So what does $35,000 get you? For starters, the Model 3 Standard Range offers a stated 220 miles of driving range on a charge. It does 0-60 in a brisk 5.6 seconds, with a top speed of 130 miles per hour.
Additionally, for an extra $2,000, Tesla offers the Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which offers 240 miles of range, a 0-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds and a top speed of 140 mph. The Plus version also has an upgraded interior.
For a while now, Tesla has been working to cut costs wherever it could in order to offer the $35,000 Model 3 without losing money on it. Tesla says it is offering this version earlier than it had anticipated because it is making changes to the way it sells its cars, including shifting all sales online and closing most of the retail locations it has worked so hard to build up over the years.
Tesla has not specified exactly how many stores it's closing, but they'll remain only in some select areas. Tesla says it's going to be "winding down many of our stores, with a small number of stores in high-traffic locations remaining as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centers." There are over 100 galleries/stores currently operating in the U.S.
Worried about buying a car online and then hating it, and being stuck absorbing the resulting depreciation? Tesla has a solution. Tesla says, "You can now return a car within 7 days or 1,000 miles for a full refund. Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free. With the highest consumer satisfaction score of any car on the road, we are confident you will want to keep your Model 3."
Tesla also announced it will be investing more in its service centers in the future, a sore point with owners having reported longer than average wait times for repairs on many occasions. The goal will be to offer "same-day, if not same-hour service." A lofty goal for a company selling cars in much higher numbers than ever before, because of the Model 3.
Finally, current Model 3 owners get a treat today, too, in the form of firmware updates.The Long Range Rear-Wheel Drive Model 3 gets its range boosted to 325 miles. The Model 3 Performance now has a top speed of 162 miles per hour. All Model 3 vehicles will get an increase in power of about 5 percent.
Tesla shut down all online orders in anticipation of its announcement today. But the ordering system is back online, with the Standard Range available. It says the estimated wait time is two to four weeks.
Reporting by John Beltz Snyder and Zac Palmer.