The EV market is changing rapidly. Top-selling models like the Chevy Volt and Prius Prime have been overtaken by the new Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), and the Tesla Model 3 luxury battery electric vehicle (BEV) is now selling at mainstream vehicle levels. We thought we would compare the two new top-sellers to give green vehicle shoppers an idea of exactly what the prices are for the Tesla Model 3 and Honda Clarity PHEV.
We have conducted our price analysis in New England, specifically Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Both are EV-targeted states for sales and both have state governments that participate in green vehicle initiatives. However, neither state offers any rebate on the Clarity PHEV. The Tesla Model 3, by contrast, enjoys a $1,500 state rebate in Massachusetts, so we will include that in its price breakdown.
The Honda Clarity Base has an after-incentives price to a Massachusetts buyer of $21,295. That price includes all documentation and delivery fees. That price does require the buyer finance through Honda as the image shows. We contacted the dealer and were quoted an after-incentive price of $24,290 for the fully-loaded Touring trim. Another local dealer has the Base Clarity PHEV priced at $22,408 with no finance requirement. We also inquired about inventory and were told by the RI dealer that four Clarity PHEVs were available from stock for immediate delivery and "Pretty much any combination of colors and trims" is presently available with a 4 business day delivery.
The Tesla Model 3 Mid-Range, Rear-Wheel Drive is presently the least expensive Model 3 sold. This is the one that Elon Musk recently fibbed to the public about costing "$35K." His imaginary price includes a discount for "fuel savings." Of course, there is no meaningful "fuel savings" if one is shopping the Model 3 against any other green vehicle. Tesla apparently feels that only with embellishment is the Model 3 a good value. In any case, the Model 3 is easy to price out since Tesla prohibits discounting.
Here is the Model 3 math:
Model 3 Mid-Range, RWD In Black = $42,900
Mandatory Delivery Fee = $1,200
Price before incentives is $44,100 (not $35K)
Federal Tax Credit = $-3,750 (Until July1st, after which it drops to $1,875)
State of Mass Rebate = $-1,500
Current Model 3 cost after incentives = $38,850
The black Model 3 priced above has no Autopilot, no free Supercharger use included and has no options. Is this really a true Tesla? Your opinion is all that matters with regard to that question. If you want a silver Model 3 be sure to add $1,500. If you want white add $2,000, and for red add $2,500.
Our comparison shows that a base Honda Clarity PHEV has a price of about half the price of a base Tesla Model 3 depending on the color of the Model 3. A comparison of higher trims is difficult since the two vehicles diverge so much as the Model 3 is optioned out. Please keep in mind we are not claiming these two vehicles are "equal" in any way. The Honda Clarity PHEV is an Affordable EV and the Telsla Model 3 is a Premium or Luxury model. Just for the sake of comparison, a fully-loaded Model 3 in red with a white interior and with Autopilot has a before-incentives price of $ 70,600 and an after incentives price of $65,350. A fully-loaded Honda Clarity PHEV has a post-incentive price of $24,290 according to dealers we spoke to with inventory for sale today.
Top of page image by John Goreham - Use with permission only
Clarity price chart courtesy of Mass Drive Green website. Please note that the prices change over time.
Fuel economy comparison courtesy of FuelEconomy.gov