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How much is the cheapest Tesla?

The Model 3 launched in 2019 for $35,000. What is the price today?

tesla model 3 on purple background
Image: KnowTechie

Quick Answer: The Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) is the cheapest Tesla, costing $40,240. Adding extras, such as enhanced autopilot and self-driving capability, increases the price tag.

In 2019, Tesla launched the $35,000 entry-level Model 3, but the impressive price point was never destined to last.

You may have already heard people saying, “Back in my day, you could get a Model 3 for a clean $35,000.”

Unfortunately, those days are well behind us and unlikely to return.

If you missed out on the previously super-low price tag, don’t stress. The cost of everything is always in flux, and even today’s price will seem mythical in a decade or so.

tesla model 3 on road
Image: Unsplash

Allegedly, you could once walk into a shop with $3.50 in your pocket and leave with a loaf of bread, a carton of milk, a roast dinner, a bottle of whiskey, and a new hat without committing a single crime.

Ah, the economy—what a mysterious and untamed beast you are. With that in mind, let’s try to nail down the current price of the cheapest Tesla before it changes again.

How much is the cheapest Tesla?

Short answer: $40,240

Currently, the cheapest Tesla—Model 3 RWD—costs $40,240 USD brand new. You may, of course, find a lower price if you’re willing to buy secondhand.

The current price point is a big leap up from the $35,000 entry-level cost of just a couple of years ago.

The application displays a graphical user interface with text.
Image: KnowTechie

However, the price hike isn’t surprising when you consider inflation and the supply line issues of the past few years.

The Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive used to be an appealing choice for buyers, thanks to a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Previously, IRS guidance had reduced the $7,500 credit for the Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive to $3,750 as of April 18th. This significant reduction disappointed many potential buyers.

On January 1, 2023, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 qualified certain electric vehicles (EVs) for a tax credit of up to $7,500. Unfortunately, this did not apply to the Model 3, as the company states on its website.

Fortunately, the $7,500 tax credit is now available again. All trims of the 2022-2023 Model 3 qualify for federal tax credits up to the full $7,500. The Model Y also qualifies for tax credits up to $7,500.

CriteriaDetails
EligibilityIndividuals and businesses buying a new, qualified plug-in EV or fuel cell electric vehicle (FCV) for personal use (not resale), primarily used in the U.S.
Income Limit$300,000 for married couples filing jointly, $225,000 for heads of households, $150,000 for all other filers
Credit Amount (Jan 1 – April 17, 2023)$2,500 base amount + $417 for a vehicle with at least 7 kWh of battery capacity + $417 for each kWh of battery capacity beyond 5 kWh, up to $7,500 total
Credit Amount (April 18, 2023 and after)$3,750 if the vehicle meets the critical minerals requirement only, $3,750 if the vehicle meets the battery components requirement only, $7,500 if the vehicle meets both
Vehicle RequirementsBattery capacity of at least 7 kWh, gross vehicle weight rating of less than 14,000 pounds, made by a qualified manufacturer, final assembly in North America, meet critical mineral and battery component requirements (as of April 18, 2023)
Sale RequirementsNew vehicle, seller reports required information to buyer and IRS, MSRP can’t exceed $80,000 for vans/SUVs/pickup trucks and $55,000 for other vehicles
Claiming the CreditFile Form 8936, Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit with your tax return, provide your vehicle’s VIN
IRS

What does the cheapest Tesla include?

Short answer: Standard driveaway features (excludes some cosmetic options and autopilot/self-driving capabilities)

While the entry-level Model 3 has an attractive price point, you should ensure you’re getting all the features you need and the sweet extras you want—nay, deserve.

The Tesla Model 3 RWD comes with a range of standard features:

  • 272 mile range
  • 140 MPH top speed
  • 0-60 MPH in 5.8 seconds
  • All-season tires
  • All-black interior
  • Choice of pearl white or midnight silver exterior paint

When designing your vehicle, you can select any extras you want to add, including 19” sport wheels, enhanced autopilot, and full self-driving capability.

A fully upgraded Tesla Model 3 RWD costs $69,240, a fair stretch from the entry-level price. Keep in mind, this is with all the bells and whistles, including Full-Self Driving. That’s an extra $15K. If you can do without it, well, that cuts down costs considerably.

Eventually, however, you won’t be able to get an electric vehicle—or a loaf of bread, for that matter—for under $100,000, and today’s price tag will feel like a steal.

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Matt is an Australian writer with a degree in creative and critical writing. Prior to commencing his studies, he worked in tech support and gained valuable insights into technology and its users. He is also an editor and author coach at Dean Publishing.

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