 3 will retail for $35,000
Tesla's new entry-level Model 3 will retail for $35,000
Image: Supplied

Tesla said Thursday its Model 3 – heralded as an electric car for the masses – is available for order online only, at a price of $35,000 (roughly R500,000) with delivery promised within a month.

The announcement fulfills a vision of Tesla founder and chief Elon Musk, who has touted a more affordable electric car as part of his vision of weaning drivers from gasoline-powered vehicles.

The Model 3 was to be priced at $35,000 (roughly R500,000) when Tesla first began taking orders in 2016, but the cheapest version before today was about $10,000 (R142 000) more expensive despite price cuts that followed reductions in the US federal tax credit for vehicles not burning fossil fuels.

Musk described the Model 3 early on as "the final step in the master plan: a mass market, affordable car."

Not long after Tesla was founded in 2003, Musk said the plan was to use money from high-end electric vehicles to create more affordable offerings to make the technology the new automotive norm.

As it launched its least expensive Tesla, the company said it would sell only via the internet.

"To achieve these prices while remaining financially sustainable, Tesla is shifting sales worldwide to online only," Tesla said in a statement.

The "standard" Model 3 has a smaller range before recharging, of 350 kilometers.

Its specifications include a top speed of 208km/h and 0-100km/h acceleration of 5.6 seconds.

"It is built to achieve the same perfect 5-star safety rating as the longer-ranged version," Tesla said.

Tesla also introduced a Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which offers 386km of range, a more powerful drivetrain and premium interior features at a price of $37,000 (roughly R525 000).