The $35,000 Tesla Model 3 has been available for purchase since March, but with a few catches. The biggest catch of all has been the fact that it was a lie and non-existent. Tesla revealed the Standard Range Model 3 alongside a Standard Range Plus. At just ~$4,000 more, it came with heaps of upgrades. Tesla separated the two as follows:
The Standard Range starts at $35,000 (now $35,400) has a range of 220 miles, 0-60 mph time of 5.6 sec., and a top speed of 130 mph. It comes with just a standard interior which includes:
- Manual seat and steering adjustment
- Cloth seats and base trim
- Basic audio
- Standard maps and navigation
- Center console with storage and 4 USB ports
The Standard Range Plus starts at $39,500 (now $39,900), a range of 240 miles, 0-60 mph in 5.3 sec., and a top speed of 140 mph. It comes with a partial premium interior which is listed as:
- 12-way power adjustable heated front seats
- Premium seat material and trim
- Upgraded audio – immersive sound
- Standard maps & navigation
- LED fog lamps
- Center console with storage, 4 USB ports and docking for 2 smartphones
Both versions of the Standard Range Model 3 will include the following interior options:
- Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
- Auto dimming, power folding, heated side mirrors
- Music and media over Bluetooth ®
- Custom driver profiles
The base model would come with cloth interior, manual seats, basic audio, and software limited range. As Tesla started to fulfill orders for the Standard Range, new owners started to notice something pretty important. They were given Standard Range Plus vehicles at no extra charge. There was not a single feature missing. For the same $35,000 price tag you received premium interior, power seating, LED fog lamps, 240 mile range, and every other feature that came along with the Standard Range Plus.
Some who purchased the ~$4,000 upgrade felt a bit deceived since they effectively paid a premium for nothing. Tesla began to inform Standard Range buyers that their vehicles would eventually be software limited, effectively disabling certain features they did not pay for and reducing the range to the originally agreed upon 220 miles.
Months went by and we heard nothing from Tesla. The $35,000 Standard Range Model 3 was eventually removed from Tesla’s site and now is currently only available in store or over the phone. Tesla was never able to fulfill their promise of a Model 3 with cloth material and manual adjustable seats. In hindsight, it made since as the production costs for new parts and assembly adjustment would have been outrages. In the auto industry, a lot of basic features actually end up costing more than premium ones from a manufacturing standpoint.
Now, almost 3 months after owners began to take delivery, Tesla is finally separating the Standard Range and Standard Range Plus. @marc_benton, an avid Tesla enthusiast, was one of the first to spot one in the wild. A Standard Range Model 3 owned by @JohnBRougeux could be one of the first of its kind. This vehicle was purchased as a Standard Range but was delivered as a Standard Range Plus. After a service visit, the owner of this vehicle realized his car was downgraded and now missing software features.
This change came as no surprise and the ~$4,000 price gap is finally starting to show. For now, it looks like the only thing being downgraded is the range, from 240 to 220 miles. Software features such as fog lights, immersive sound, and heated seats could all go away soon for Standard Range owners but we are highly doubtful Tesla would take things like your premium interior and automatic seats back.