With Lower Priced and Less S and X, Tesla Revamps Model Range Structure and Readies for Base Model 3 Production
It will now cost nearly $140,000 to buy the highest performance Tesla as the young but storied electric car company lowered prices and cut production on its cheaper version legacy models S and X, but made it even more expensive at the high end with a $20,000 premium to buy a performance model with a separately sold “Ludicrous” upgrade performance package. As Tesla Corporation ramps up to sell its cheapest version mass market model, it revamped its entire model range by eliminating energy capacity number nomenclature for battery pack size. No more “75D” or “100D,” etc. to denote power or battery size. Instead it will follow the Model 3 example to offer all cars in three flavors: “Base,” “Extended Range,” and “Performance.” In trying to save money to ramp up production of Base Model 3, it will now offer one size 100 kW battery pack for all cars. Since it’s now cheaper to make these batteries, what the car maker will now do is software-limit the performance of the batteries relative to the version the customer paid for. Tesla also taken other steps to get ready to sell the Base Model 3 it had been hoping to mass market at a price point of $35,000 USD:
- The entire Tesla lineup will now have three versions for each model from entry to the top of the line: Base, Extended Range, and Performance.
- All will use a 100kW battery pack to save, time, confusion, and money.
- They stopped making cheaper versions of S and X with the 75 kW battery pack.
- Lowest priced Model S will come in at a range and price point ready to compete against Porsche Taycan with 310 miles of range and MRP $85,000 USD.
- Lowest priced Model X will have 270 miles of range and MRP $88,000.
- Extended range on the Model S costs an extra $8,000 but you’re only getting 25 miles extra range. But you can upgrade at any time with an OTA update.
- Tesla is doing all this so that it can enable production of its $35,000 base Model 3.
- On January 18 Tesla said it will lay off 7% of its workforce, a second restructuring in seven months. This is supposedly being done to streamline to get costs within Base Model 3 territory.
The Specifics Using Model S
All of this sounds confusing until you sit and read it over slowly to get the grasp. Let’s use the new Model S pricing structure as an example to see how easy but more expensive getting a top of the line model becomes. Entry level model is now $85,000. Since the packs are much cheaper to make now, all the cars will come with 100kW batteries. Anytime down the road you want to extend the range especially as the car gets older, you can get an over the air (OTA) upgrade of about $8,000 for now, and get about 25 miles or so of extra range. This is how Tesla used to do this before and is going back to doing it this way again by unlocking battery performance. This comes with RWD or AWD options. When unlocked, the car becomes “Extended Range,” no longer “Base.”
Add a motor, unlock the pack, pay another $19,000 and you now have the Model S “Performance” model, with the extended range capacity, the extra motor, and the extra horsepower and torque. For an additional 20 grand you get supercar performance with “Ludicrous Mode.” This all comes in at about $132,000 for S and about $137,000 for X. This should exclude extra charges like shipping, fees, taxes, etc.
What this All Means:
Model Y is coming very soon, and with Tesla wanting to sell a base version of its smallest vehicles at a price point of $35,000, simplifying assembly and pricing of its legacy 12 year old models will enable all this to happen. Cutting back production to make way for other models probably wouldn’t hurt either, as Model U follows quite shortly after Y, Semi scheduled for production this year, and we all wait for the next Tesla Super car the super halo, Roadster II.
Production at Fremont is at capacity as CEO Elon Musk last year said according to the Drive, the plant is “jammed to the gills,” with an added tent mind you, so it looks like Model Y for now will be made in China, and unless Tesla can find capacity domestically, Model U might be assembled in China as well.
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Al Castro is a security expert and a retired LEO who is a staff and opinion piece writer on electric and autonomous vehicles for Torque News.
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