Tesla unveiled the Model 3 as an awesome mass-market vehicle in 2016. A promised base price of $35,000 precipitated an initial flood of reservations. Tesla is moving closer toward achieving it. The company cut the Model 3 base price by $1100 to $42,900, after a $2000 cut in January. That price will get you a black, rear-wheel drive Model 3 with the lower 264-mile battery range.
Elon Musk and Tesla’s purchasing website claim the $35,000 target has already been met when you include tax credits and fuel savings, which is a bit of a stretch. The federal credit for Tesla has fallen to $3,750 and expires completely at the end of the year.
Tesla getting the Model 3 price down is important, not just to live up to its initial claim. While the Model 3 has received ebullient reviews, from those who have not had quality control issues, it’s still expensive. There’s room for the rest of the market to undercut it, especially with Tesla’s tax credits expiring.
The Hyundai Kona EV and Kia Niro EV will likely have base prices below $30,000 with full tax credits factored in. Volkswagen is planning for multiple-front domination of the affordable EV market. The luxury EV niche Tesla created for itself is also about to get much more crowded.
Competitors won’t catch out Tesla on aesthetics or sub-4.0-second 0-60mph times at a lower price point. But potentially many more customers will sacrifice both to pay less.