Reports have emerged suggesting that Tesla has halted the sale of the $35,000 Model 3 Standard Range, an off-menu variant of its midsize sedan. The 220-mile Model 3 has become reportedly unavailable for new orders as the electric car maker focuses on ramping the production and deliveries of the 2021 Model 3, which includes “refresh” elements such as a new center console and new headlights.
Citing sources familiar with the update, EV blog Electrek noted that Tesla staff have been informed that they were no longer allowed to “downgrade” new orders for the Model 3 Standard Range Plus to the $35,000 Standard Range version, at least for now. Tesla employees will still be able to sell software-limited Model 3 Standard Range Plus units, but only for inventory vehicles that were produced prior to the rollout of the “refresh” cars.
The 2021 Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which costs $37,990 and features 263 miles of range, is reportedly the version of the all-electric sedan that could not be downgraded into the $35,000, 220-mile Standard Range variant.
While the loss of the $35,0000 Model 3 even from Tesla’s off-menu offerings is unfortunate, the update does make sense considering the company’s current push to deliver over 180,000 vehicles this fourth quarter. Tesla has opted to maintain its guidance of delivering half a million cars in 2020 despite the pandemic, and to accomplish this, the company has to ensure that it could simplify its vehicle production lineup as much as necessary.
A variant like the $35,000 Model 3 Standard Range, which requires a Standard Range Plus vehicle to be software limited, may simply end up putting unnecessary weight on the company’s Q4 production and delivery initiatives. The Standard Range Model 3, after all, requires a number of extra steps in the typically seamless Tesla ordering process, with customers ordering a Standard Range Plus variant, then requesting to have the vehicle downgraded later.
It remains to be seen if the Model 3 Standard Range will be returned to Tesla’s available vehicles, off-menu or otherwise. However, there seems to be a pretty good chance that Tesla will continue to bring down the price of the Model 3 further in the future, perhaps even reaching a point where the Standard Range Plus becomes the $35,000 version. Tesla’s lineup of vehicles, such as the Model S and the Model X, as well as the Model 3 Performance, have seen notable price reductions over the years, after all. And with more optimizations and cost reductions, Tesla’s $35,000 Model 3 may return soon enough, perhaps even better than before.