How My Tesla Model 3 Order Turned From Super Easy To Super Confusing

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It was the 12th of April. I had waited exactly 3 years and 12 days. That morning, like many before it, I checked the Danish locale of the Tesla Model 3 configurator and there it was: the Standard Range Plus ready to order.

Tesla Model 3
Screenshot of how I configured my Model 3 exterior

The Order

Elon Musk had promised it would take a mere 2 minutes to order a Tesla from a smartphone, and sure enough, 2 minutes later my reservation had turned into an order. The cheap Standard Range version that I had had in mind all along Tesla apparently doesn’t want us to buy, but at the end of the day, the Standard Range Plus is a pretty sweet deal.

I was content, and within an hour, a Tesla representative called me up to confirm my credentials and to let me know that my reservation deposit and order deposit would now be invoiced. I asked about a delivery date since nothing was indicated on the configurator, and I was told 6 months. Well, knowing a little bit about the ordering process behind all this, it came as no surprise. With orders like mine probably flooding in, Tesla would have to carefully plan for very large European production batches in the coming month.

Tesla Model 3
Screenshot of first part of email

Then, a couple of weeks later, things got complicated. In a news email from Tesla, the new Standard Range Plus was officially advertised as available for the Danish market — no surprise there since I guess the delay was a move to smooth out the pressure of orders, but at the end of the email I was in for a surprise:

Tesla Model 3
Screenshot of last part of email

It said: “Get Model 3 Long Range RWD in selected stores across Europe in limited offering. The Model 3 Long Range RWD has a high performance motor that provides an estimated range of 600 kilometers (WLTP) on a single charge. Visit the nearest store to learn more.”

Oh no! I thought this particular configuration was dead and gone. I heard it was being made for China, and I had heard some complaints from European reservation holders urging Tesla to re-introduce it. And frankly, now I was confused. I rushed to the local Tesla store to learn more, and the guy there who had always been helpful in my prior inquiries confirmed that this was a limited deal and he went over the differences between the Standard Range Plus and Long Range RWD in terms of battery size and premium interior.

I actually didn’t need the long range, and I could live with the partial premium interior, and I was not at all ready to be set back another good chunk of cash. It had been so easy to choose the Standard Range Plus from the AWD version because of the great price difference, so what was I even doing back in the Tesla store?

The Solar

But then it hit me. Apart from the nice-to-have full premium interior, I realized that the larger battery would solve another problem I had involuntarily had since the turn of the year. You see, when I had my 4 kW solar array installed on my roof back in 2012, a scheme of yearly compiled net metering was in place which would end for new purchases shortly afterward.

Averaging 3,700 kWh output each year

The deal was that for 10 years I was promised that all kWh of electricity my solar panels produced would be deducted from the kWh that I used from the grid, calculated on a yearly basis. Since I use 3,000 kWh annually and my solar array produces 3,700 kWh annually, this was a great deal. But guess what — that changed prematurely to hourly compiled net-metering this January. 80,000 rooftop solar owners in this country are understandably annoyed over this, and legal aftermath is imminent, because this means you can’t “store” excess kWh you make in the summer and use them in winter. This scheme was originally made to encourage people to install solar, and it worked. It worked a little too well I guess. But this is exactly where the larger battery in the Long Range RWD comes in handy.

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The Anxiety (Financial, Not Range)

So, there I was in the Tesla store with numbers running around in my head, trying to ignore the temptation of a more luxurious version of the car and strictly doing the math of whether this larger battery would actually be economically beneficial. My gut feeling told me that this was too good a deal to pass on, and since it was obvious that this was a limited offer, there was no time to waste. So I signed on it.

Back home I crunched the numbers, and sure enough, with a commute like mine with 60 km (37 miles) total a day, I would actually be able to greatly limit my home charging to only when the sun was pounding energy on my solar panels. The Tesla can be set to limit the amps it takes in (it even remembers the location you set that, so that it with go full power on public level 2 chargers), so by limiting the charge rate to around 3 kW, I will be able to start and stop charging via the Tesla app and thus utilize my solar charging to its full potential.

My calculations show that this approach will make the extra 20 kWh of the larger 75 kWh battery pay for itself within 10 years. The full premium interior is also nice to have, and I actually think it will make it more desirable as a rental, which is of course an obvious part of the financing of this car. And I am not even talking robotaxi here. Though, I did order the car with full self driving capability (FSD), since that would probably make the whole car pay for itself within 10 years, but I will believe that when I see it.

The Best Deal

Including full self driving and everything else, the price went up from DKK 420K ($63,000) to DKK 470K ($71,000). Yes, that was a good deal, and I could not really believe it until I got my order change confirmation a couple of days ago. As it turned out, the price I got had only been valid for 4 days. And sure enough, on top of that, just as Elon promised, FSD went up DKK 8,000 ($1,200) in May, so all in all this deal was in the nick of time, and I feel it’s the best deal I could have hoped for.

Apart from the financial best fit of the Tesla Model 3 Long Range RWD in my case, there are a few points that I have always considered important for this particular configuration:

Long Range battery: 600 km (373 miles) WLTP on a 75 kWh battery is just incredible. It will make this vehicle so useful in any application, and combined with the V3 Supercharging, it’s second to none. No other vehicle is even close to this kind of efficiency and practical use. For Denmark specifically, this range covers the whole country with one single charge! As a rental and robotaxi, this could prove very useful.

RWD: I was never hooked on the AWD options. First of all, it’s just too much power. Second, it actually limits the range, because, third, the front motor is not of the super efficient permanent magnet reluctant type used in the rear, but instead the classic induction type. I think Tesla has done an amazing job bringing this very old reluctant motor principle to life, so that’s all I want. Built to last a million miles! That’s just crazy!

Weight: Obviously, the larger battery makes the vehicle heavier, but the lack of a front motor compensates somewhat for that. Auto legend Sandy Munro says the Model 3 is amazing tech-wize, but it’s body is over-built and could easily be a couple of hundred pound lighter. I wonder if Tesla has done something about this yet?

Interior: Getting the full premium package is nice. I never liked the software limitation scheme in principle, although I do recognise it might be cheaper to build everything the same and charge people later when they need the features. But in the case of the Long Range RWD, the full premium package is great value for the money compared to the much pricier AWD and Performance versions.

Now, back to waiting. I hope I will be able to use some of the solar electricity this summer to charge the car, because right now I sell the surplus to the grid at a price that is way too low.

Feel free to use my referral code (or anybody else’s) when you buy a Tesla and receive 5,000 free Supercharger miles! On May 28, this will revert back to 1,000 miles:

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Jesper Berggreen

Jesper had his perspective on the world expanded vastly after having attended primary school in rural Africa in the early 1980s. And while educated a computer programmer and laboratory technician, working with computers and lab-robots at the institute of forensic medicine in Aarhus, Denmark, he never forgets what life is like having nothing. Thus it became obvious for him that technological advancement is necessary for the prosperity of all humankind, sharing this one vessel we call planet earth. However, technology has to be smart, clean, sustainable, widely accessible, and democratic in order to change the world for the better. Writing about clean energy, electric transportation, energy poverty, and related issues, he gets the message through to anyone who wants to know better. Jesper is founder of and a long-term investor in Tesla, Ørsted, and Vestas.

Jesper Berggreen has 239 posts and counting. See all posts by Jesper Berggreen