- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- Tesla has begun delivering the $35,000, base-price version of its Model 3 sedan, three customers have told Business Insider.
- The beginning of standard-range Model 3 deliveries is a landmark for Tesla, but the company has been unusually quiet about it.
- The company has referred to the milestone only near the bottom of an April 11 blog post about an update to its product offerings.
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Tesla has begun delivering the $35,000, base-price version of its Model 3 sedan, three customers have told Business Insider. Electrek first reported on April 15 that Tesla had started delivering the $35,000 Model 3, known as the standard-range trim.
The beginning of standard-range Model 3 deliveries is a landmark for Tesla, but the electric-car maker has been unusually quiet about it. While Tesla posted on its website and social-media accounts when it began allowing customers to order the standard-range trim in February, the company has mentioned the beginning of deliveries only near the bottom of an April 11 blog post about an update to its product offerings.
Tesla’s low-key approach to the milestone is surprising, as CEO Elon Musk in a 2006 blog post described one of the company’s primary, long-term goals as using the proceeds from high-end electric cars to fund the development of affordable models. Musk would later frame the Model 3 as the fulfillment of that goal and a turning point for Tesla from a luxury automaker to a mass-market one. The hundreds of thousands of preorders Tesla received for the Model 3 suggested demand for electric vehicles extended beyond early adopters willing to pay luxury prices.
Tesla began delivering high-end versions of the Model 3 in July 2017 but struggled to hit production targets for the next year amid excessive automation at its Fremont, California, assembly plant. As the company smoothed out its production process, Musk said it needed more time to make the standard-range Model 3 profitably.
In February, the company began allowing customers to order the standard-range Model 3, but less than two months later it removed the standard-range trim from its online-order page, saying customers could order it only by phone or in one of the company’s stores.
Tesla said demand for the standard-range trim was much lower than that for the standard-range-plus trim, which starts at $39,500, and said removing the standard-range trim from the online menu would increase efficiency and lower costs. The company also said standard-range customers would receive standard-range-plus Model 3s with software that would reduce their range and restrict some capabilities.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its communication strategy for the beginning of standard-range Model 3 deliveries.
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