Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Tesla Model 3 — As Cheap As A Toyota Or Honda But 3× Better

We’re at a pretty wild time in automotive history. We’ve got a car on the market that has better performance than a BMW 3 Series or 4 Series, is safer than any other passenger car, has a “fuel efficiency” rating of about 120 MPGe, and has a 5-year total cost of ownership comparable with a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord.

We’re at a pretty wild time in automotive history. We’ve got a car on the market that has better performance than a BMW 3 Series or 4 Series, is safer than any other passenger car, has a “fuel efficiency” rating of about 120–130 MPGe, has a 5-year total cost of ownership comparable to a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, has nearly the best estimated resale value on the market (according to Kelley Blue Book), and has the happiest owners of any vehicle in the country. That’s one helluva package.

Honestly, why in the world would anyone buy a BMW 3/4 Series, Toyota Camry, or Honda Accord?

We’ve been waiting for so long for the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 that it almost seems unreal that it is now here, now available to order. I feel like I should pinch myself.

But people are still buying non-Tesla cars for $30,000, $35,000, $40,000, $45,000, $50,000, etc. I think there are three things at play here. Starting first with an issue that won’t go away, we have to be clear: there will always be automotive diversity because people have different tastes as far as body style, interior design, vehicle class, and even the look of a logo.

The second factor is the biggest one, in my opinion. People don’t know about Tesla. They haven’t been in a Tesla. They haven’t spoken to any Tesla owners. They don’t read CleanTechnica. (I know — the sacrilege!) They might well ask you who produces the Tesla Model 3 — BMW? Aston Martin? Alfa Romeo? (I got this from a truck driver once, who simply couldn’t digest that Tesla was the producer.) If you ask normal people questions about electric cars, there’s a good chance they’ll think of the Toyota Prius. (There are surveys that make this quite clear.) If people have driven Hondas or Toyotas or BMWs or Audis for years and haven’t really heard about Tesla, there’s a solid chance when it’s time to buy another car that they’ll go back to Honda, Toyota, BMW, or Audi.

I initially thought of just those two factors. Then I remembered the article I wrote right before this one. 😛 Family members I seldom talk to (so haven’t been not in touch with enough to convert into Tesla fanatics) have made it clear from simple conversations — what they’ve heard is that Tesla’s in deeply troubled waters, with all kinds of financial problems and a roller coaster of turmoil. Of course, they haven’t figured out those difficulties are due in large part to the very same news programs passing that news on to them. Generally speaking, normal people don’t realize there are gigantic smear campaigns and short seller manipulations trying to ship that story into their living rooms. They also don’t know that all the analysts were wrong who claimed or implied repeatedly last year that Tesla would need to raise more money before the year was out and couldn’t show a profit in Q3 and Q4. Tesla didn’t need to raise money, and did show a profit in those quarters.

So, in the end, we have this stunning story. We have a car far better than anything in its price range — based on many different metrics — yet a relatively small percentage of the population knows about it and has experienced it. Furthermore, what they have heard about Tesla is highly negative spin, not all the records the company is setting or how much the car is loved.

It’s a strange world sometimes.

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.


Support our work today!


Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports


EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats


Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like


Germany saw plugin electric vehicle market share reach 22.1% in April 2021, with full battery electrics at 10.3%, their second highest ever share. The...

Autonomous Vehicles

The CEO of Snow Bull Capital, Taylor Ogan, noticed something interesting this week in a Tesla patent filing. The patent filing, which is primarily...


The Volkswagen ID.3 seems like it just hit the market, but the attention has already shifted to the Volkswagen ID.4, and that’s because the...

Clean Power

Originally published on the World Resources Institute. By John Feldmann, Devashree Saha, and Rajat Shrestha  Under the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan, tax credits for clean energy and...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.