Tesla's new $35K Model 3 blows Leaf (and Bolt) away in price, range, and safety, so will sub-$40K Model Y Crossover SUV

Posted by Paul Braren on Mar 3 2019 (updated on Mar 16 2019) in
  • Tesla
  • New-Tesla-Referral-Program-PAUL68544
    Tesla's new referral program announced Mar 21 2019.

    ICE (Internal Combustion Engines) run on gas, and the maximum efficiency of converting that energy to motion is about 25-50%. For EVs (Electric vehicles), it's about 80-90%. So while it's true that your "tank" of electrons may come from burning something somewhere else, even if it’s coal, even when you account for your EV's manufacturing process and materials, you're still lowering your carbon footprint. If you've been hankering for more affordable EV that also costs less to operate, everything just changed on Feb 28 2019 with Tesla's announcement about the car that has piqued the interest of more people around the world than any car in history:

    • $35,000 Tesla Model 3 Available Now
      The Tesla Team February 28, 2019

      We are incredibly excited to announce that the standard Model 3, with 220 miles of range, a top speed of 130 mph and 0-60 mph acceleration of 5.6 seconds is now available at $35,000! Although lower in cost, it is built to achieve the same perfect 5-star safety rating as the longer-ranged version, which has the lowest probability of injury of any car ever tested by the U.S. Government.


    If you're as new to Tesla as I just was in December of 2018, there's a lot that has happened lately. Recent developments in the world of EVs (Electric Vehicles) fundamentally change the competitive landscape, here's just a sampler:

    Thumbnail of screenshot from Clean Technica article, click to view source.

    Let's focus on this this last bullet in this quick comparison to the EV competitors in this price range that have 200 or more miles of range. That disqualifies the 124 mile range Hyundai IONIQ Electric.


    Chevy Bolt EV.

    • Tesla Model 3 Standard Range
      • $35,000 (without Autopilot).
      • 220 miles of range
      • 0-60 mph in 5.6 sec.
      • Estimating a Supercharge will take under 2 hours, and overnight at home. See also long range zero to 100% charging video here.
    • Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus
      • $37,000 (without Autopilot)
      • 240 miles of range
      • 0-60 mph in 5.3 sec.
      • Estimating a Supercharge will take under 2 hours, and overnight at home. See also long range zero to 100% charging video here.
      • From Tesla's blog post referring to this $37,000 version:

        For 6% more money, you get 9% more range, more power, and an upgraded interior.

    • Tesla Model Y Standard Range
      • $39,000 (without Autopilot, Spring 2021).
      • 230 miles of range
      • 0-60 mph in 5.9 sec.
      • Estimating a Supercharge will take under 2 hours, and overnight at home. See also long range zero to 100% charging video here.
    • Tesla Model Y Long Range
      • $47,000 (without Autopilot, Fall 2020)
      • 300 miles of range
      • 0-60 mph in 5.5 sec.
      • Estimating a Supercharge will take under 2 hours, and overnight at home. See also long range zero to 100% charging video here.
      • From Tesla's blog post referring to this $37,000 version:

        For 20% more money, you get 30% more range.

    Chevrolet is said to be losing $7,400 on every Bolt EV sold, and they haven't changed it in any substantial way in over 4 years, and might not plan to make the next-gen until 2025. While Chevy may have met their ZEV mandate, it really doesn't seem they're committed to staying in the game.

    Unlike super car buyers who pay for the exclusivity, I believe most Tesla owners are more than happy to see other smiling Tesla drivers out there. Why? Over time, we know it represents less carbon emissions and more safety over time, which is good for everybody. We're more than happy to see the world finally moving toward more sustainable energy.


    During my past 9 weeks of 5,000 miles of Model 3 driving, I've stopped at 14 different Superchargers in New England, NJ, and PA, and I've never found all Supercharger spots to be full. This is good! With the huge sales of Tesla's lately, I do hope that the upcoming Tesla announcement of Supercharger V3 includes more charging locations and stations. I hope Tesla will be able to build out enough chargers to handle peak demands, and I'm confident partnerships with gas station companies like Sheetz in PA are a way to build out quickly, complete with very convenient access to food and facilities, 24x7.

    But it did come at the cost of some interior luxury features, and at the cost of shutting down many Tesla Dealerships to make this price point possible, supposedly.


    How about Toyota (Camry), BMW, Audi, and Mercedes?


    Yes, those are gasoline powered vehicles, but the comparison is still interesting, have a listen to Tesla Daily podcast, at this spot:

    But the fact that you can even get a Camry that costs more than a Tesla, that's a milestone in and of itself...by the way, the base prices for the BMW 3 series, the Audi A4, and the Mercedes C class? $40,250 for the 3 Series, $37,400 for the A4, and $41,400 for the C class. The base Model 3...is under all 3 of those vehicles before considering any electric vehicle tax credits and before considering any cost savings from fuel. This is so awesome!
    Tesla as fundamentally changed the game for ever and there is no going back.

    Bottom Line


    Tesla is years ahead of all competitors, and widely available now too. Volvo just-announced Polestar 2 may get to $40,000. They'll be new EVs from familiar names later this year too. But so far, it seems their price and/or efficiency just aren't there yet, nor is a charging network ready to make longer road-trips viable. Case and point? I just drove my Model 3 to Pittsburgh and back this weekend, a thousand miles in all. Supercharging every 3-4 hours in frigid winter wasn't an issue at all, we needed food breaks anyway. I feel great, even after all those miles. It was far and away the cheapest way for my wife and I to get to my family there, making the lowest carbon footprint among any mode of transport.

    Tesla's mission was clear even back in 2003, see today's About Tesla page:

    Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

    By the way, US Federal tax credits on the Model 3 are currently $3,750. So yeah, that's actually $31,250 for the starting price of a Tesla Model 3, plus state sales tax. Now start to look at your gas savings and TCO (total cost of ownership). Get it yet?

    Mar 06 2019 Update

    • Tesla Model 3 — As Cheap As A Toyota Or Honda But 3× Better
      Mar 06 2019 by Zachary Shahan

      Honestly, why in the world would anyone buy a BMW 3/4 Series, Toyota Camry, or Honda Accord?

      We’ve been waiting for so long for the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 that it almost seems unreal that it is now here, now available to order. I feel like I should pinch myself.

      But people are still buying non-Tesla cars for $30,000, $35,000, $40,000, $45,000, $50,000, etc. I think there are three things at play here. Starting first with an issue that won’t go away, we have to be clear: there will always be automotive diversity because people have different tastes as far as body style, interior design, vehicle class, and even the look of a logo.

    Teslanomics with Ben Sullins - Mar 06 2019 - Model Y vs Model 3 - Which Will You Choose?

    Mar 15 2019 Update

    Last night, the Model Y was unveiled by Elon Musk at the Tesla Design Studio in Los Angeles, CA.

    The Verge - Mar 14 2019 - Tesla Model Y event in 3 minutes

    It's largely what was expected, but amazingly, there were no leaks of the actual vehicle prior to this event. Model Y looks like a taller roof line on a Model 3, and it even uses the same dashboard, and the same comfortable front seats, but they're on risers. Having 76% of it’s parts from the Model 3's saves on cost, and helps ramp up production sooner. As Elon points out during the presentation, 11 years ago today, Tesla had just 1 vehicle made. Now, they've made 550,000, and 12 months from now, they'll likely have made over a million Teslas made. Tesla has successfully has pushed the industry's adoption of electric faster, which has been their stated goal all along.


    What wasn't expected on the Model Y was:

    1. 3rd row seating option (7 people total)
    2. an expansive glass roof that has no roll bar in the middle, shifting it to behind the 2nd row passenger seating, this wasn't possible in the Model 3, the bar would be hitting the rear passengers heads
    3. factory "chrome delete" look, with matte black instead of shiny chrome on all exterior trim

    See also Marques Brownlee's excellent synopsis and test drive footage.

    Marques Brownlee - Mar 15 2019 - Tesla Model Y Impressions!

    It's not really available in volume until late 2020, with the standard range (more affordable) variants in early 2021, but $2500 deposits are already being taken on the Tesla Model Y Order Page at tesla.com/y. Pricing appears near the bottom left, under "Before savings." As expected, Model Y models are about 10% more costly than the equivalent Model 3 models, with about 10% less range.

    The Verge - Mar 15 2019 - Tesla model Y first ride: 75% the model 3
    Tesla Full Length Video Presentation of the Model Y Unveiling.

    Mar 16 2019 Update

    Picture above the article updated to include image of Model Y, sized to approximate scale, with actual dimensions not yet known. Model Y also added to the price comparison table above.

    This is not a sponsored post. I do not own any stock in Tesla, nor do I receive any referral money from the sale of any Tesla vehicle. I'm simply an enthusiastic tech nerd who is currently experiencing some serious joy driving our family's new Model 3 Long Range All Wheel Drive, which is pretty evident here.

    See also at TinkerTry

    All Tesla related articles:




    See also

    • Tesla is unveiling Model Y on March 14

      Tesla is finally going to unveil Model Y, its upcoming all-electric crossover based on Model 3, on March 14 in Los Angeles. CEO Elon Musk confirmed the news today.
      Musk also made a few interesting comments ahead of the event.

      He confirmed that Tesla plans to also build Model Y at the factory along with Model 3, but he also announced that only the “affordable versions of Model 3 and Model Y” will be built at the factory.
      Mar 03 2019 by Fred Lambert at Electrek

    Given the popularity of the crossover SUV vehicles in America, I (and many others) predict that Model Y sales will eventually eclipse Model 3 sales.