The long-awaited base version of the Tesla Model 3 was announced today, complete with the $35,000 asking price originally promised by Elon Musk when the car was first mentioned way back in 2016.
The question is, however, how much do you actually get in a $35,000 Model 3? Well, you still don't get any buttons or instruments or any interior hardware, really, beyond the 15-inch central touchscreen that remains standard. Tesla did not provide a comprehensive list of standard equipment, but does note that the base model, dubbed Standard Range with Standard Interior, includes 18-inch wheels, a tinted glass roof, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, manual-adjustable front seats, cloth upholstery, "base" interior trim, "basic" audio, "standard maps and navigation," Bluetooth, custom driver profiles, and a center console with storage and four USB ports. We're assuming it doesn't have crank windows. The electric range is 220 miles, and the estimated 0-to-60 mph time is 5.6 seconds.
Note that black is the only color if you want it to cost $35,000. As in every Model 3, any exterior paint besides black will set you back an extra $1,500 (silver or blue metallic), $2,000 (pearl white) or $2,500 (red multi-coat).
The Standard Interior
For an extra $2,000, you can step up to the Standard Range Plus model. That adds an extra 20 miles of range and shaves the 0-to-60 time down to 5.3 seconds. Its Partial Premium Interior adds heated 12-way power front seats, a "premium" seat material and interior trim, upgraded audio with "immersive sound," and docking for two smartphones, which we assume is wireless charging. There are also LED fog lamps.
From there, you get the Mid Range model that starts at $40,000 before rebates. Its range increases to 264 miles, its 0-60 decreases by 0.1 second, and its Premium Interior adds heated rear seats, in-car internet steaming music and media, an internet browser, satellite view navigation, live traffic reporting, and a 14-speaker further audio system upgrade that includes a subwoofer.
The Long Range model ($43,000) lives up to its name with 325 miles along with a 5-second 0-60 time.
The Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Long Range model ($47,000) drops to 310 miles, but the 0-60 time also drops to 4.5 seconds (the AWD system provides extra grip at launch). Both have the Premium Interior.
The Dual Motor Performance model ($58,000) has the same range, but the 0-60 plummets to a nuts 3.2 seconds. It includes 20-inch wheels, a lowered suspension, performance brakes, an increased top speed (155 mph versus 145), a carbon fiber spoiler and a track mode.
Options include 19-inch wheels on all trim levels, plus a choice of black or white interior colors in all but the base trim. And then there's Autopilot, which will set you back $3,000 if you order the car with it, or $4,000 after delivery. Its adaptive cruise control and steering control systems allow the car to effectively drive for itself from on-ramp to off-ramp, including making lane changes signaled by the driver. Also included are an automated parking system and a "summon" feature that allows the Model 3 to leave its parking space and come find you. Michael Keaton's Batmobile did that, but there may still be some government hurdles with that feature. Later this year, Teslas says Autopilot will be able to recognize and respond to traffic lights and stop signs, thereby allowing some amount of automatic driving on city streets. This version of Autopilot would cost you $5,000.