Tesla Finally Releases Its 'Affordable' Model 3

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CC BY-SA 2.0. Mariordo59

It was a while coming, but this could be a pretty big deal for your average buyer.

Ever since Tesla started talking about the Model 3, electric car nerds (and just about everyone else too) has been talking about its supposed "affordability". And yet, when it came on the market, it was only available in longer-range, more premium-configurations that were cheaper than the Model S or Model X, but would still set you back close to $50,000.

Now, however, the more affordable version has arrived. And I'd be willing to bet it's going to be pretty popular.

According to Electrek, the base model will start at $35,000 with 130 mph top speed and 220 miles of range. It's worth noting that while the range and speed look excellent compared to, say, competitors like the Nissan Leaf 2.0, the standard range model does lack some niceties such as power seats. For about $2,000 extra, however, you can get a battery pack capable of 240 miles of range and slightly higher performance (as if you need to drive faster than 130mph!), and that version comes with a "Partial Premium Interior" that includes leather seats.

And while the early roll-out of the original Model 3 configurations was plagued by delays, Tesla is promising 2 to 4 weeks before deliveries start on this new model. And when has Tesla ever, ever fallen short of its promises? It will be interesting to see how this changes the electric car market—and the car market in general. I'm certainly seeing a lot more Model 3s on the roads around me, and I know of a whole lot of people who have been waiting for this more affordable version before they take the plunge.

I personally suspect that the Standard Range Model 3 won't just result in increased sales by itself, it will also result in greater awareness of electric cars in general—and potentially an Osborne effect of delayed car sales as people for whom the Model 3 isn't right wait for a plug-in that actually does suit their needs.