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Tesla Opens The Model 3 Order Floodgates, Including AWD, Performance, & More

Tesla has opened the Model 3 order floodgates and added a number of new options, including a Performance version, all-wheel drive, and an exclusive white interior, among other things.

Tesla has opened the Model 3 order floodgates and added a number of new options, including a Performance version, all-wheel drive (AWD), and an exclusive white interior, among other things.

The Performance version of the Model 3 was initially quoted by CEO Elon Musk on Twitter as being $78,000, not including Autopilot or Full Self-Driving capability. That price has had a few thousand dollars slashed off the top, with the configuration now tipping the scales at “just” $67,000 with the exclusive white interior.

That’s an impressive reduction in price for a high-performance Model 3 that, after spending a day with the Long Range Model 3, scares the pants off of me. It’s fun to drive, but I think I’d just get myself into more trouble, whethers tickets or accidents.

Elon’s quote made it sound like the Performance Model 3 would be a single package, but in reality, it’s broken out into several new packages and options. First and foremost, Tesla rolled out AWD for the Model 3 for $4,000. That’s $1,000 less than what we were expecting based on previous tweets, and a great way to add some performance to the car without breaking the bank.

The Dual Motor, AWD option is required to upgrade to the Model 3 Performance Edition, which will set buyers back an extra $11,000. That’s $15,000 over the base offering, which kicks the acceleration up several notches and brings the 0–60 mph time down to a mind bending 3.5 seconds. Top speed also gets a boost up to a speed hardly anyone should ever achieve — 155 mph. The Performance Edition also comes with exclusive rear “Dual Motor” badging, with a red line under it to indicate that it is the Performance Edition.

The Performance Edition unlocks a few achievements in level 2 of the configurator for the exterior. A “Performance Upgrade” offers exclusive aesthetics that bring extra functionality as well, for an extra $5,000. That’s another $5,000 on top of the Performance package.

The 20″ Performance Wheels are a boost from the stock 18″ aero rims and push the envelope further than the 19″ Sport Rims upgrade that is still available as an option for non-performance vehicles.

The Performance Upgrade also includes a carbon fiber spoiler and aluminum alloy pedals.

The exterior package upgrade notes that it also offers an “Increased top speed from 145 mph to 155 mph,” but this is simply a restatement of what comes with the Performance Edition of the car, not with the Performance Upgrade itself. Tesla also rolled out a new paint option with the addition of Obsidian Black Metallic. This is an upgrade over the base black paint and will set buyers back $1,000.

Clicking through to the interior gets you to level 3, where Tesla has more surprises in store. Elon’s favorite interior color — white — is back … but only on the Performance Edition. It’s a $1,500 upgrade from the base black interior and was kept as an exclusive for the Performance Edition due to the initially limited supply. Elon shared a few weeks back that it would be made available on more builds as the supply opens up.

It’s worth noting here that all current configurations of the Model 3 come with the Premium interior package, which is a $5,000 upgrade by itself. As it is a default option, it’s not even displayed in the interior, but it will eventually be just an option that folks can opt-into … or not.

The interior page also has a little gem tucked into it that speaks to a change with regards to Tesla’s data plans. “All orders placed before July 1 will receive Premium Connectivity with satellite maps with live traffic visualization, in-car streaming media and over-the-air updates via Wi-Fi & cellular.” This little update speaks to a change in how Tesla handles data in its vehicles.

For all current and previous Tesla vehicles, data has been free. All data, any data, whether it’s map data, traffic data, or the unlimited internet radio streaming — it was all free. Moving forward, Tesla is changing its stance on data, segmenting out data into Basic and Premium Connectivity packages.

Basic Connectivity will offer basic maps and navigation. Premium Connectivity will be required for many of the fun functions in the car like the satellite maps, internet radio streaming, and over-the-air updates via the vehicle’s cellular data connection. Pricing is TBD on this, with some outlets stating that it will be $100 per year (which feels cheap) for Premium Connectivity while others report it as $100/month (which feels extremely expensive).

Tesla also made some tweaks to its Full Self-Driving (FSD) pricing for those looking to upgrade after purchase. The Enhanced Autopilot is still $5,000 at the time of purchase or $6,000 for owners upgrading after purchase, and is still a prerequisite for Full Self-Driving. The stakes for FSD, however, have been raised.

The base price for FSD is still $3,000 on top of the Enhanced Autopilot option, so no worries there. However, after showing off some of the options that will be made available with FSD in a tweet, Elon is apparently feeling bullish about the option and has raised the premium for adding FSD after purchase from $4,000 to $5,000. That’s a steep increase for a top-of-the-line package, increasing the premium for waiting for FSD from $1,000 to $2,000.

The increase speaks to Tesla’s confidence in the solution as it prepares to roll the first FSD features into production in August. To date, no FSD features have been pushed down to any Tesla vehicles, so many owners are simply paying for the Enhanced Autopilot solution and waiting to see what happens with FSD. Perhaps Tesla took notice and decided to push buyers more strongly to get FSD up front.

Adding more high-end options to the Model 3 adds a bit more profit margin to the upper end of the Model 3 lineup as Tesla slaves away in the background to continue to stabilize and ramp up production. Tesla shared in the last earnings call that it hopes to achieve profitability in Q3 2018 on the back of Model 3 achieving a production rate of 5,000 vehicles per week. One thing is for certain: adding in the complexity of numerous new options won’t make it easier to make more cars and ramp up production. Does that mean Tesla has already hit its magic number?

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I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.


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