Tesla retail image by John Goreham
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Cheapest Tesla Model 3 Now Tops $45K With Just One Catch

Tesla’s prices have been rising rapidly. We configured the least expensive Tesla Model 3 possible and then checked our work with Tesla’s help. Here is how to buy the cheapest new Model 3 Tesla sells today.
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If you are searching for the lowest cost Tesla Model 3 you can buy today, we can help. We will cut to the end and tell you that the price ends up being $45,190 including Tesla’s carefully hidden destination & doc fee. That is the amount you will pay to Tesla if you order a vehicle from the company. Of course, it does not include your local area taxes or registration fees. Those have nothing to do with Tesla, but in many states, you pay them at the time of purchase and the retailer (Tesla) will collect them.

Like every vehicle retailer, Tesla has been raising prices on its products rapidly over the past year. We’ve recently noticed two Tesla price increases in the past few months alone. Like all vehicle retailers, Tesla is taking advantage of the overall vehicle shortage, and is also bumping up its prices now in advance of a possible federal tax incentive, should congress finally update the corporate welfare and union payoff bill that has been stalled for so long.

Related Story: Tesla Increases Model S, 3, X, Y Prices Once Again, This Time By As Much As $5000

How To Configure the Cheapest Tesla Model 3
To get this price, you need to use Tesla’s online ordering tool. When you do, be certain that you opt for the standard wheels. If you don’t make the change to the configurator, you will get the larger, lower-profile wheel and tire set which adds $1,500 more to the cost, bringing the total to $46,690.

Keep in mind that your $45,190 Model 3 will be a rear-wheel drive Standard Range Plus, often abbreviated by fans to SR+. It will be white. Any other paint color will cost you $1,000 to $2,000 more money. The interior will be white unless you add $1,000 for a black interior. At this price, Full Self Driving is not included. FSD adds $10K more to the cost of a Model 3 (as of the publication of this story).

Related Story: Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus vs. Kia Niro BEV – Surprising Similarities & Stark Contrasts

What About the Imaginary Standard Range Model 3?
We spoke to Tesla’s New York customer service center. Annie, who helped us, made clear that the "bait-and-switch-special” Standard Range Model 3 once offered through a double-secret program only after an in-person retail location visit, is no longer offered. When the SR was supposedly available we did visit the local Dedham Massachusetts retail location and did ask if we could order one. We were told by Tesla’s salesperson that the New England delivery location “Had never seen a Standard Range Model 3.” As far as we know it was a very limited production run. The cynical side of us wonders if perhaps Tesla created it only to promote the Model 3 with a low entry price to lure buyers into a transaction for a higher-specification model.

Related Story: Why One Urban EV Shopper Chose the Kia Niro Instead of the Tesla Model 3

What About Local Tesla Model 3 Inventory?
When we spoke to Annie at Tesla, she told us there was only one trim of the Tesla Model 3 available in all of the Northeastern U.S. There were quantity two of them (identical cars), and she suggested that if I hung up, they would likely be sold even before she could send me a link showing the vehicle details. Two cars in stock in one of the planet’s largest vehicle regions. She also added that there were four Tesla’s in total available.

The one Tesla Model 3 that I could have bought (if I acted fast!) was a $71,190 Model 3 Long Range All-Wheel Drive Performance Model according to Annie. It was located in Metro Boston. Had I been located outside of Metro Boston, she advised there would be a $500 transport fee added by Tesla to that price. Apparently, the $1,200 delivery fee does not include delivery. Are you surprised?

The Catch - How Long To Get a Model 3 SR+ If Ordered Today?
According to Tesla’s online ordering site, a Model 3 SR+ ordered today will take approximately eight months for delivery. Ahead of you in the Model 3 production schedule is Hertz who just placed an order for 100,000 Model 3 cars. So, we assume any production delays will not be borne by that important customer. Buying a used Model 3 is an option if you can find one for sale, but inventory is extremely tight.

Tesla Model 3 SR+ Fast Facts:
The Tesla Model 3 is a battery-electric vehicle with a range of 262 miles. It has an approximate 0-60 MPH time of 5.3 seconds. Its annual energy cost estimate by the EPA is $450. The Model 3 earns the Recommended stamp from Consumer Reports and the Model 3 has earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus designation.

Tesla retail image by John Goreham - Re-use with author's permission only.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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