After announcing a $78,000 performance version of the Tesla Model 3 on Saturday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk again took to Twitter over the weekend to say that it may be months more before customers will be able to buy a base-price Model 3. Thus far, all Model 3s delivered have been $49,000 models, according to .
On Sunday, the CEO tried to explain why people who want base-price Model 3s are still waiting. “With production, 1st you need to achieve target rate & then smooth out flow to achieve target cost. Shipping min cost Model 3 right away wd cause Tesla to lose money & die. Need 3 to 6 months after 5k/wk to ship $35k Tesla & live,” Musk tweeted.
The $35,000 Model 3 has long been billed as a more affordable take on a luxury brand. The lower price would popularize electric vehicles (EVs) among more middle-class consumers, and promises of high-volume purchases have kept investors optimistic. Still, Tesla has struggled to push out significant numbers of Model 3s due to bottlenecks in the manufacturing process.
The notes that 400,000 customers have placed reservations to order a car, but when Tesla finally allows a customer to place an order, “the lowest-priced model available is a $49,000 version, which features a longer-range battery than the basic version and a package of premium options.”
It now seems unlikely that customers hoping to take advantage of a $35,000 Model 3 with a $7,500 Federal Tax Credit will be able to do so. The Federal Tax Credit for EVs phases out after a company has sold 200,000 plug-in vehicles. Tesla expects to hit that number some time this year.
On Monday, published a review of the Model 3 that pointed out a few concerns. Testers apparently “found flaws—big flaws—such as long stopping distances in our emergency braking test and difficult-to-use controls,” the publication wrote, adding, “The Tesla’s stopping distance of 152 feet from 60 mph was far worse than any contemporary car we’ve tested and about 7 feet longer than the stopping distance of a Ford F-150 full-sized pickup.”
added that also experienced similar braking issues.
On Twitter, Musk responded, “Looks like this can be fixed with a firmware update. Will be rolling that out in a few days. With further refinement, we can improve braking distance beyond initial specs. Tesla won’t stop until Model 3 has better braking than any remotely comparable car.”
He added, “Also, Consumer Reports has an early production car. Model 3 now has improved ride comfort, lower wind noise & many other small improvements. Will request that they test current production.”
noted in its review that the first emergency test stop it made with the car showed good performance, with a stopping distance of 130 feet, “but that distance was not repeated, even after we let the brakes cool overnight,” the publication noted. added that it had acquired a second Model 3 on loan from a private owner to test the stopping distance, but “when we ran the second Model 3 through the same tests, we got almost identical results.”
Commenters in Tesla forums have suggested that the hard brake by could have caused the brake pads to glaze over (which might explain the exemplary performance on the first stopping distance test and bad performance thereafter), but such a scenario would require sanding down the brake pads, precluding an over-the-air fix.
Musk, however, suggested on Twitter that the problem of braking variability could be traced back to the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) calibration algorithm.