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The best thing you can do for Tesla now is to encourage a spartan model

The best thing you can do for Tesla now is to encourage a spartan model

There were lessons learned in producing the Model X: it was too complicated.

IMO the best thing now for Tesla would be to produce a Model 3 with profitability built in due to cutting specs and therefore costs.

So instead of asking for a tree full of lovely gifts, we should/ could be encouraging head office to build down rather than up.
What could you do without, in a battery electric $35000 car?

What could TM do to make the car more spartan and cost less to build AND RAMP?
The ramp up is significant when looking at versions which sell for 2x the base price, possibly up to 2x the base ramp cost.

There are a lot of features on previous Teslas which customers seem to think is their right in a car selling for half the MS. How stupid is that?
Economy of scale can only go so far.

Tesla, build a cheap garden variety M3, and save the headaches.

zakeeus | 09. September 2016

What features are people expecting from the 3 that are in the S? The price of the model S has a lot more to do with the cost of making/shipping the battery and investing in superchargers and future projects like the Gigafactory and the Model 3. Autopilot will be an extra cost, supercharging will be an extra cost, they have already stated that they went too far with the X. Did you watch the unveiling, Tesla isn't asking us what we could do without in a $35k car, they are making the best car you can buy for $35k. Your whole post seem like a Chevy Bolt endorsement.

Ross1 | 09. September 2016

Really?
What I said was:
The best thing you can do for Tesla now is to encourage a spartan model.

BTW, someone on General forum has offered Elon $20 to help his cash flow problem. Do you not get my drift?
This is to help their rampup time and cashflow issue.

Ross1 | 09. September 2016

^^ my post was aimed at helping their rampup time and cash flow issues.

PeterPlt | 09. September 2016

Tesla Motors is full of smart people. They are learning about the car business at a quick clip. My guess is they are designing the car to be easier/quicker to build (cash flow fluidity) AND the most popular options easier/quicker to install (profitability).

Basic/no options cars appeal to only a small sector of buyers. Everyone else seeks to option the car to their needs and tastes. The auto industry, including Tesla, make their greatest margins on those upgrades. Viva la difference for the Tesla owner and for Tesla!

Cash flow may be "king", but profits fuel the future!

akgolf | 09. September 2016

They are building a $35,000 car that apparently appeals to a lot of people and I suspect a lot of people on the list will not add options, are you suggesting they don't offer options for those that would like to upgrade?

I think the car as is without options will be great. That said I will add some options.

dsvick | 09. September 2016

There are a boat load of things they could do to make it more spartan and reduce the cost to build the car. However, since they are competing in the luxury car market, I don't see them actually doing any of them. As soon as they did any of that they'd get harpooned by the media and no one would buy one. Why would anyone spend money on an obviously over priced, under-spec'd, and under-delivered car?

Yes, I want them to succeed just as much as everyone else here but building deliberately inferior cars and over charging for them is not the way to do it.

Red Sage ca us | 09. September 2016

I am certain, as I have been for over two years now, that Tesla Motors will not be forced to offer a 'stripped', bare bones, empty, tin can, substandard car to reach the $35,000 base price point for Model ☰.

Some misinformed individuals have presumed the Tesla Generation III vehicle would have to be a severely detuned vehicle that was slow as a slug and had the range of a Power Wheels Barbie Ride-On Car to see the light of day. Naysayers in particular have insisted it would be an ugly micro-minivan hatchback econobox that would make a Volkswagen Golf look like a Ferrari LaFerrari in comparison. Desperate Tesla Enthusiasts have begun threads like this one dozens of times to suggest various means to 'cut back' by putting forth suggestions such as 'normal door handles', 'steel wheels with normal tires', and 'manual roll-up windows' as if those suggestions would make a difference and allow Tesla to reach the price point by offering the rough equivalent of a fully electric 1984 Chevrolet Chevette in base form.

All those guys are wrong.

Too many people have been convinced that there is some kind of significant difference between a 'cheap' car interior and a 'luxury' car interior. They were lied to. The more ubiquitous materials are the less they cost. The 'wood' seen in most vehicles has been largely plastic for decades. When you literally strip the entire interior of a car down to the metal, they are nigh identical in construction from one car to the next. The 'luxury' aspects of interior design are only window dressing, nothing more. Which things you are charged more money for are entirely arbitrary.

d.r.coursol | 09. September 2016

The Ferrari F40 came with a simple aircraft cable to put to unlock the door... I don't know why but I love the simplicity and weight savings of such a simple mechanism. Leave the complicated auto present for the tech leading Model S & X. (which appears they will)

I think they've made this car as simple as possible... I'm not sure what else they could do?

Maybe make two buttons (hazard & glove box) in the S & X integrated into the screen?
Perhaps less cup holders... but we know that won't go over well.
No Alacantara headliner?
Smaller wheels and tires?

Even if they did these I don't think it would save very much.... On the Next Gen Roadster I'd love to see the F40 style pulls and a no paint option, just bare Carbon Fiber... for weight savings (and cool factor)

Red Sage ca us | 09. September 2016

d.r.coursol: Didn't the Ferrari F40 also require a mobile trailing pit crew when on the open road? (smileygrin)

EaglesPDX | 09. September 2016

Nope to the "build cheap concept". It's a $40-50K car and being sold to a higher income, higher ed demographic. AWD, cold weather package, towing, higher ground clearance for towing, snow and lower for highway MPG (air suspension), AutoPilot (dynamic cruise, lane keeping, auto braking, blind side indicators, rear cross track warning and camera), 250-300 mile single charge range, cargo capacity (liftback)...and above all quality. None come cheap when done right and done to last. I want this to be a 10-15 year car.

What Tesla could do to maximize profit is build in all the options on every car and sell them all fully loaded. All the advantages of mass production and scale would accrue to Tesla and likely it would not cost any sales due to the demographics of the buyers.

topher | 09. September 2016

"The best thing you can do for Tesla now is to encourage a spartan model."

NO. The best thing you can do right now is let them get on with building the car they currently have designed, with no changes (simpler or more complex). They are 'pencils down'.

Personally, I think Tesla have the simple/complex balance thing figured out.

Thank you kindly.

topher | 09. September 2016

"it would not cost any sales due to the demographics of the buyers."

The buyers are the ones NOT paying $60,000, for which they could get a Model S. Not selling a model at $35,000 would cost them LOTS of buyers and lots of credibility.

Thank you kindly.

robsurvey16 | 09. September 2016

I'm sorry but this is a "premium" electric vehicle. It needs to have a bare minimum of luxury type features. Included in those are stuff like:

Automatic headlights
Bluetooth audio
Auto-dimming mirrors
Power everything (obviously)
HomeLink
Mid-level audio (*with option to go to premium)
Heated Seats
etc.

Just to name a few. There will be a ton of disappointed customers if it doesn't have the baseline luxury items. And I have very little doubt that it will have these.

JeffreyR | 09. September 2016

Model 3 vs. Model S: How will they be different? — A very busy thread started over a year ago. I've updated w/ some actual Model ≡ info as well.

The key is @topher's point. Every $5K drop in price dramatically increases the addressable market.

The best thing we can do for Tesla is ask "everyone" you meet if they have reserved a Model ≡ yet. I did that in line at the cupcake shop (daughter is hooked!) the other day. Then spent 20 minutes "selling" at the Palo Alto Telsa store. I think I convinced a couple of very nice ladies they cannot live w/o a Model X.

Folks here are Tesla's Sales Force. We know a lot about the advantages (and disadvantages) of going full BEV. Don't be a bore, but convince those that can to get a Tesla. There's a reason why Tesla sees sales spike in places where a new Model S or Model X is sold.

stevenmaifert | 09. September 2016

I suspect the base M3 will be pretty spartan. If they follow the same minimalist approach to the interior as they did with the MS, Chevy won't need to advertise the Bolt. Guys like Steve Wozniak will do it for them.

Mailrail707 | 09. September 2016

@robsurvey16 What he said

Haggy | 09. September 2016

I could come up with a list of things missing from the model S that are present in cars selling for half its price. I don't think people are asking for too much.

billstanton | 09. September 2016

I enjoy this thread, good read. For me $35,000 is a stretch especially since I will surely need new house wiring with a 30 year old house, I can hardly find replacements for my circuit breakers anymore!

I'm not uncomfortable with feature compromises against similarly priced ICE, but simply will not pay more than the base price under any circumstances. The next level of acceptance would depend upon putting my bike in or on the back and a few other things.

But if the early deliveries are $45,000 or so and the base model doesn't come out for even longer, like another year, then certainly all the money I have been saving for it will begin to burn a hole in my pocket.

So that is my message, I intend to save up in this interim period and pay cash, but will only have so much patience.

EaglesPDX | 09. September 2016

@Topher "The buyers are the ones NOT paying $60,000, for which they could get a Model S. Not selling a model at $35,000 would cost them LOTS of buyers and lots of credibility."

Except you can't really buy a TS for $6oK. Lowest is $66K and there the range is too small at 200, no auto braking, dynamic cruise, AWD, cold weather, towing etc. Demographic is top 20% income earners and Tesla sales show loaded cars are the sellers, both new and used.

Of course Tesla will have base T3 starting at $35K but no one will be buying that model. Musk says average will be $42K. I would guess $42K will be the base model adding 240 range to make the car usable and average will be $55K.

A high tech stripped car stripped of high tech makes no sense and Tesla's demographics of buyers is for high end, high tech even on the T3.

Dankas freundlich.

EaglesPDX | 09. September 2016

So the "base" TS is $86 vs. "base" T3 for $60K.

up north | 09. September 2016

I'll get most of the options, but one thing I don't get is having to upgrade the radio to get xm radio. I don't need 12 speakers. What a waste.

dsvick | 09. September 2016

@EaglesPDX - "So the "base" TS is $86 vs. "base" T3 for $60K."

No, the base MS is $66,000, regardless of what you consider essential or not. And the base for the M3 will be $35,000, again regardless of what you consider required.

The base price is the base price, anyone that wants to can get one at that price or they can add whatever options they and their budget want.

Ross1 | 09. September 2016

Thanks all above.
But no one is addressing a multi stage roll out where the $35k ones come off first meaning:
credibility in the press, and
quicker, half the time ramp, and
cheaper, half the cost ramp.

Opposite of Model X, if the cheap base ones come out first, it would be quite K.I.S.S.
(keep it simple, stoopid)

Your $60 and $70 units can follow.

BTW, you dont want a million beta testers

EaglesPDX | 09. September 2016

@dsvick "No, the base MS is $66,000, regardless of what you consider essential or not. And the base for the M3 will be $35,000, again regardless of what you consider required."

Ah...you missed the quotation marks in "base" based on Tesla making the cars with all the options to maximize profits and sales. A "base" loaded TS is $86K while a "base" loaded T3 would be $60K using the same option costs for the TS60 for the T3.

Someone had suggested ordering at TS60 if one wanted the options but as we see that is $26,000/30% more.

For Tesla to include all the options in every car would likely lead to enough savings to offer a loaded T3 for $50K and still maintain the 30% profit ratio. It would also speed up production while streamlining the logistics and cutting costs.

jamilworm | 09. September 2016

I just have to say that there are plenty of hypocrites in these forums. In another thread someone proposed raising the price of the Model 3 because there is so much demand. My response was that if they raised the price to 45k, but then delivered a car that was only as good as a 35k car, people would be disappointed. Then there were responses saying "Oh no! The model S is a 70k car but it is really as good as a 150k car! The Model 3 will be a 35k car that feels like a 70k car!"

Now someone proposes removing extravagant features and the cries reign down "OH no!!! If you remove a single feature then it will feel like an economy car and nobody will like it anymore! Every single luxury feature is necessary for it to barely justify the 35k sticker price!"

In my opinion there are a lot of features that I have zero interest in that I would be happy to remove from the base model. These include heated/cooled seats, satellite radio, automatic folding mirrors, summon... I'm sure there are more but I am unfamiliar with luxury car features. If removing some of those would reduce the base price or increase the probability of a smooth roll out then I would be all for it.

Red Sage ca us | 09. September 2016

jamilworm: One man's 'luxury' is another man's 'necessity' while being yet another man's 'fancy'. I believe it is necessary for the Tesla Model ☰ to not be perceived as being substandard in its base configuration. I do not believe it is necessary for the Tesla Model ☰ to be a barebones, stripped, empty tin can of a vehicle to make the $35,000 price point. I hope with all my heart that the Tesla Model ☰ represents a departure from the type of creature comforts that imbue the reputation of Cadillac or Lexus vehicles in base configuration.

carlk | 09. September 2016

Don't worry. Even Mercedes could not make C class a smaller version of the S class. Many things got to give. You will get what you paid for.

Efontana | 10. September 2016

Nice thread. Thanks.

Ross1 | 10. September 2016

:)

topher | 10. September 2016

"Just to name a few. There will be a ton of disappointed customers if it doesn't have the baseline luxury items. And I have very little doubt that it will have these."

If it does, I want the BASER model without for $5,000 less. As do I think many people on the reservation list.

Thank you kindly.

topher | 10. September 2016

"Of course Tesla will have base T3 starting at $35K but no one will be buying that model. Musk says average will be $42K. I would guess $42K will be the base model adding 240 range to make the car usable and average will be $55K."

I will. As will EVERYONE I have personally spoken to about it. (ok, maybe a trailer hitch...)
Why do you think your guess of average is better than Elon's?

Thank you kindly.

JeffreyR | 10. September 2016

Trailer hitch for sure +1

EaglesPDX | 10. September 2016

@Topher "I will. As will EVERYONE I have personally spoken to about it. (ok, maybe a trailer hitch...)"

Isn't it amazing how "EVERYONE" we "haver personally spoken to"agrees with everything we say and think?

The demographics of Tesla buyers, including those who have put down a T3 deposit, is top 20% income and education in the US and a particularly green and tech heavy demographic.

"Just the trailer hitch" requires just the air suspension, $38,100. If you tow, you'll need the range upgrade, $47,500....Shazamm....you are "above average" already. Congratulations. Anyone who has had dynamic cruise and autobraking (AutoPilot) will never order a car without them again so $50K becomes the "base" or average quickly.

So best for Tesla to just load up the T3 and use the economies to lower the price of the loaded car. Tesla has hinted at this already by saying it will give delivery preference to "loaded" T3 orders.

Ross1 | 10. September 2016

Faster rampup faster rampup. Why do I have to repeat myself?

jamilworm | 10. September 2016

I will get the base model. No extras.

bj | 10. September 2016

@EaglesPDX - I will be disappointed if the hitch and air suspension are coupled, because then I won't get it. I need a hitch for a bicycle rack, not for towing. Air suspension is total overkill in that situation.

fbrajivanan | 10. September 2016

Yeah.... cant wait to see the model 3. As for Tesla I guess they just cant afford to go for a spartan model now because they are still building their gigafactory only now. They need to show a premium model car to get every one interested and maintain bank credit flow. Once they are in a good standing and sold a lot of m3s and with positive bank balance only they will consider other models. Thats what I think. And Im a tesla supporter too :)

EaglesPDX | 10. September 2016

@bj " I need a hitch for a bicycle rack, not for towing."

The topic was TOW HITCH. Perhaps the person misspoke and meant accessory hitch which can't handle towing. If you can live with the 200 mile range of the base T3, consider a Chevy Bolt.

Red Sage ca us | 10. September 2016

I think Tesla Motors has already demonstrated their ability to do 'Spartan'. One guy elsewhere, I think over at jalopnik, actually told me he wants an interior he can enjoy looking at while on his commute to work. I asked if he realized that maybe a bunch of people staring at the interior of their cars is the reason why there is so much traffic on his daily commute.

bj | 11. September 2016

@EaglesPDX - thanks for that useless advice, the Chevy Bolt will not be sold in Australia therefore I cannot consider it. And I put down my deposit for Model 3 before almost all of you did, so I've already made my decision. Is it a crime to say I won't get a tow / accessory hitch if air suspension must come with it?

EaglesPDX | 11. September 2016

@bj " Is it a crime to say I won't get a tow / accessory hitch if air suspension must come with it?"

You'd have to check Ozzie laws. But someone did say they needed the tow hitch which does require air suspension which added $3,500 to the cost and this was someone arguing for the "Spartan" model who actually didn't want the Spartan model.

The Spartan doesn't fit either the Tesla demographic customer base on Tesla's own business plans. Tesla has already gone with the fully loaded strategy by saying the more options you get, the sooner you will get your T3.

I'd guess fully 50% of the first T3's will be fully loaded with options based on customer demographics and Tesla sales strategy.

topher | 11. September 2016

"Isn't it amazing how "EVERYONE" we "haver personally spoken to"agrees with everything we say and think?"

Yup. That's why it is useless.

""Just the trailer hitch" requires just the air suspension, $38,100."

Evidence for that? The model X does, but I would love confirmation that the model 3 will as well (or not).

"If you tow, you'll need the range upgrade, $47,500"

No, I won't. I don't need to tow long distances. Kind of you to interpret my needs though.

" If you can live with the 200 mile range of the base T3, consider a Chevy Bolt."

Why would I pay more for a Bolt? I know you want the Model 3 to have cachet, but I am going to use mine to haul manure, and there is nothing you can do about it. Tesla wants electric vehicles in EVERY market niche, what will you do when there is a Tesla pick-up, and people are putting their ATVs in them?

Thank you kindly..

EaglesPDX | 11. September 2016

@Topher """Just the trailer hitch" requires just the air suspension, $38,100." Evidence for that? The model X does, but I would love confirmation that the model 3 will as well (or not)."

The TX, the only Tesla with towing option requires air suspension. Since the TX is 8" ground clearance vs. T3's likely 5.5", the T3 (or TS if that offers it in newer models) will definitely need it).

You would pay as much for a loaded 200 mile range Bolt than for a "Spartan" 200 mile range T3. That is why those looking for a "Spartan" Tesla should get a Bolt.

First 100K T3's are going to be loaded, per Tesla's stated sales policy, so it's a moot point.

As for what Tesla might do in 2025 with smaller SUV's/Pickups (same vehicle different shell), that's irrelevant to the question of a "Spartan" T3 now.

dkraft | 11. September 2016

I really am expecting Tesla to stick to the plan: make electric cars realiable, nice and affordable (which includes re-sale fair value). 35k is not cheap, but I guess we all want to join this movement without paying to much or getting there too late. My intention is to get the base 3 model, but my expectations are high on what I will get for that kind of money. I hope Tesla starts informing us better on what we'll get. The more we know, the more they'll attract customers.

bj | 11. September 2016

@EaglesPDX - Tesla has already gone with the fully loaded strategy by saying the more options you get, the sooner you will get your T3.

Those of us in RHD markets are at the end of the production queue anyway, we get our vehicles after everyone else. But let's do some maths.

There were about 7k Model 3 reservations in Australia, let's assume 33k in the other RHD markets (UK, Japan, India, South Africa, NZ...) for a total of 40k or about 10% of all reservations to date. Looks about right.

Further assume that Tesla ships 100k Model 3s before the first RHD cars are made. If the ramp goes well, that places us about mid 2018. But by then the ramp needs to be hitting about 5k cars per week or Tesla will never hit their target of 200k cars in 2018.

It may not make sense to split the 40k RHDs into multiple discrete production runs for efficiency reasons, so that means the entire queue of RHD cars could be made in one production run in less than 2 months, fully loaded or not.

So in short, if you are in a RHD market and already have a reservation in, I reckon loading your Model 3 will make very little difference to when you will receive it.

And if the ramp up does not go to plan, we have much bigger problems to worry about.

brando | 11. September 2016

Elon said you won't be able to buy a better car for $35,000. I take him at his word.

Elon doesn't play the options games just to raise the price.

Look to ATS which I think has 4 engine options and 4 transmission options (how do dealers figure what to stock?).
16 combinations? really?

RWD and AWD
two battery packs plus performance option on AWD
just the one amazing roof

Standard, heater, AC, sound (could that be simpler? DIN and go buy your own?)
oh, and not to forget the auto transmission - ok to grin.

Intro special, first 500,000 will be ALL white including interior - that's a joke, son.
Seeing Elon, he'd make them all black - just like the Model T?

dsvick | 12. September 2016

@EaglesPDX - "The demographics of Tesla buyers, including those who have put down a T3 deposit, is top 20% income and education in the US and a particularly green and tech heavy demographic.
....
So best for Tesla to just load up the T3 and use the economies to lower the price of the loaded car. Tesla has hinted at this already by saying it will give delivery preference to "loaded" T3 orders."

What is your source for the demographics figures?
I've seen many people here and on other forums state that the $35,000 base is a stretch for them, moving it up to $50,000 and including a bunch of things they don't want will see a lot of cancellations.

"Best for Tesla" is to make the best car they can at $35,000, then add reasonably priced options that some buyers will want and can add to their vehicle.

KP in NPT | 12. September 2016

@eaglespdx - "I'd guess fully 50% of the first T3's will be fully loaded with options based on customer demographics and Tesla sales strategy." - while it might be true in that Tesla has said that higher optioned cars will be delivered first, that does not mean the majority plan on buying a fully loaded car.

Granted it is a small sampling, but looking at Model3 tracker, people are going for bigger battery, AWD, AP, and whatever the supercharging solution is - but not performance, wheel upgrade, sound system. It's pretty even on air suspension, premium package, sub-zero.

https://www.model3tracker.info/report_config_popularity.php