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Fans Panic After Tesla Removes Its “Secret Weapon” From Website

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Tesla has removed all information it had about its Model 3 standard version on its website and some fans of the brand are panicking, Electrek’s Fred Lambert reports.

It was this base Model 3 with a standard battery pack that was supposed to be Tesla’s “secret weapon” on the car market, the affordable luxury electric vehicle that would solidify and boost Tesla’s dominance in its niche market and spread it over into the mainstream car market. However, this might have to wait.

Lambert quotes CEO Elon Musk comments about the base Model 3 made during the company’s Q4 financial results conference call that suggest the base model could be made available to buyers later this year but, as per Musk “it’s a rough, rough guess.”

The problem is the cost, as is so often the case. The affordable Tesla has been promoted with a price tag of just US$35,000, but right now the cheapest version of the Model 3 costs US$42,000 and that’s after a price reduction. Tesla has more work to do on the car to lower the cost to US$35,000 and it said on its website that this would take “4 to 6 months.” Now, this information has been removed from the website, causing some fans of the brand who had pre-ordered a Model 3 to worry.

This is hardly the first time Tesla’s CEO had had fans worried and will hardly be the last. Elon Musk is notorious for setting tight deadlines for this or that milestone in Tesla and then going into delays when the deadlines prove unrealistic. This could the case here as well: bringing the starting price of a base Model 3 down to US$35,000 is certainly a challenge. However, there is a possibility Tesla will not overcome it. Related: Abysmal Retail Sales Have Wall Street Scratching Head

In his report on the removal of base Model 3 info from the website, Electrek’s Lambert quoted a tweet from Musk from early February that said the base Model 3 will cost US$35,000 after incentives. But the company had initially said it would cost US$35,000 before incentives, again sparking worry.

The crux of the matter is the battery pack. Tesla needs to bring the cost of the Model 3 standard battery pack down further if it is to accomplish its US$35,000 goal. This is apparently proving harder to do than originally expected.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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